15 Ways to Stay Productive and Get Your Business Thriving

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The difference between productivity and efficiency, and what it means for your career.

Are you a business owner? If so, then you’re no stranger to the value of efficiency. All companies, big or small, seek to advance their systems in such a way that cuts down on time, money or both.

And that’s what efficiency boils down to: the ability to accomplish a job with minimum expenditure of time and effort.  Large companies tout statistics highlighting their efficiency— thing like making 5,000 widgets per day or dispatching an impressive number of emails per hour.

Many confuse efficiency with productivity, oblivious to the major difference between the two. Have you ever reached the end of a long work day, only to realize that you didn’t really get anything done? Chances are, you were working on the wrong things. Sure, efficiency is great. But what happens when you focus on the wrong areas? An email subscriber list of 1,000,000+ sounds impressive, but what if no one opens the emails? Your productivity suffers.

So what exactly is productivity? According to the dictionary, productivity is the quality or state of being able to generate, create, enhance or bring forth goods and services. Steve Levitt said it best in his book, Freakonomics: “Productivity is the key to everything. If you can be 10 percent faster at getting the same thing done, then you’ve got 10 percent of your time to do something you’d rather do.” Efficiency is essential, but only if it’s put to use in the areas that matter—that’s real productivity.

If your productivity needs a makeover, check out these top tips:

  1. Track and limit how much time you spend on each task.  Work in 30, 60 or 90-minute time intervals.

  2. Eliminate distractions. Turn off phones, and only check email at designated times.

  3. Schedule breaks.

  4. Complete your most dreaded tasks first thing in the morning.

  5. Give yourself deadlines, and meet them.

  6. Be proactive, not reactive.

  7. Plan your day in advance.

  8. Organize your office and desk.

  9. Outsource as much as possible.

  10. Focus on result-oriented actives.

  11. Tell other people your goals so they can hold you accountable. Find yourself a mentor, coach or mastermind group.

  12. Learn to say no.

  13. Stop multitasking. It doesn’t work!

  14. Eliminate time-wasters such as internet surfing, TV, games, etc.

  15. Prioritize your day before it starts.

This list is a great launching point, but you’re ultimately the only one who can increase your productivity. I challenge you to write down everything you do this coming week, and make sure you have a clear picture of how much you actually get done. You may discover some time-wasters you never realized you had. Or you may realize you’re not spending enough time on what actually matters. You are the captain of your ship. So here’s to productivity and results!


Kimberly is a serial entrepreneur, facilitator, author, speaker, traveler, photographer, sports enthusiast, wife and mother of two adorable fur babies. She creates and facilitates mastermind groups for small business owners and speaks on entrepreneurship and teaching kids about money. She feels the right mindset is all the luck you need.