Come autumn, it is normal to spend some time reflecting on the year that will soon remain behind us. You consider what you have achieved, what you wish you had done and what your New Year’s resolutions will be. Being more productive at work doesn’t take an additional college to master. The equation is simple – either work longer hours or work smarter and perhaps even do the same amount of work in less time. This article is all about increasing your productivity at work through nine simple, yet effective steps.
Track your time
According to a research, only 17 percent of people are capable of accurately estimating the passage of time without checking their watch. A tool such as Rescue Time can help you in getting an accurate estimate on how much you spend on daily tasks at work.
Take regular breaks
While it might seem counterproductive, taking scheduled brakes actually helps improve concentration. If you take short breaks during demanding tasks, you will be able to maintain a constant level of performance. If you are working on a long task without taking any time off, your performance and attention to detail steadily declines.
Create small pockets of stress
Stress is usually perceived as a bad thing. However, a manageable level of self-induced stress can actually help you maintain focus and reach your goals. Try giving yourself micro-deadlines for open ended tasks and projects and stick to them. You will be surprised to find how much more productive and efficient you can be if the clock is ticking.
Meetings are the worst time-sucking events in the workplace, and yet somehow people continue to book them, attend them and ultimately complain about them. This infographic by Atlassian shows that an average office worker spends over 31 hours each month attending unproductive meetings. Before you book your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals by email, phone, or a web-based meeting platform.
Hold standing meetings
In cases when you absolutely have to call a meeting, consider a standing one. In a research article The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance, Andrew P. Knight and Markus Baer advocate that standing meetings are more effective. They improve group attention, reduce territoriality and improve efficiency.
Stick to the two-minute rule
This simple, but effective rule makes the most of small pockets of time you have at work. It goes like this: If you see a task or action that can be done in two minutes or less, do it without further thinking. Completing such a task right away actually takes less time than getting back to it later.
Abandon multitasking at once
For a long time, multitasking has been perceived as an important skill for increasing efficiency. There are still job descriptions that list ‘the ability to multitask’ as one of the required skills of an applicant. However, psychologists say that the opposite might be true. In repeated experiments conducted by different experts in 1990s and 2000s, it was proven that switching between tasks is more time consuming than performing one task at a time.
Having a colleague poke their head into your office just to say hello and ask how it’s going might seem innocent and well-mannered, but the truth is that even brief interruptions seem to produce a change in work pattern and consequently, a drop in productivity. Learn to minimize these interruptions by setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or, if you work in an open space plan office, investing in a pair of quality noise cancelling headphones from Australia and its leading audio equipment manufacturer.
Give up on perfection
It’s not uncommon for startup entrepreneurs to become preoccupied with attempting to perfect a task, when in reality nothing is perfect. Instead of wasting time chasing the illusion of perfection, do the best you can and move on. Once the task is off your plate, you can always come back and adjust it later.
There are many things you can do to improve your performance at work. Some of them are pretty common sense, while others don’t occur to most people. At the end of the day, your success will be determined by your attitude and how you spend your time.
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Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business
We live in the world of startups – they’re everywhere, customers dig them and they are successful. The whole idea of a startup, however, is quick establishment and low investment, which is quite challenging to achieve. Although the point of startups (contrary to popular belief) is in no way to crash and burn quickly, this is often the end result, owing to the fact that entrepreneurs still aren’t used to this new way of doing business. Fortunately, everything about startups is logical and easy to wrap your head around, as this article aims to show.
Everything starts with an idea
There is nothing more fruitful for a business than an original idea – something that has never been done before and that is completely innovative. Of course, we live in a world of technology, connectivity, and being the first one out of almost 8 billion people to come up with an idea is not only difficult, but borderline impossible. Unfortunately, even if you spend hours researching and reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an innovative idea will come to you.
Fortunately, the majority of modern startups are based on an existing idea, only improved in some way, or in a different niche. For example, opening a flower shop is in no way a new idea, but opening a flower shop that uses cute little colorful cardboard flowerpots might turn out a success.
Everything starts with an idea that needs to be either original or innovative.
Having a partner is always a cool idea
…especially if these are your baby steps in the world of startups. Ideally, a likeminded friend with similar interests and with the same amount of passion for the project is the perfect choice.
Firstly, the world of business is scary – going through it alone is not only frightening, but also difficult. A partner to share your business successes and failures with is a welcome thing.
Secondly, you might have a huge network of sources, such as investors, testers, potential employees, etc. but it will never be as big as when pooled with a partner’s group of contacts. For example, you might know the perfect candidate for an IT expert for your future business, but your partner may contribute with an awesome web designer.
Finally, there is nothing more rewarding than coming up with something with someone else – this will deepen your friendship and turn out to be a hugely valuable experience.
Round up a passionate team
You don’t have time for CVs, cover letters and recommendations when recruiting – you need to rely on your own personal contacts and the help of big data. Don’t be afraid to spend days on social media research – the perfect candidate might not become obvious by their CV qualifications, but by what they post on their social media pages. For example, a good SEO professional will have a ton of necessary prerequisites, a college degree, more than a couple of finished SEO courses and a neat, professional LinkedIn profile picture. On the other hand, an awesome SEO professional will constantly post about interesting SEO-related stuff on their social media – this means passion, and passion is invaluable, especially when it comes to startups.
Don’t be afraid to outsource
Unless you are incredibly lucky, you won’t be able to fill every position that is required for your startup, and even if you do, you might not be financially able to employ everyone full-time.
This is why outsourcing is a perfectly viable option; for example, if you can’t afford a personal assistant while starting up your business, but you’re tight on time, hire appointment setting services for making cold calls and generating leads.
Name and domain
Remember that you don’t have to rush with the name. Despite the fact that you’re planning on starting a startup, you still have time enough for the perfect name to pop into your head. However, if the perfect name does happen to come to you, make sure that you check the domains for availability and that you coin it as soon as possible – there are a lot of people in the world and someone may well come up with the identical name.
These tips are the basics of what you need to know before getting a startup going. Keep in mind that your idea doesn’t have to be original, but innovative; don’t be afraid of having a partner; be especially focused when it comes to hiring, but don’t be reluctant about outsourcing if necessary. Finally, coin your future domain name on time.
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5 Killer Tips for Small Business Management
You probably know that as a small business owner, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. You’re in charge of managing your small business and how you do it is going to have a huge effect on how successful your organization is going to be. No matter if we’re talking about managing your company’s finances or mundane daily tasks, you have to make every decision carefully. And if you want to become better at managing your small business, you might want to follow a few tips that have proven to be quite effective for other entrepreneurs out there. Here are 5 of them you should definitely check out.
Empower your employees
When running a small business, it’s very important that you make your employees feel directly connected to the success of your company. Even if they’re not your business partners, your employees need to get recognition for each goal your company achieves. This is a point of pride and can be a huge plus when it comes to morale in your company. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to give power to those who have demonstrated the capacity to handle important tasks for your business. On top of that, you might want to create an environment in which your team members are encouraged to work on improving their skills.
Purge clutter from your office
What many small business owners found quite helpful is getting rid of absolutely everything that isn’t helping them run a more productive office. So, whether it’s a cabinet with old files you simply no longer need or a dead PC you’re hoping to fix one day, let it go. Purging all the clutter from your office is going to affect you and your business both physically and mentally. What this means is that you’ll have more space to keep things that are actually relevant to what you do and you and your employees will be working in a healthier working environment.
Invest in team building
Many entrepreneurs simply don’t care about how their employees are getting along. However, those who do care have found out that investing in team building can do wonders for their business. That’s why you’ll now see companies from the Big Apple sending their team members to NYC museums where experts help them improve their teamwork skills. No matter where your company’s based, always try to look for new teambuilding opportunities and don’t be afraid to invest in them. What you’ll end up with is a relaxed environment in your office which is always going to get you plenty of new deals.
Make “more money” your mantra
This is something that applies to both small and large businesses. But the thing is, when running a small business, there’s much less opportunities for you to bring in more money. If you want to improve your products or boost your marketing efforts, you need the money to invest in it. Luckily, there are ways you can obtain that money and use it to start earning more. For example, there are experts in small business lending in Sydney that your Australian-based company can turn to. Angel investors and corporate loans are also popular options for companies all over the world.
Make to-do lists
We’ve already mentioned that being a small business owner means you’ll have tons of tasks to deal with. And what many entrepreneurs use in order to deal with their tasks are old-fashioned handwritten to-do lists. Even though we now have mobile apps and PC programs to do this for us, sticking to your notebook is still the best solution. Write down each of your tasks and thick them once you get the job done – simple as that. We also recommend having one page in your notebook for all those minor tasks you can tackle in your free time.
There you have it – 5 tips that helped many entrepreneurs get from where you are right now to where you want to be one day. Even once you manage to do all the things we mentioned above, make sure you keep searching for new tips to get even better at managing your small business.
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Smart Data and the Digital Planning of Buildings
Quite often, contractors and anyone else involved in the project find themselves in a situation where a building takes longer and costs more to build than expected. This is the case because with some projects they simply fail when it comes to coordinating all the assignments and dealing with errors that come up. Luckily, as we see technology advance more and more there is a solution to this problem and it’s called Building Information Modeling or BIM. This is a piece of technology that allows experts to display blueprints clearly in 3D and provides them with all the additional information necessary for completing the project quickly and efficiently. But what’s the digital planning of buildings all about? How does it work? Why do we need it? And what does it mean for the future? Read on to find out.
What’s the reason for using smart data?
There’s no need for us to say that there are so many things that have to be done when constructing a building. Operating cranes, pouring the floor, and inserting power cables in walls are just some of the things that have to be done in order to bring a building to life. And you probably believe all of these make a perfectly choreographed process. However, with all those things that have to be done, achieving perfect cohesion is almost never possible. Not only do things like this make contractors’ job more difficult but they also result in irritated clients, added costs and huge delays. Since there’s nothing contractors can do in order to get this problem solved, a change in technology needed to be made. Thanks to experts who work in this field, the entire construction industry is now turning towards smart data and virtual world. More specifically, the industry is now relying on BIM, the technology we’ve already mentioned above. This means there are no more static 2D blueprints that were responsible for all the misunderstandings and the contractors can now rely on 3D blueprints which tend to be more accurate.
How does the digital planning of buildings work?
The digital planning of buildings by using 3D blueprints is what building industry is all about at the moment. These things are designed to plan the process of construction to be as quick and efficient as possible. The key to BIM is the use of virtual model that contains all the data about the project. Basically, this model is a digital twin of the building that’s being constructed. This digital twin is used to collect data such as costs, deadlines and technical specifications which makes contractors’ job much easier. This is done by linking all the phases of the project to the necessary information, and this results in all the data used in the project coming from a single source, which wasn’t the case with traditional planning of buildings. Therefore, BIM allows the specialists from all the field to access the same 3D model and use identical data when planning their work. However, it’s not only them who’ll benefit from using technologies like this. Clients can now get more accurate information about when their project is going to be finished and how much it’s going to cost them.
What does it mean for the future?
Even though the use of 3D blueprints allows contractors and everyone else involved in the project to coordinate, all the equipment used when building with 2D blueprints is still very much needed. Not only this, every project requires professionals who will make the most of this new type of model and work quickly and efficiently. For example, when it comes to the formwork, experts such as those at TDK formwork are needed in order to get the job done.
While all the projects still require equipment and professionals to handle the task, the use of 3D blueprints will help when it comes to any future building management activities. For example, if you want to tear down all the walls on a single floor and form an open-plan office, by using the 3D model, you should be able to get all the information about the time and costs of this project. Not only this, but by turning to 3D blueprints you should be able to adjust the ventilation and heating systems in the new office. With old 2D blueprints, tasks like this would take more time and effort, and chances are they wouldn’t be as accurate.
All in all, it’s safe to say that technology is playing a crucial role in everything we do and such is the case with building. Data is more important than ever and there are new ways experts in building industry can harness it. Smart data we can now collect is slowly changing the way every project is being tackled, since it makes cohesion possible and leaves almost no room for errors. And with more buildings being planned this way, we can expect building maintenance activities in the future to become much easier which is something experts always aim at. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace and we can’t possibly imagine all the new updates building industry is going to see in the years to come.
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