We are currently living in the unbridled age of innovation. Thanks to the meteoric rise of the internet and its associated technology, the very landscape of our world has evolved. Naturally, this global evolution has impacted how businesses operate. Right now, there are more than 400 million self-labeled entrepreneurs in the world and that number will only rise going forward. Why are we telling you this?
In the era of the self-starting individual, maximizing productivity is all but integral to long term success. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur, the CEO of a startup, or the leader of an established business, using your time wisely will always be beneficial. To help steer you in the right direction, we are going to spend some time highlighting common productivity tips as well as their shortcomings. As you'll soon see, even the best of intentions can lead to wasted time, missed opportunities, and lost profit potential.
If you want to find success in your career endeavors, keep on reading. At the end of our discussion, we will be showcasing three actionable tips that you can employ to make the most out of your time, efforts, and energy.
Productivity Expectation — Skipping Sleep to Work Will Be Worth It
There is an almost mythical misconception surrounding the idea of working hard in the United States. We've spent decades glamorizing the idea of working until we drop. How many people do you know who cannot function until they've had their morning coffee? If you aren't working until the early hours of the morning, you aren't going to outwork your competition, right?
While there are going to be times in your life when you need to burn the candles at both ends, skipping sleep to remain productive isn't an ideal solution. According to the National Sleep Foundation, even a single missed night of sleep can impair your memory, reduce metabolic functions, and trigger issues within the cardiovascular system. Long-term sleep deprivation has also been linked to serious health issues including outright mortality. According to the aforementioned study, workers averaging less than 6 hours of sleep per night experienced a 10% boost to their mortality risk.
Although sleep deprivation is a pervasive issue among professionals out West, a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation found that sleep deprivation was also common throughout Germany, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Even though there are absolutely going to be times when you need to work beyond your limitations, this should never be the desired outcome.
Reasonable Solution - If you have to choose between proper rest and work, opt for the rest. Working while tired is bad for your health, bad for your productivity, and bad for your work.
Productivity Expectation — Working Alone is Better Than Working With a Team
When you think of tech giants like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, you tend to perceive them as monolithic titans. While Zuckerberg and Jobs both did a tremendous amount of work on their respective businesses, they also had help from countless professionals. We have talked quite a bit about romanticizing the workforce, and we aren't going to stop now.
Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. — Vince Lombardi, NFL Hall of Fame Coach, Player, and Executive.
In the modern business world, remote workers and self-starters can find themselves without backing from a larger team. Lacking the structure and resources of a larger team of professionals, these individual workers will be forced to tackle tasks that are bigger than their workload will allow. When an employee is pressed for time or forced to rush through their work, the results can be disastrous. Even simple activities like checking business emails or scheduling travel can become a hassle, not to mention larger and more advanced tasks that need doing.
In fact, there are a host of negatives when it comes to working alone.
- Lack of Dynamic Feedback — When you work alone, you hamstring all of your ideas. Having someone you trust to bounce ideas off of will allow you to workshop concepts before you put them into action, saving you time, money, and your reputation.
- Limited Potential — It is entirely possible to become a self-made success while working completely alone, so why are we dismissing the concept? The simple truth is that humans are pack animals, we like to work together, and we subconsciously crave collaboration. What happened the last time you had an amazing idea? You probably wanted to share it with someone, right?
- Increased Stress Levels — When you are the only member of the team, it can be hard to know where to even start with your work. As tasks begin piling up, your stress levels will begin to go through the roof. For some people, the mere idea of a long to-do list can inspire anxiety and stress. Stress turns into cortisol production which can lead to several physical and mental effects. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone to help?
Even though it costs money to bring on additional help, sometimes that is the easiest way to save yourself stress in the long-run. While many driven individuals have found success while wearing every hat in their organization, teamwork can help in a number of different ways. Hiring a team of business professionals to tackle specific tasks can take a heavy burden off of your shoulders. You will gain access to their specialized knowledge all while reducing your stress levels.
Reasonable Solution — Whether you are starting your own business or working remotely for someone else, be willing to ask for help. A network of support will allow you to do your best work without having to sacrifice your health.
Simple Productivity Tips That You Can Implement Today
Now that we have introduced you to two productivity myths, we can provide some viable alternatives. No matter your industry, niche, or style of work, the following productivity ideas can get your brain going in the right direction.
- Hire A Virtual Assistant — We've highlighted the dangers of insufficient rest and working alone, now address them directly with your own virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is a professional who works remotely to tackle the tasks that you've given them. Virtual Assistants in the United States run between $20 and $50 per hour for generalized work, though their rates can change depending on the niche. What can a virtual assistant do for you?
- Administrative Work — A professional virtual assistant can take care of your email, schedule your travel arrangements, and even handle follow-up responses to co-workers and clients. This workload can change based on your industry, your needs, and how many hours you are looking to offload to another pair of hands.
- Online Marketing — If you lack the time or knowledge to appropriately market your work on the internet, you need to hire a digital marketing professional. Your virtual marketing professional can help to generate leads, research competitors, and even optimize your copy for SEO effectiveness. Virtual marketing assistants can even be counted on to curate content and craft your social media outreach.
- Graphic Design Projects — Finally, your virtual assistant can also handle all of your graphic design needs. No matter what industry you work in, promoting your business will require graphical assets. While you might be an accounting or legal guru, designing industry-compliant graphics can be a whole different experience.
- Decreased Overhead — Hiring a virtual assistant from a company like Delegated will allow you to bring in help sans the operating costs associated with hiring an actual employee. Businesses typically are not required to produce benefits, training, equipment, or bonuses to their virtual assistant staff.
- Employ the Pomodoro Technique — The Pomodoro Technique is a time management practice invented by Francesco Cirillo. This time management method helps you to break down your work into 25 minute intervals with a short break acting as a regular interruption. These short breaks are meant to allow your brain the chance to breathe before resuming your work. While the Pomodoro Technique is incredibly popular, it is not unique. There are many other timeboxing techniques that business professionals should pursue.
- Track Your Objectives — One of the easiest ways to boost your productivity is to track the tasks that you have to accomplish in a day. The act of writing out your daily goals will endear them to your memory. The rush that you get from checking an item off your list will allow your brain to be more productive in the future. You can track your goals by putting them on paper or even typing them up on your computer notepad. What's important about this tip is that you remember to cross each item off as it is completed.
Finding success in today's data-driven world is all about shoring up your margins. Whether you are fifteen years into your career or brand-new to your industry, having a little extra help can make the difference. If you would like to take your business to the next level, consider hiring a virtual assistant from the team at Delegated.
Delegated is a U.S. based company that intensely screens and interviews their virtual assistants. With 24/7 emergency coverage, Delegated will make sure that your business will never be left alone when it needs help the most.