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Jessie Wolfrum
Professional Organizer
Everett, Washington
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Are you getting in the way of your own productivity?

If you feel like you spend a whole day working on your business without accomplishing anything of value, then it’s time to see how you are getting in the way of your own productivity!
Written Jul 15, 2009, read 1320 times since then.


Do you ever have one of those days where you start your workday with lists of things to do hanging over your head and two, three, four hours later none of them have been completed? Do you feel like no matter how much extra time you spend working on your business late into the night and on weekends that you still can’t keep up?  If so, then it’s time to see how you are getting in the way of your own productivity!

  1.  You have potential for a much more fulfilling workday if:
  2.  You check your email more than four times a day
  3. You take phone calls no matter what you might be working on because it could be a client and if you don’t answer, they won’t want to work with you!
  4. You decide what you need to do for the day by either by tackling what is stressing you out the most or by looking at your 10 page to-do list and choosing the item that you can accomplish most quickly. 
  5. You take care of office tasks (i.e. filing, answering messages, putting supplies away) only just before they cause catastrophic damage to your business.
  6. There is a sludge of emails and papers in your inbox and on your desk that you really don’t feel like addressing, but you reread them and consider them every once in a while to remind yourself to take care of them some day.
  7. You don’t schedule any “me time” because it might get in the way of a potential client and you feel guilty if you’re not working on your business in your free time.
  8. You schedule appointments with yourself every 15 minutes so that you can try to address all 25 items on your to-do list for that day.

As your own boss, it is important to set boundaries for your business and how you run it. It is so much easier to let your business run your life, but keep in mind that our work is supposed to fulfill us both in the financial department and in the “pursuing your life’s passion” department instead of bringing high amounts of stress to your life and preventing you from truly living.

If you’re stuck in the quagmire of your daily tasks, then try at least one of the following ways to improve your own productivity:

Schedule some “me time” and keep your appointments with yourself! We have our work for one main reason – to support the lifestyle we choose to have. While you might be thinking “I’ll just take that trip to Tahiti in five years or so”, five years becomes ten, fifteen, or maybe never. Set specific goals and stick to them! Harold Taylor at the 2009 NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) conference spoke about how we really measure life in events, not time. The spans of our lives that include more events are the most memorable and concrete.

Limit your time for checking email and social networking. Your life is valuable! If you are a service-oriented business, consider how much you bill your clients at an hourly rate, then apply that to the time you spend answering emails and checking out social networks. Decide how much you want to invest those activities.

Start your day with a to-do list of no more than 10 items. Choose which items on the list will bring you closest to your income and do them first. Don’t be afraid to eliminate tasks that are not worth your time!

Allow yourself at least 50% more time than you expect your tasks to take. Interruptions happen and it is best to account for them instead of always feeling like you’re running behind.

Turn off the ringer on your phone and avoid taking calls when you are working on your tasks. The time you spend in building your business demands just as much respect as your time with a client. By avoiding interruptions, your work will be of higher quality to yourself and your clients.

Work in an environment that supports your success! By having an organized office with a simple and effective paper system, an email system, and plenty of storage for your supplies, you can use your time in the office to work on your business rather than using it to search for items.

Instead of waking up tomorrow with that to-do list hanging over your head, take action now and create space in your life to start living and working with ease!

Learn more about the author, Jessie Wolfrum.

Comment on this article

  • writer/researcher 
seattle, Washington 
Liz Vedder
    Posted by Liz Vedder, seattle, Washington | Jul 21, 2009

    Thanks very much for these tips. Often I find myself swamped by the many things I have to do only to realize later on that it seemed as if I hardly got any of them done quite right or thoroughly.

  • Professional Organizer 
Everett, Washington 
Jessie Wolfrum
    Posted by Jessie Wolfrum, Everett, Washington | Jul 22, 2009

    Thanks Liz! I'd love to know if you notice any improvement with any of these tips.

  • Tile Cleaning in Seattle 
Seattle , Washington 
Troy  Cantini
    Posted by Troy Cantini, Seattle , Washington | Jul 23, 2009

    Good tips especially about planning 50% more time to complete tasks then originally planned.

  • Office Manager 
Bothell, Washington 
Maulitta Brown
    Posted by Maulitta Brown, Bothell, Washington | Aug 25, 2009

    Good stuff Jessie!

  • student 
Kochi, Kerala India 
Rahul R
    Posted by Rahul R, Kochi, Kerala India | Nov 13, 2009

    gettin a lot of me time!!. Thanks for the article