Maximizing your Productivity as a Consulting Business Owner

Everyone knows that owning and managing a business is stressful, time-consuming, and sometimes, let’s face it, just downright exhausting.

With business ownership comes that long list of responsibilities, in addition to the continual work it takes to ensure you and your management are able to create and maintain a productive, positive, and prosperous (the “three Ps” all business owners strive for, right?) workplace atmosphere and operational model. We tirelessly search for ways to increase our productivity in the workplace, while hoping to at least sleep during the night – or part of the night anyway.

Before delving further into the topic of maximizing your productivity in the workplace, I’d like to begin by discussing Hollywood film actor James Franco (his IMDB profile can be found here) who is well known for his ultra-productive, and arguably healthy, lifestyle. Outside of his lead roles in Hollywood blockbusters or indie-films, James Franco is also credited as a published author, model, director and producer, painter, doctorate student, teacher, and Oscar host.

Oh, and did I mention that he’s now working towards earning his second doctorate degree while he pursues his first? While acting, Franco still somehow managed to complete 62 course credit hours per quarter while studying for his Master’s degree (the normal limit is 19). It’s safe to say that his super-human abilities are downright incomparable to what most of us are able to achieve.

If you’re blown away by Franco’s effortless ability to defy the law of limited time, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, the majority of people simply can’t operate that way, and that’s probably because, well, it just ain’t possible. Instead, let’s look at healthier, saner ways of maximizing productivity in the workplace, a few of which I’ve offered up from my own experience as a business owner:

Investing in Project Management Software: Put the pen down, throw the pocketbook organizer in the bottom drawer, and say goodbye to post-it notes. Project management software is an excellent tool for scheduling, creating task lists, tracking project progress and deadlines, storing and organizing important files, cementing communication, cost control, and even budgeting. Project management SaaS providers like Basecamp take care of the nitty-gritty details for us so that we don’t have to, thereby saving us hours of time as a result.

Cutting out the Stress: This may seem obvious, and rather ambiguous, but it’s critical to actually get things done so that you’re less stressed in the long run. Resist the urge to procrastinate, which can bring on episodes of stress, panic, and anxiety. When you’re less stressed in the workplace, you’re obviously going to accomplish so much more – a no brainer. Get Things Done by David Allen provides tips on how to get things done by recording, focusing, and unclogging our brain.

In addition to squandering the urge to procrastinate, remember to take care of yourself throughout the day – another method in reducing stress. Take short breaks, practice breathing exercises, have nutritional snacks around to keep your energy levels up, and get up at least once during the day to stretch and re-boot.

Track Where Your Time is Spent: We always ask, “Where did the time go?” and are unable to answer our own question. However, writing out, recording, reciting, and even investing in a time tracking application can make all the difference, and furthermore, finally answer that question that has been driving all of us up the wall! You will be amazed to see how much time is wasted simply by knowing where your time is spent.

Did you end up taking an hour and half lunch, but told yourself it was only really an hour? Were you reading news online or checking Facebook repeatedly throughout the day? Once you finally get to the bottom of where your time is going, you’re in that much of a better position to get that time back – by working on or completing that task that you forgot about, because you were on CNN.com for three hours.

Ellisa Brenneman has started green businesses and has vast experience managing public, media and investor relations for small-cap public and private companies. Since 2006, Ellisa has been the President and Owner of Ethos 360. Ethos 360 provides entrepreneurs with custom business plans written by a team of experts, one-on-one business consulting, professional branding services and corporate finance coaching so they can launch and grow their businesses. Visit www.Ethos360.com for additional information.

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