Productivity_Habits_body.jpgBy Robert Lerose.


Ask business owners across different industries and they'll probably all agree on one thing: there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. The search for the ultimate workplace strategy is never-ending. John Paulsen, a former small business leader who ran a San Francisco-based production company, recommends these habits for being more productive in your own business.


1. Revise and prioritize your project list daily

At the start or end of each day, rewrite your To Do list from scratch—don't just cross off completed tasks or add new ones. As you revise, put the tasks in priority, with the most important projects at the top. The completion of key jobs will energize you throughout the day to keep moving forward.


2. Tackle big projects one piece at a time

Projects that are large in scope can easily paralyze you. Instead of trying to wrap your arms around the whole assignment, divide the work into smaller, manageable parts that can be completed one at a time. The added benefits: you'll train yourself to assess the steps you need to take, you'll see your progress on a daily basis, and you'll stay motivated as you cross off each item.


3. Don't procrastinate

Taking the first step on a new project is usually the hardest—but take it right away. Then, dedicate time in your schedule for this project. Discipline yourself to avoid distractions, such as email, phone messages, in-house meetings, and the ever-present lure of the Internet. Keep this project time nonnegotiable.

Productivity_Habits_PQ.jpg4. Focus on one thing at a time

Studies have shown that multitasking—trying to handle multiple projects at the same time—is actually counterproductive. Not only that, but constantly shifting your attention to a new task every few minutes actually erodes your future ability to concentrate. Better to zero in on a high priority item for a specific amount of time without interruption.


5. Schedule some downtime

Working continuously hour after hour without break diminishes our creativity and productivity. We actually accomplish less the longer we work. "Studies find we are at our most productive when we focus intensely on one task for under an hour, then take a brief break," Paulsen says. "Take a nap, or get some active exercise—both are good for your focus, creativity, and productivity, and also good for physical health (and that improves long-term productivity)."


6. Share the work

Delegate tasks to your colleagues, including important items. They'll get to share in the success of your company (which can inspire their productivity in the future) and you'll get time to take a satellite view of your business to think, plan, and strategize.


Making even a few changes and following through on new habits can impact your productivity and sense of accomplishment.

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