Do you do anything ‘fun’ during your typical work day to help keep you focused? It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of business and often we just need to give our brains a break for the sake of our work, colleagues and customers. Oddly, this intentional act of removing ourselves from our work environment can in fact vastly improve our productivity levels. But taking these brain breaks consistently is no picnic. Whilst there are many ways to take a break from the demands of your business, as with most attempts at behavioral change, incorporating these into your daily routine is the only way to increase your chances of following through and seeing results.
Here are some tips to help you find ways to give yourself a true business break:
Get out for lunch
It may sound far too obvious but eating lunch at your desk five or six days a week is not a lunch break. Continuing work whilst eating not only reduces your effectiveness at the tasks you are completing but it also has a tendency to foster poor nutritional choices when it comes to what you actually eat. A couple of times a week you should actually go out for lunch for a full hour. Even better take a colleague, client or friend with you and make it a point to not talk business. You’ll be surprised about the serendipitous discoveries you may achieve whilst out and what you’ll learn about the people you already know. If you can get away with not having a device with you during lunch, you’ll be giving yourself some space to unwind without projects still floating around in your mind. By the time you get back to the office, the second half of your day should see you refreshed, full of energy and crushing it.
Get some fresh air
There is nothing better than to completely leave the confines of your office and take a walk around the block. Not only will it take your mind temporarily away from what you’re working on, the physical activity will help energise you and shrug off any sluggishness. Whilst walking you may want to just focus on your breathing so that you that you can find another level of calm. Another favourite is to take a picnic rug with you to a local park and sit with your headphones on and your favourite tunes. The goal here is to get you into the real environment that includes fresh air and natural sunlight. These elements can have a huge impact on the rest of your day and will positively impact your productivity more than if you just stayed in front of your computer.
Get in the break routine
Even if all you can manage in your particular work environment is short little breaks from time to time, take them. Even use them to reward yourself throughout the day as something to look forward to. As soon as you finish the next segment of the big project you are working on, celebrate hitting that milestone with a short break. Some people like to work with countdown timers that alert them when a certain period of time is over. This practice helps you stick to the routine of breaks but it will also help you fit more into your day as you give task’s deadlines to these chunks of time. These repeated breaks will help enormously, even if all you do is get out of your chair and in the hallway for a few moments. The idea is to get away from your computer or desk just long enough to feel you’ve been gone from them. Bathroom breaks don’t count.
Get the first break early
One great way to boost your productivity is to have your first break of the day early in your work day. That can be something as simple as a coffee break at 10:00 AM. If you started work at 9:00 AM, you have an hour to accomplish something more than weeding through e-mails and Boom! Time for a break. It will give you great motivation each morning, especially on those Mondays that never seem to end. An early break will make that day seem shorter and if you add another short break at 3:00 PM, you can really bust up a day and still be fresh and productive.
There is nothing wrong with working hard at your business but in the long run if you overdo it you won’t be much fun to be around and your brain will turn to mush. To avoid this try giving your mind and body frequent breaks during the day. In the competitive world of business, you need the edge to stay competitive and your productivity will do that and if you do it right.
Carl is the co-founder of www.baskpicnicrugs.com.au Bask, an Australian store that specialises in premium picnic rugs designed especially for the lifestyles of active, healthy Australians. Bask’s unique range of picnic blankets compliment their philosophy about the importance of getting outside and among nature more often.
Sounds completely ridiculous, right? But believe it or not, I’ve accomplished more in the last three weeks of being hospitalized and getting an 8 week old puppy than I have in the last few months! How did I do it? Well, I thought I would share some key points here because I feel in this current age of faster and faster and everyone appearing to want everything done yesterday, the points are probably going to hit home to a lot of people.
Firstly, listen to your body! Now I haven’t had Pneumonia for nearly 10 years but when it happens it is smackdown! There really isn’t much you either have the desire to do nor the energy. So what did I do for the fortnight I was laid up I hear you ask? Well, besides re-scheduling and/or cancelling a bunch of appointments and initially feeling very sorry for myself, I actually sat down and put together my goals and then a plan for the next 12 months. Now I know with all of the so-called “busyness” of life these days, I would never have got that done had I not been laid up. And I am so incredibly grateful that I was! The amount of fun I had doing it, which in turn put my entire biochemistry into such a positive and uplifting energy vibration that then healed me, was just amazing. Within days of completing my goals for 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, this month and next month – I was back to normal. Coincidence you say? Well, maybe. But learn to listen to your body – sometimes it is purely and simply telling you to stop and take a break. And sometimes those messages are louder than others – mine was a brick!
Since then, I’ve put into place weekly and daily goals. Which, unbelievably, I’ve managed to accomplish fairly easily and effortlessly. Before I became ill I surrounded myself with lists. I really am a list kind of gal. But the lists never really had a deadline attached to them. The power of seeing a date and “Weekly Goals” at the top of the sheet really sent my sub-conscious mind a very clear message – that this stuff was just going to get done no matter what. And for some strange and unknown reason, I’ve started seeing things differently. For instance, not spending so long going through e-mails. And I’ve become much more decisive on what I read and give energy to. I’ve become more energized in the sense that when a task needs to be completed – I just keep going until it’s done. It really has been an epiphany that I just cannot fully explain.
Keeping an organized and tidy workspace is essential. Studies have shown that concentration is negatively affected in an untidy work environment. So it’s just as important for home workers to keep their workspace clean as it is in a conventional office. As the specialists in both home and office cleaning, at Helpling, we’re uniquely qualified to offer tips on how to keep your home office clean and organized. We’ve put together some of our top tips on how home workers can keep a neat and tidy workspace.
1. Go digital
If you’re working from a home office, space is likely at a premium. Maximise what room you have by digitizing as much of your paperwork as you can. Use laptops or iPads for meetings to shorten your paper trail and reduce printing costs. It is also much better for the environment.
As an entrepreneur running my own business, time management can become an issue if not managed properly.
Time is unlike anything else in the business world. Lose some, or worst still, waste it and you will never get it back. Making the most of your time is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of running a small business successfully.
But how should you manage your time in the small business environment? I’ve compiled a list of simple techniques that you as the small business owner can use to ensure time management doesn’t become an issue for you.
Often as an entrepreneur, the tasks that you need to complete will fall into your lap. This is especially true when you are starting out and may not have the capital outlay to employ extra staff.
A great idea is to prioritize your tasks on a daily basis. Rank them in order of importance for the day and begin to work on them in that order. Bear in mind that everybody is different. You might not be the most productive person in the morning, perhaps working at your best after lunch. Leave the most important task for then, unless there is a pressing morning deadline.
As someone who works at my best in the morning, I prefer to get all the important things done when I am at my freshest, leaving smaller, less important tasks for later in the day.
My partner and I registered our business name not long after we went on our first date. We’d been close friends for a while and connected through our shared interest in travelling and a yearning to escape the 9-5 grind.
Luckily, we found entrepreneurship at the same time that we found each other, and since then our business and life partnerships have developed very closely alongside each other. For us, our business opportunity presented itself in the form of ecommerce. Now, three years into our business journey together, we have established a small empire of stores that provide us with income and more importantly, the freedom and time to spend more of our days with each other.
So what exactly are the benefits of building a business with your loved one? I think there are many and I’ve compiled a simple list of some of the best ones below:
● Shared values and beliefs – Being on the same page as your business partner is essential and given the amount of time that couples spend together means that it is highly likely that you share some very similar core values and beliefs. These will make all the difference if (and when) the going gets tough and will help you to make better decisions when moving your business forward.
Running a business is challenging at the best of times. It’s not all lunchtime meetings and evening client drinks. And when you have kids, there are even more considerations on the table. Having run my own digital marketing business for seven years, I’ve identified the things that help to make me and my business successful. Here are my top five tips:
Be clear about your vision and purpose for the business as well as your personal vision and purpose
If you have a clear goal and direction you’re going in, it’s easier to take purposeful steps to get there. If you want to have a good work life balance, to spend quality time with your kids, maybe building a billion dollar business that requires 60-70 hours of your time each week isn’t the best idea after all.
Running my own business has been one of the most rewarding but challenging experiences of my life! It fulfils a lifelong dream I have had to work for myself and be master of my own destiny. Working from home gives me the flexibility to work hours that suit me and the opportunity to work in with our crazy family life. BUT… it is not for the faint of heart! The challenges sometimes seem insurmountable and on occasion my confidence wavers and I am left wondering if I can do this. Here are some of my tips for surviving the journey.
I have a fundamental belief that I can do anything, it all comes down to how much work I am prepared to put in to achieve a goal. As a small business owner you need to have an unbreakable belief in your ability to make it work. Self-doubt is corrosive and can very quickly undermine your energy levels whereas positive thinking breeds positive energy. Surround yourself with avid supporters and energetic, like-minded individuals who will encourage you along your start-up journey.
Have you ever tried to work on your business with a toddler at your feet, a partner off at work and an ever growing pile of emails and missed telephone calls? Welcome to my day and that of many other mumpreneures around.
When I was first pregnant I went to great lengths setting up my office to make sure that it was “child friendly”. Naively I had thought that by bringing my baby into a world where I work from home, she would adjust and understand that quiet is needed when I am on the telephone and patience is required when I need to answer an urgent email. Now I just look back and laugh! What was I thinking?
My daughter is 2.5 years now; and realistically it took me almost 20 months to figure out how to wear all 3 of my hats and not feel like I was letting anyone down.
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