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Declutter Your Mind. Get More From Your Days
Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Part of running a profitable small business is how well you can maximize the value of your own time, to ensure that your working hours are dedicated to producing real and impactful results. Here are a few simple ways to ensure that you approach your workdays with mental focus, maximum energy, and also as few distractions as possible.

Minimize Clutter To Maximize

According to one study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that "multiple stimuli in the visual field" led to a "limited processing capacity." In plain English: Too many visual reminders of all the balls you're juggling can actually diminsh the brains ability to focus on tasks, ultimately hindering productivity.

To remove piles of paper, filing folders (and even the need for hard coppies of any kind and storage of them), organizational expert Jill Pollack recommends going virtual as much as possible. Mobile scanning apps (TinyScan for iPhone and iPad is one of the best out there, and costs less than $5) allow you to scan paper documents from anywhere, in seconds, and send them by email, or saved as PDF that you file into your cloud computing system establish a recurring block of time on your calendar (at least once a week, ideally a few times a week) to tend to "document housekeeping" so it doesn't become time consuming and tedious.

Additionally, Pollack Lewis reminds that little things contribute to a feeling of simplicity and organization in your workspace: Arrange your desk so that you face a window, and add a plush are rusg to make the space inviting. Unkink your phone cord, keep your computer screen clear of smugdes, and wipe off the white board so you start with a clean slate each day. (If there's content on the board you need, snap a picture and add it to your scanned documents).

Set A Plan For Priorities

You may already have a "to do" list that helps you stay on top of all the tasks vying for your mind space, but without parameters, these types of lists have a tendency yo grow...and grow... and grow. Ultimately, this long list leads to even more stress, anxiety, and distraction.

To focus your day, try "time baxing." Similar to the way your school schedule may have been structured as a child, you'll detail where, when, and for how long you'll dedicate your attention to each task on your list for the day. In addition to assigning start and end times to each item, include a brief descriptiom of the result that needs to happen for you to consider each task "complete" (at least for the time being).

Set alarms on your phone or computer to keep yourslef focused and resist the urge to respond to emails, text messages, phone calls, or even coffee and water breaks, until you've reached the task's "end time." (You'll also want to schedule time for things like water and coffe breaks, lunch, meetings, email and phone calls, and even time you spend walking to and from a printer, reviewing reports, etc.)

Though your day will inevitably involve some unforseen hiccups, the idea of system is approach your work with intention to create a feasible and productive daily schedule. 

Define What Success Means- Ans Keep Reminding Yourself

You probably had a clear vision when you began your business, but when's the last time you checked in with your larger scale vision? To keep yourslef focused on your goals of your business and life as a business owner it's important that you clearly define what will make you feel fulfilled, for the next year, five years, decade, and beyond. Do you want to attract a certain number of customers, reach a specific sales goal, or pay yourself a certain salary, by a stated point in time? Perhaps your most pressing your most pressing goals aren's so much about business as they are your ability to work-life balance. Be specific about your goals and deadlines for them, and post reminders in your office, car, and even on your bathroom mirror at home. When you get sidetracked, stressed and bogged down in the frenzy of being a business owner, keeping your eye on the real prizes you seek cn help you make the strategic decisions that will keep you achieving the milestones you value.

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