Category ArchiveProductivity Tips

productive work environment

Personal and Workplace Productivity to Get More Done in Less Time

Every business manager strives for high productivity employees. It makes sense, with most costs fixed the more produced by employees the cheaper each unit of production. Even non-profits jump on the productivity management bandwagon; improving workplace productivity is well a truly a “buzz word” now.

Employees buy in to doing more, not only because employers are tracking their time, but also because they reason that highly productive employees will be highly valued, which they hope will translate to career advancement, salary increases and promotions. Getting more done in less time is nearly a national pastime in the U.S. 

Productivity is so good a buzz word that individuals also strive for high personal productivity. Even stay-at-home moms are on the productivity bandwagon. They juggle a myriad of home and child-care duties while trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, and maybe even some part-time work. 

And the same holds true again for people who work or are looking to work as Virtual Assistants or other freelance contractors.

Time Management with Smart phones

apple computer on desk

Proof of people attempting high productivity through multi-tasking time management is apparent on any freeway. Look over at the car in the next lane. It’s likely you’ll see someone talking on iphone, perhaps gesturing wildly, holding a sandwich or drink in  one hand – all that while attempting to maneuver a two-ton vehicle at 70 mph safely to the next destination. 

Marketers offer convincing arguments that smart phones, social networks, and twenty-four hour internet connectivity on your new techno-gadget will provide highly productive, happy people. Ads show smiling people accomplishing important business tasks while basking on a sunny  beach. What’s not to like about that? 

Improving Employee Productivity, Who Benefits? 

The reality seems much different from the marketing message. Nearly half of all U.S. workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. A similar percentage feel their lives are out of balance. 

But only people benefiting from improving productivity are business owners and the companies selling productivity gadgets. 

That’s one reason why taking control of your day and working as a Virtual Assistant can be so rewarding. While you don’t have the luxury of determining what you do each day you do have a much more flexible work environment and can craft it to suit how you work best.


Focused Productivity Management 

man focusing

Rather than working on doing more with technology and multi-tasking, you should list out a set of goals or objectives each day and only use technology or tools if it makes it easy to achieve those outcomes.

For example people often get stuck in a loop of sending countless emails back and forward when a simple phone call would get you an answer much quicker.

Just because we have computers in our homes and office doesn’t mean that we have to use them for every single task that is on our to do list.



Workig from home - laptop on desk

Maintain Productivity While Working From Home

Stay focused while working from your home office. Working from home allows you to have a lot of flexibility, but if you have family obligations,  you must be careful to make the most of your time. You can do the dishes or mow the lawn during the time your family is home. Working effectively from home can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Structure your day as you would if you were going into an office every day. Get out of bed at a consistent time each morning. This is especially important if you have children or other people living in your home. If you are on a schedule, it will help you to be more organized later in the day.

Start your day with breakfast, your daily exercise routine, if you have one, and then move on to your other obligations. Once those are done, begin work—and work as though the boss is looking over your shoulder. The more productive you are, the less frustration you will have later.   

Set aside a dedicated space for working. Be sure to have a desk and a chair that is ergonomically suited to you. If you have space, work in a room dedicated for working or a space where you can work with little disruption. Sitting at the kitchen table may lead to washing the dirty dishes you see in your peripheral vision. 

Set an achievable goal and make a To-Do List each day. If you are a freelance writer for instance, you may want to do research over the course of the day(s) and write your article at the end of the week. If you work on projects that are ongoing and do not require deadlines, set a goal of finishing a report or making a certain amount of phone calls to follow up on a project. Write out what you plan to do and include things such as sending faxes, emails or making copies.  Everything should be scheduled to allow you to reach your goal by day’s end. 

Stay focused. Being at home does allow more freedom, but if you allow yourself to lose focus, the stacks of unfolded clothes, the ring around the bathtub or picking up the dry cleaning will take priority, and before you know it, your work time has turned into chore time and you won’t have earned a dime. 

Take regular breaks as you would at work. Sitting at a desk for eight hours straight is not healthy in an office, and it isn’t at home either. Stretch, walk around the house, get a snack, make a short personal phone call, or check the mailbox to take a mental break. Take a break to eat lunch and focus on something else for a few minutes. 

Check your productivity at the end of the day. Assess your workday and make modifications for the next day to be more productive. When you finish working, do not pick up work again until the next day. Make sure there is a clear distinction between work time and time for you. If you do not, the days may feel as if they are running together, and each day may be less productive.