There's no doubt about it. We're under more pressure to produce, stay organized, and pivot frequently throughout the day. Simplifying the workday then, not only makes sense but also leads to greater productivity.
You may have noticed how much simplifying a recurring task in your personal life has helped. Maybe it's planning time to update your checkbook every other day or twice a month. Perhaps, it's placing an order for grocery pickup and shaving an hour or more off your in-store time.
Simplifying your workday can be as easy--or complicated--as you make it. If you're an overachiever, perhaps you want to tackle several of these 25 simplification tasks suggested by Entrepreneur.
If you're looking for some easy wins, then try one of these 3 ways to simplify your workday.
Tip #1: Start at the Very Beginning
In the musical, The Sound of Music, Maria reminds us, "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start."
Theater geek or not, you'll likely agree. The trick is to find out what IS the very beginning. The easiest way to find that is to work backward. If your goal is to bring in more revenue, look at the ROI of the tasks you know need to be accomplished.
Ask yourself, "Which ONE of these tasks will bring in the greatest ROI?" Then focus on that task. That is your starting point or beginning. Nothing else gets added to your to-do list until this task has been undertaken.
Tip #2: Say No to Something
Saying yes is easy. For some of us it's automatic. Before a request has even been finalized, we find ourselves nodding along, agreeing that it's important and inevitably, that we need to do it.
Remember, as best-selling author Annie Lamott once wisely said, "No is a complete sentence".
Say no to something today. It could be as big or small as you're comfortable with. Say no to spacing out by surfing online or "just checking email" for the 20th time in an hour.
Say no to a coworker who pleads for help at the 11th hour...after assuring you that they had everything under control and could meet the deadline they knew about weeks ago.
Say no to scheduling yet another Zoom call when a quick email will get the same results.
Tip #3: Curate Constantly
Freelancers often find that when they first go out on their own they are able to get much more done in less time. This causes elation in some, trepidation in others. Some of us only feel productive if every last minute of the workday (and then some) are full of activity.
The thing is, busy doesn't mean productive. I can get more done in three hours of uninterrupted time than I could eight hours at a job I once held where a micromanaging boss loomed over my shoulder constantly.
So, curate. Learn to cut out the things that are great but not essential. Cut out the virtual calls, online networking events, and "perfect" project results--that in actuality are only five to ten percent better after another six hours of tweaking.
Curate your workday so that you have energy left for the rest of your life. Especially now, as so many of us juggle the strain of homeschooling or parent care, additional duties around the house and/or general stress over COVID-19.
Simplifying as a Form of Self-Care
By simplifying our workdays, we are taking better care of ourselves. And we may find that by doing so, we build up the ability to simplify other areas of our lives, too.
If you're looking for more tips on simplifying at work, home, or in your personal life, I strongly recommend visiting Leo Babauta's blog, Zen Habits.
What do you think? What benefits have you noticed in simplifying your workday and what challenges have you experienced in doing so?
The only ones who should wear pajamas outside are these guys.
This topic may cause you to dislike me. It might make me appear judgmental, snobbish, and holier-than-thou. I'm willing to take the risk because it's important.
"Who does she think she is," you might snarl as you wave your fist in the air, "to tell ME how my business looks? And anyway, these aren't pajamas~they're yoga pants!"
Let's Start with a Story...
I was enjoying an unexpected dinner out with my husband recently. As we sat in the steamy dining room of our favorite local Chinese restaurant, I watched the customers coming in. Upon arriving, they either nabbed an empty table or picked up paper sacks of food to take with them.
Even though I live in a rural area, I was surprised by how casually most were dressed. Jeans, yes. But sweatpants, yoga pants, plenty of flannel (not all of it clean looking) and more "relaxed" attire was the norm.
Call me old-school ('cause I am) but I was taught that when you leave the house, you get judged by how you look. In other words, holey, ripped clothes weren't allowed.
My mother and I once had a huge blowout fight about a pair of ripped jeans I wanted to wear to a concert as a teenager. I refused to take them off. She refused to take me while wearing them. Guess who won?
I spent the night writing angrily in my journal and blasting grunge music.
How We Write Matters to Our Business
As I watched people coming into the restaurant, it struck me: the way we dress is a form of communication. It tells the people around us something about us. Most of my fellow diners that night were saying, "comfort is more important to me than appearance". A couple were saying, "Stay away from me," and one was definitely shouting, "I love my pajamas and refuse to be constrained by public opinion!".
Have you ever considered how your business appears to others by the quality of its written content? As business owners, we wouldn't consider showing up at a meeting dressed in our Saturday-morning sweats. Why do the same thing with our website text, blog posts, newsletters or case studies?
The Case for an Expert Copywriter
"Oh, I don't need a writer." Many people over the past 12 years I've been writing professionally have told me this. "I'm working on a novel in my free time and I really like to write."
That may be. But writing is more than just getting words on paper (or a screen). It's about communicating efficiently and effectively with your audience. It takes more than the mechanical skill of being able to type. More than the practice of penning a novel or poetry in your free time.
Writing requires organization and the ability to curate and cull words and ideas. Very often it means doing a lot of research, then taking that research and creating a compelling narrative that draws readers in. Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should. I can clean and bandage my son's finger after he stabs himself with a fondue skewer (which he did on Christmas--he's fine, thanks). Doesn't mean I'm a doctor or nurse.
Writing--like dress--communicates so much more about a business than many of us realize.
I've written before about writing effective content and whether it resembles more of a Snickers bar or a big pouf of cotton candy. I'm not here to tell you how to write or how to dress--it's a free country.
I would like to remind you though, of the importance of written communication in your business. If you're not saying the right thing at the right time, are you growing your business the way you want? Are you attracting the high-quality talent that you want?
Just like I don't trust myself to prepare my own income taxes, not everyone who can write, should.
This is why I love working with clients who "get it": those who already know the value that a professional copywriter offers and are ready to get started on the project--whether that's writing new website content, well-researched, SEO-rich blog posts, or sparkling clean newsletters to entice their clients.
I still don't leave the house without double-checking my appearance. For that I have my mother--and my mirror--to be grateful for.
What do you think? Am I putting too much emphasis on appearance? Do you believe that dressing--and writing--aren't as important as I believe? Please let me know in the comments.
Lacey, a twenty-three year-old from Scranton, decided to stay in Burlington, VT, after finishing college. Fresh out of an internship as a physical therapist and with the necessary licenses in place, Lacey is ready to seek employment.
There are several options available to her. As a physical therapist--one of the top growing jobs in the U.S., at present, she has her pick of places to work. The local hospital has little appeal, but Lacey can choose from one of several senior care facilities, the Visiting Nurses Association, private care situations, and even alternative health clinics.
Joy Choquette has been writing professionally from her home office in northwestern Vermont for more than a decade. She helps small business owners to cut through the clutter online by creating shareable stories and memorable messages that motivate customers to action. She specializes in the areas of business, environmental and health and wellness issues.