13 Habits To Break To Increase Productivity

Do you find yourself falling behind in your work even though you’re putting in long days and time on the weekends? Working smarter, not harder means making the most of the time you have and making that time as productive as possible.

  1. Hitting The Snooze Button. When you first wake up, your endocrine system begins to release alertness hormones to help get you going for the day. When you drift back to sleep, you slow down this process. That extra 6-7 minutes doesn’t give your body time to get back into the deep sleep it needs, so forgo the snooze and get out of bed when the alarm rings.
  1. Leaving Your Bed Unmade. I recently read a Hubspot article where Navy Seal William H. McCraven told a crowd, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task will have turned into many tasks completed.”
  1. Starting Your Day With Easy Tasks. Your most productive time of the day is your first 3 hours. Sometimes that big project or task seems overwhelming to tackle in the morning, but putting it off until later in the day can lend to you either running out of time to do it or being too tired to do a good job. Utilizing the first 3 hours of your day to get the big things out of the way will also clear your mind knowing it’s done and help you concentrate on the rest of your day.
  1. Impulsively Scouring the Internet. Almost everyone has internet access at work. It’s easy to get side tracked online and soon you’re getting sucked into Facebook or shopping for that birthday gift you still need to buy. Try making a list of the “extra” online things you need to do that you can revisit on your lunch or in the evening.
  1. Multitasking. Multitasking is one of the leading causes of burnout for most people. Although we like to think we can multitask effectively, there’s scientific proof that we can’t. When a person is multitasking they experience a 40% decline in productivity and your IQ can suffer a 10 point drop which is equivalent to missing an entire night’s sleep. It’s time to take off the cape and ask for help.
  1. Checking Email Too Often. We all fall into the “endless email” trap. Checking emails can turn into as much of a time-suck as scrolling through Facebook. Try setting certain times of the day aside to check emails. If there’s something pressing you’re waiting for, use a 3-point system: before work, at lunch and 4 o’clock. Unless there’s something time-sensitive you’re waiting on, the emails will still be there regardless of how often you check them.
  1. Being Disorganized. Being disorganized is a sure-fire way to decrease your productivity. If you’re spending more time looking for things instead of doing things, you’re not spending your time wisely. This is a perfect scenario for being “busy” instead of “productive”.  
  1. Accepting Too Many Meeting Requests. Before you take up your time and that of others, make sure the meeting is not only necessary, but that it’s planned out ahead of time to be short and to the point. Meetings add a disruption to our day and workflow and makes it hard to get back on track.
  1. Failing To Prioritize. When you have a busy day it’s easy to have your priorities fall out of order. Instead of writing down 15 things to do in a day, break those up into smaller, more manageable blocks and assign them to different days throughout the week.
  1. Over Planning. Being ambitious and organized is great until the day slowly unravels and your plans are being pushed out later and later. Instead of planning every detail of your day, try planning for 5-6 hours of an 8 hour day to allow for flexibility.
  1. Under Planning. Just the opposite of over planning, under planning will have a similar unraveling affect. If you fail to have some type of plan in place, you end up wandering aimlessly into your day not quite sure where to start and what your end game should be. 
  1. Taking Your Electronics to Bed With You. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “A key factor in regulating sleep and your biological clock is exposure to light or to darkness, so falling asleep with lights on may not be the best thing for a good night’s sleep . Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake.” Too much light, right before bedtime may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, so keep those LED screens tucked away until the morning.
  1. Trying To Be Perfect. This is where I have problems and need to remind myself regularly that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It takes too much time and energy away from completing a task or project, and in the end makes us less efficient and less effective. You need to draw a line and decide when it’s time to call it complete and move on.

It’s difficult to try and break all bad habits at once; make a list and prioritize which ones you want to work on first and see how much more productive your day can be.

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for help in breaking your bad habits and getting some assistance along the way, give her a call today.


Gift Giving Ideas For Your Business

The holidays can be great and at the same time stressful. It’s a time of year that we give that extra thank you to those who have helped us in our business and personal lives, that we may have been too busy to stop and thank throughout the year. It doesn’t matter how big or small the gift is…it’s the time that someone took to express their gratitude that matters. Even the smallest budget can afford to send out a nice card.

Whether your budget allows you to send a card or a gift basket, now is the time to start thinking about getting everything together to avoid the frazzled, final-hour rush. If you already have a virtual assistant that you’re working with, the entire process can be outsourced. Once you offer some guidance on your budget and gift ideas you have in mind, you can turn this daunting task over and they can help you:

  1. Research gift ideas.
  2. Order your gifts.
  3. Hand-write cards for that personal touch.


Depending on how well you know your clients, below are some unique ideas if you have a smaller group of clientele:

Charitable Organizations

Do you have a client that’s involved in a particular charity, organization or foundation? Make a donation in their name or yours; the charity can send a letter on your behalf noting the contribution.

Gift Certificates

Have a client that’s an avid golfer? Purchase a gift certificate to their favorite local course, or one they’ve talked about wanting to visit. Do they love the Theater? Purchase a gift certificate to a local playhouse.

Wine or Beer Lover

Give them a membership that ships a different variety of wine or beer every month (this may not be available in all States). You can try The Original Craft Beer Club or Wine Of The Month Club. A gift certificate to a local brew house or winery where they can make their own beer or wine is also a unique idea…these are increasingly popular and can be found all over the country.

The Health Nut

Try out a subscription service to a healthy alternative to snacking. Graze is a popular site that offers 100’s of items you can choose from to be boxed and sent to your clients home or business.

Share What You Love

Do you use a service or have a subscription that you love and want to share? Whether you’re a music lover and offer a year subscription to Spotify or you love healthy cooking and use a service like HelloFresh, these are both unique ideas to give to that special client.

Promotional Products

If you have a larger client base you’re looking to send to, you can consider a useful promotional item. Some people think promo items are cheap or that they are a one-size-fits-all solution. In reality promo items can be that little extra you pair with something else for that special touch. You can also find an item that you think most people will find useful and purchase a higher-end version.

If you’re looking at putting together gift baskets, why not include a promo item that goes along with your theme? If it’s a useful, quality item it will get used and be appreciated. With the holidays fast approaching we wanted to share with you some of the hottest holiday gifts for clients we’ve found.

Chocolate – Everyone loves chocolate, your clients will appreciate you for it and your logo will be there to remind them who sent it.

Notepads – Stay in front of your clients with note pads, sticky notes and flags.

Stainless Steel Tumblers— Everyone loves a hot beverage. You can stay in front of clients all day with a tumbler, and they can be paired with gourmet hot chocolate packets, coffee pods or tea bags.

Wine Carrier – You can pair a nice wine carrier with your logo along with a bottle of wine or even sparkling apple cider. 

Mugs– Everyone loves a good mug and especially a good looking one. Just like the tumblers, these can also be paired with gourmet hot chocolate packets, coffee pods or even a gourmet instant soup.

The options are endless when you’re looking at promotional gift ideas. Whether you decide to be unique in your gift giving, offer promotional items or simply send a card, the thought that goes behind what you’re sending means more than the actual gift itself.

Taking care of your holiday gift giving needs is a great task to outsource that will have a positive impact on your business and personal life. 

Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants and also works with Elite Now Promotions. If you need help getting your holiday gift list and ideas together or need someone to help execute a plan for you, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005. She can also help you find the right promotional product for your business for the holiday season!