5 Simple Resolutions to Make You More Productive in the Coming Year

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the saying “Time is money”. We’re always rushing to get things done so that we can theoretically be more productive and make more money. The funny thing, though, is that we waste a lot of time and we don’t even know it. There are so many little things we do that aren’t very efficient. They add up to a lot of wasted time.

With the New Year starting in just a few weeks, here are some simple “resolutions” for you to help you stop wasting time and start being more productive:

1) Make a to-do list and stick to it.

Not knowing what you need to get done can be a huge time suck. If you’re just sitting around thinking about what you need to do instead of actually do it, then you’re not being very efficient. Stop wasting time by planning ahead. Make a to-do list for yourself so that once you’re finish checking one thing off your list, you can move on to the next. It’s almost important to remember to stick to it. A to-do list won’t be you any good if you don’t use it.

2) Stop checking your emails constantly.

Checking emails constantly is a hard habit to break. In a world where everyone is so connected, you’re always thinking about whether or not something urgent just landed in your inbox. How many times do you check your email every hour? And then how many emails do you typically get in an hour? If you’re not reading at least 5 or so emails every time you check it, then you can probably check it less. Pulling out your phone and loading up your emails only to find nothing takes time too and it adds up. Not to mention that it’s wasted data.

3) Resist hitting the snooze button.

Getting up when you hear your alarm can be so difficult, especially on cold winter mornings when all you want to do it stay in bed. You may be tempted to hit that snooze button just to get an extra 10 minutes. It’s really not a good idea though. After you’ve already waken yourself up, an extra 10 minutes really won’t make a difference. You’re really just wasting that time.

4) Get enough sleep.

Instead of hitting the snooze button, you should really try to get more sleep. Sounds a little strange – sleep more and waste less time? If you think about, the more awake and energize you are, the more productive you’ll be. Your brain just functions better when you’re well rested. You’ll also be less tempted to take naps, which can suck hours out of your day.

5) Create a routine.

One of the easiest ways to stop wasting time is to create a routine, especially in the mornings and evenings. Allotting a certain amount of time for things like getting ready or making dinner will help you keep yourself on track. It might sound like overkill to schedule every single little thing but it works and it’ll also help you free up some more time to spend on things you actually like doing.

4 Simple Tips to Help Clean Up Your Digital Clutter

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When we think of clutter, we always think of physical “stuff” — all our tangible belongings crowding our desks, garages, and homes. But we likely tend to forget about all the clutter sitting right on our desktops, tablets, and mobile devices; our digital clutter.

In some ways, digital clutter can complicate our lives much more than tangible clutter can, simply because of all the time we spend online and logged-in. With so much data and information exchange happening from our phones and laptops, keeping it all organized can be a tough, but important, task. Here are some tips on how you can get better organized, digitally:

1) Clean Up Your Desktop

When you’re not really sure which folder to save something in, you’ll probably end up putting it on your desktop. Eventually, you’ll forget about it. Does your desktop look like a mish-mash of random files that you can’t really remember the purpose of? If so, go through them and delete what you don’t need. Then create folders and start organizing what you do need, such as folders for music, movies, and so on.

2) File Away Your Emails

At one point in time, I had 3,000 emails in my inbox. Whenever I needed to find an old email, it was incredibly difficult to sift through everything and find what I needed. If you have the same problem, create folders for general categories. Once you read and reply to them, file them away so that you can keep your inbox clean. You’ll be able to find things much easier.

3) Delete Unused Apps

If you have a smartphone, there are certainly apps you use everyday — and a host of apps you rarely use. Clean up your apps once in awhile. You’ll be able to get to the apps you do want faster and it’ll also save memory on your phone, which means faster operating speeds.

4) Digitize Your Life

You can also use technology to get rid of the real clutter in your life. You can literally store almost anything on a computer now. Donate your books to a library and purchase e-books for your Kindle instead. Scan and download all your images onto your computer and share them with your friends. Rip a CD or in other words, transfer your music onto your computer. There’s really so much you can clean up by just putting it on your  iPhone.

Cleaning up your clutter can make you more productive and help you just plain feel good.  The key is to stay on top of it, otherwise you’ll just have to start re-organizing all over again.

Is Now The Right Time To Start Your Own Business?

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Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business is not for everyone but for some people, it is their ultimate goal. Have you always dreamed of being your own boss and turning your big idea idea into reality? Of course, it’s not easy and the chances of failure are high. Funding your small business venture can also be your biggest obstacle. But let’s say that’s not an issue for you. What’s holding you back? Most of the time, its the fear of failure itself. But if you let fear hold you back from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams, you might never realize them. Here is why it might be the right time for you to take a leap and start your own business:

You Want To Be Your Own Boss

Does reporting to someone else make you want to rip your hair out? Let’s face it, working for someone else is not for everyone. You might not like being told what to do or maybe you just have your own strong opinions. If you want to be the one calling the shots, it might be a good idea to start your own business. Of course, it shouldn’t be the only reason but it’s certainly a factor.

You Hate Being Stuck In A Cubicle From 9-5

Being stuck between a few cubicle walls for the majority of the day can be really depressing, especially if you’re not enjoying what you do. One of the great things about entrepreneurship is that you can make your own hours. You’ll probably have to work a lot harder but you don’t have to sell your time anymore (or your soul) to anyone for a paycheck.

You Have A Big Idea

Any great entrepreneur has a great idea or even a few. You have an surefire concept in your head that you’re itching to turn into reality. So why hold yourself back? Big ideas are of no use if they’re just going to sit in your head. Everything is a risk. Decide for yourself if this idea is the one that will reap the most benefits.

The Sky’s The Limit

When you’re working for someone else, there’s only so far you can go or so much you can make. Yes, you’ll get up to a 3% raise every year and you might get promoted every couple of years but you’ll spend what seems like a lifetime trying to make it big. When you’re working for yourself, the sky’s the limit. The possibilities of your business and how much you can earn are totally up to you.

This isn’t to say that starting your own business is all roses and butterflies. There are enormous challenges as well. The first, and biggest, is money. You’ll need a lot to get started. You also won’t have a stable paycheck and some months, you’ll be happy to just break even. The hours will be long and the idea of downtime will no longer exist anymore. But if the thought of owning your own business has always been your dream, then go for it. There will always be risk. As long as you prepare for it and understand the challenges, you’ll be putting yourself in a good position for success.

Stop Procrastinating and Read this Blog Post (about Procrastination)

Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination. We all do it. In fact, I procrastinated in writing this post.

Procrastination comes in all different forms and extremities, from waiting until the tank is almost empty to fill up with gas to delaying until just before a deadline to start working on a report. But why is it so hard to just get your act together and do it?

At the core of procrastination is a fear. However little or small that fear is, it’s there. For instance, you might be putting off going to the supermarket because you just hate driving or you might be waiting until the last minute to write that report because you have no interest in the topic. Whatever the reason it, there is something you are dreading and in turn, trying to avoid for as long as possible.

The funny thing about procrastination is that we find a way to justify it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. We always try to rationalize our fears. You tell yourself that you don’t have the time, that you’ll do it tomorrow, that you’re too tired to do it today. While your reasons can be valid, most of the time they aren’t.

Procrastination is can also be a giant waste of time. Most of the time we spend avoiding something isn’t spent productively. Watching TV. Taking a nap. Checking Twitter. While those are all nice-to-do things, they’re not really adding much value.

So the big question is: how do you stop procrastinating? Since the reasoning behind why we procrastinate is different for everyone, there’s really no magical answer to it. Here are some tips, however, to help stop it:

1) Find the Root Cause.

What exactly are you fearing that is causing you to procrastinate? You’ll actually feel much better once you’ve identified it. It’s not just some vague, unknown any more. You know what it is and you can figure out how to tackle it.

2) Break Your Task into Smaller Goals.

It’ll be easier for you to reach each checkpoint and the whole task won’t feel as daunting. Remember in elementary school when you would get a sticker for doing something right? Think of it as giving yourself little gold stars and every checkpoint you reach is a notch closer to your goal.

3) Focus on the the End Goal.

While it’s important to take action on the very next actionable step (per point #3 above), it’s also helpful to focus on the end goal.  Think about how great it will feel once you’ve finished it. Also, think about what you come to gain from completing your task. Focus on the reward and not the risk.

Now, stop reading this post and go do whatever you’ve been putting off.

5 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs De-Stress

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Any entrepreneur knows that stress is common affliction. It can take a very negative toll on our health, well-being, and overall happiness — and severely impact the success of our businesses. Everyone handles stress differently. It can rear it’s ugly head in the form of nervous “butterflies”, over or under eating, or sleepless nights. There are a lot of things in life that can make us feel overwhelmed, such as money, work, and relationships. While we can’t always change the things that cause stress, there are many things we can control that can help us de-stress. Here are a few tips to make your life a little easier:

1. Stop Procrastinating

At work, do you always feel like you’re working furiously, in fear that you’ll miss a deadline? Yes, certain projects just pop out of nowhere but for things we know about well in advance, don’t wait until the last minute to do them. Work them into your schedule so you’re not stressing yourself out the night before trying to finish it.

2. De-clutter

Clutter and mess can cause a lot more stress than you think. Have you ever forgotten where you put something? And then do you have trouble finding it because you have so much stuff to look through? If so, it’s time to organize. De-clutter your life and throw away anything that you don’t need or don’t plan on using within the next 6 months. Having less clutter will make you feel more organized. It’ll also save you time.

3. Plan ahead

Sometimes, a little spontaneity is good. But you have to pair that with a little forward thinking. Take the guess work out of your schedule. Not knowing what’s to come can cause unnecessary stress. Plan your week in advance and make a to-do list. You’ll know exactly what you need to get done and the amount of time you have to do it.

4. Work in some personal time

Work and other obligations can take up a lot of our time and sometimes, we can forget to work in a little personal time for ourselves. Many of us don’t make it a priority but we should. Having some free time to ourselves can really make us feel more relaxed and overall, happier. Spending a couple hours a week doing anything you like to do will help clear up your mind.

5. Stop worrying

A big part of stress has to do with mindset. Do you think of the glass as half full or half empty? Even if you can’t change your environment, you can change your way of thinking. Try to find the positive in everything. There is only so much you do do. After that, you have to let go and let the pieces fall where they may. Stop worrying and start living.