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Strategies & Tools for More Productivity & Free Time

Tips for Early Stage Entrepreneurs

So you have finally taken the plunge of entrepreneurship and now you are thinking what to do next? Starting a new business is not easy and it gets even more difficult as the business grows. The initial period is the toughest where you have to set the foundation of your business in order to achieve your vision. If you do things right here, there are good chances that you will be able to succeed in your venture.

Here are a few important tips that can help you in the early stages of your startup life to keep things moving and staying on the right track.

1. Have a Good Business Plan

Startups needs funding, which is usually very difficult to get. No matter how good the idea sounds in your mind, until it doesn’t look good on paper there are high chances you won’t be able to bring in capital. Liana Flabiano suggests “a solid business plan is needed for lenders to evaluate and understand your financial projections. Your plan should address key items potential investors look for. Clearly state your market opportunity and address ways your business will manage its competitors.” Your business plan should also have projections and cash flow statements for at least 3 years so that the investors can easily asses the risks and returns that you are offering.

2. Monitor Your Performance (Success/Failure)

“Track, evaluate, act – this must be your mantra in business.”, says Chris Browne, Founder and Managing Director of Rising Tide Financial Services. This will help you to figure out what’s working for your business and what’s not. You can then stop doing what is not working for you and try other solutions. Make the use of tracking apps such as SurveyMonkey, HootSuite, Expensify etc., to save time and increase productivity.

3. Maintain Cash Flow

Understand that profitability and cash flow are two separate things. “Your startup is profitable but if you don’t have adequate cash flow for ongoing expenses, you are on your way to disaster” says snapmunk 

4. Be Your Company’s Best Sales Person

In his article Eric Woollard-White wrote “John Lewis advises early-stage entrepreneurs: Delegate what you can’t do and be your company’s best sales person.” Every entrepreneur needs to become the best sales person of his company. You need to sell your product/service rather than wasting time on tasks that someone else skilled to do the job can do better than you. Your one goal is to make your business survive and for that you need get your name out to your target market. If you don’t do it soon there are chances you won’t survive.


How to Maximize Time?

Did you know there are ways you could maximize your time? Successful people know how important it is to utilize their time effectively, therefore rather than managing time they are maximizing it. They truly believe that time is money and that is why they value their own time and the time of others.

Here are 4 tips that can help you in maximizing your time and getting more done:

1. Track Your Time, Do Personal Accountability

According to Jason Selk the first step is to commit to full accountability for the next 24 hours. No matter what comes up, follow through with every single thing you said you would do or had scheduled.  By doing this you will become more aware of your time and know exactly where it is going. You can then use the insights from this exercise to improve your schedule to make optimal use of your time.

2. Say NO to Social Media Apps

Among those who use social media, the average person spends 3.6 hours per day socializing online“, says Alicia Rades in her post for These means we tend to waste around a quarter of the time every day. Social Media apps are a big time waster and thus it is important to hide them from your mobile’s home screen and your computer browser. This is can help you in saving so much time which can be utilized for something more important.

3. Delegate

Your do not need to do everything yourself. You can free up so much time by figure out which tasks can be delegated. The idea is to hand over any tasks that someone else can do — particularly if they can do them faster or just as well as you. This can be applied in both your work and home environments. If you can’t afford to hire someone full time, you can hire a Virtual Assistant, which is affordable and efficient way to get things done.

4. Be predictable.

Urgencies disrupt your daily routine and delays all the tasks you planned for the day. This leads to stress and frustration. According to Jeff Boss, “The more predictability you can introduce into your schedule, the more opportunities you’ll be aware of where you can interject urgencies when they arise.



5 Must Have Time Management Apps

Living in the era of technology has no doubt made our lives easier, but at the same time it has brought on some challenges.

Everyone nowadays seem to be running out of time. People are busy working all day long and yet they are usually unable to finish their work or complain that they have too little time. With so many distractions around us, we tend to waste a lot of time on unimportant stuff leaving very little time to focus on priority task. So if you want to accomplish something, it is important that you manage your time in a better way.

Here are 5 apps that can keep you on track and enable you to spend your time effectively to achieve your targets:

1. Remember The Milk

According to Kristen O’Donovan, if you want to stop struggling to manage everything you have to do and you work with many different devices? This app is for you. Remember The Milk is a FREE app, compatible with mobile, computer, gmail, outlook, etc. It enables you to manage your tasks and stay on top of your schedule by giving you reminders no matter where you are.

2. Checklist Wrangler

Do you work with a lot of checklists? Then Checklist Wrangler is your new best friend. Eric Baxter puts a funny note about the app in his article saying “you can make lists ranging from house chores to checking the condition of a nuclear reactor, if you were so inclined.” explaining the variety of lists you can make.

3. LastPass (Password Manager)

Dan Cook recommends LastPass as the answer to all your password worries. It enables you to take all your passwords with you without having to worry about identify theft. It helps you save “hours of time spent fishing around for a forgotten password, and you can securely access this cloud-based service while traveling”

4. Rescue Time

Like tracking your calorie intake can help you keeping your weight in check, similarly RescueTime is an app for computer that lets you record how much time you spend on different tasks in real-time. It enables you to manage your time better by identifying where your time is going. You can also opt for the paid version of this app enabling you to slash digital distractions by automatically blocking certain websites for the amount of time you specify to help you focus on things that need to get done. [Next Avenue]

5. Any.Do

According to Rich Hein, Any.DO is like a task manager on steroids. It is an app that you can use for everyday. It has everything you need like cloud synchronization, speech recognition, reminders and alerts, Google Task Sync, ability add notes, and much more. Simple yet full of features.

7 Tips for Increasing Your Productivity

1. Plan Your Day

Matt Mayberry believes that planning your day the night before “is a total game changer.” Just spending 15 – 20 mins every night to create your to-do-list for the next day and setting tasks priority will give you a head start enabling you to achieve more in the same amount of time.


2. Stop Multi-Tasking

If you want to be more productive, stop multi-tasking. As Nancy Young puts it, the division of our attention has a negative impact on productivity, concentration and energy”. Therefore to be more productive one has to stop multi-tasking.


3. Minimize Distractions

As Niro Thambipillay points out in her article, you might be loosing upto an hour everyday just because of distractions like phone, email, instant messaging, status updates, sms etc., which means 10 hours or more than one whole day of lost productivity in a fortnight. Save this precious time by minimizing distractions as much as possible.


4. Use Productivity Tools

In his article, Emil Shour suggests to “Use tools to make your life easier and help you work more efficiently”. Tools like Evernote, Dropbox, Rescue time will help you in organizing your tasks better and increase productivity.


5. Set Deadlines for Important Tasks

According to John RamptonFor open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. This will help you keep on track and yield very positive results.


6. Utilize Your Prime Time Efficiently

Brian Tracy suggests that one way to increase productivity is to do the creative work during your internal prime time. Internal prime time is that time of the day when you are most productive. It is different for everyone. Identify the time times of the day in which you feel at your best and schedule all your high priority tasks during that time to get more things done quickly.


7. Stop Watching Too Much TV

“Americans spend around 34 hours per week watching TV, according to Nielsen”, says Amit Chowdry in his article for Not only does this affect your productivity but it also affects your health. This doesn’t mean that you should not watch TV at all; rather it would be better to put a limit on TV time and spend the time you save on more important things.

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Virtual Assistant

Time is the most precious thing for an entrepreneur. Therefore, tasks that hold them back from focusing on the important aspects of business are actually a waste of their time and bring down their productivity.

Successful entrepreneurs realize the importance of time and therefore don’t do everything themselves (especially the less important routine tasks). They identify the tasks that can be delegated and hire help in the form of administrative assistants or virtual assistants.

With the passage of time, more and more entrepreneurs are using the services of full time of part time virtual assistants because of the many benefits they provide. This enables them to save time, providing opportunity to focus on their business and enjoy their personal life.

Before hiring a VA one should know whether it is a requirement for them or not? Here are top 5 reasons why you should hire a virtual assistant:

1. You are Over Burdened with Administrative Tasks

In his article, Micheal Hyatt highlights that If you are stuck in administrative tasks, which are not letting you focus on the bigger picture, it is time that you hire a virtual assistant. This means less cost

2. Save Cost of Hiring Full Time Employee

Time Parker in his article explains how hiring a Virtual Assistant is cheaper than hiring a full time employee. You don’t have to pay any taxes, no office space is required, no utility bills etc.

3. Pay Only For the Time Spent on Your Work

With a virtual assistant you only need to pay for the time that is spent working on your project/tasks. According to Rita Catwright, if you do not require someone full time, rather than hiring a temporary employee from a staffing company, it is better to go for an on demand Virtual assistant.

4. You cannot do everything yourself

Every job requires a specific set of skills in order to be completed successfully. Everyone cannot do everything. Tasks like social media marketing, SEO, website management, etc. are perfect for being delegated to a virtual assistant with specialized skill set.

5. Your business is growing

Growing business means more workload. More workload mean more stress and less productivity. This would be a good time to hire some help to share your workload so that you can focus on things that adds more value to your business and life.

8 Tasks You Should Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

Are you feeling like you’re drowning in work? Is your to-do-list not getting done? Is your productivity at an all time low? Well maybe it is time you hired some help.

Usually the smaller, simpler tasks in our to-do list consume all our time and leave us little room to focus on bigger and more important things. These are the routine tasks that can be easily delegated to someone else. If you feel that your productivity and performance is being affected by such tasks, it is time that you hire a full time or on-demand virtual assistant that can take away the burden from your shoulders.

Here are 10 tasks that are perfect for being outsourced to a virtual assistant:

1. Set Up Appointments/Reservations

As a busy professional or entrepreneur, you might not have time to spend on booking appointments or making reservations. Assign this task to a virtual assistant. Provide details of what, where and when; and you are done.

2. Proof Reading & Editing

Self editing is sometimes not very reliable and also time consuming. A virtual assistant can be of great help for proofreading your content, finding errors and suggesting edits.

3. Find a Local Service

Finding a local service can be hectic since you would need to go through reviews and feedback in order to choose the best option. A virtual assistant can take care of this dreaded task for you and provide you the best options to choose from and also set up appointments on your behalf.

4. Personal & Business Research

In order to make important decisions in personal and professional life, time consuming research is required. You can get a virtual assistant to do the initial research for you and provide you with reports and presentations for you to move forward.

5. Manage To-Do-List

Your Virtual Assistant can be help you in staying on top of your to-do-list, give you reminders for important tasks and deadlines.

6. Get Quotes

Virtual Assistants can help you find the products and services you are looking for and get price quotes from them. They can also help you in doing price & features comparison.

7. Plan Events

Virtual Assistants can help you in planing your event from start to finish. They can find venue, get menu options and prices, caterers etc., and enable you to have the perfect event with little or no hassle.

8. Prepare Presentations

Your can provide notes and basic outline to a virtual assistant for preparing your power point presentations for you, while you work on other things.

6 Common Habits of Highly Productive People

Productivity is not something you can achieve overnight. It is a constant process of improving yourself that leads to being more productive than others. There are a lot of habits that decide whether we can be productive or not. Here are a few habits that are common in highly productive people.

1. Prioritize Correctly

Productive people don’t just prioritize their to-do-list, they prioritize correctly. They do not perform tasks on the basis of difficulty or time it would take; they figure out which tasks are more important and start with them. As Celestine Chua writes, “The first habit of productive people is to slice and dice everything that’s unimportant”. Productive people identify the high value tasks from the routine low value tasks and that is why they are able to achieve their goals.


2. Regular Sleeping Schedule

Most of the productive people have a consistent sleeping schedule. They go to bed and wake wake up at the same time everyday, whether weekdays or weekend. According to Paul Hudson “If you want to reduce stress and feel better overall, get some sleep and get sleep regularly at regular hours throughout the week“.


3. Taking Breaks

As pointed out by Louisa Kamps “People cycle from being alert to being fatigued about once every 90 minutes [Tony Schwartz]“. Therefore it is very important to take breaks strategically to maintain your energy level and being more productive. It is necessary to find time to step away from work and relax your mind and body to prevent burnout and stress.


4. No Multi-Tasking

According to Ilya Pozin in his article “Changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points“. Therefore Multi-Tasking is a big NO for all productive people. They focus on one task at a time whether it take 5 minutes or 5 hours. They make sure to complete the task at hand before moving on to something else.


5. Not focus on perfection all the time

Perfection is usually not a goal for productive people. They know the difference between idealism and realism and thus they know where to stop. As Kyle B. Hart quotes in his article “There will never be the perfect time to do a great thing“. Productive people understand this therefore perfection is not a goal for them.


6. Health Conscious

Productive people value their health. They take out time to workout whether it involves going to the gym, or walking from work to home. They know that physical activity is very important for keeping their mind and body sharp. As Joel Brown says in his article “physical activity releases endorphins (“feel good” hormones that can alleviate stress and keeps us happy throughout the day) it also helps us stay in tiptop shape, and contributes to good sleeping habits“.

photo credit: productivity via photopin (license)

5 Ways to Make the Most of a Virtual Personal Assistant

Personal assistants are not just for business people. Yes you read that right. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. No one is an expert at everything. And you only have 24 hours in one day.

Whether you are a working mom, a busy professional, a traveler or an entrepreneur, you can take advantage of using an on demand personal assistant once in a while. Wondering how? Here are 5 simple tasks that everyone can delegate to an on demand personal assistants to save time:

1. Call Customer Service

Calling customer service is a task that everyone dreads because of the painfully long hold-time. Most people just give up as sometimes you might have to hold for up to an hour. This is a task you should definitely delegate to an on demand personal assistant. Just give them the details of your problem and the rest will be history. Not only will they call customer services for you but they will also follow up on email and calls with them until they get a suitable solution for your problem.

2. Schedule an Appointment

Need to book an appointment at your favorite Salon or book a session with your Dentist. Take off this low priority task from your list and focus on bigger things in life. An on demand personal assistant can easily get this done for you and also send you a calendar reminder to make sure you don’t forget.

3. Find Local Services

Looking for a good gardener in your vicinity? Or need to get your window glass repaired? Or maybe you cracked your iPhone screen and need to get it fixed same day. It is a simple task but it might take up a lot of time which you can spend on something more important. So leave this tedious task of research to an on demand personal assistant and just enjoy the results.

4. Planning an Event

Whether it is a small birthday party or a large wedding, planning everything requires so much research and time in order to execute the perfect event. Doing it alone may seem terrifying and can bring on a lot of stress. Getting help from an on demand personal assistant can not only make planning your event easier, but will also take out the element of stress while maintaining the level of excitement.

5. Find Products

Do you need to find a costume for a party you are planning to go to? Or are you looking for a product online that you can get delivered to your home? Or may be you need to get price comparison done before you buy the new furniture for your house? Well these are all the tasks that an on demand personal assistant can easily take care of. All you need to do is provide them with your requirements and they will provide a number of options to choose from.

Wow, wasn’t that easy. If someone else can do it, delegate it. Time is precious. Save it, to spend it on more important things.


Are you an Entrepreneur?

Being your own boss may sound very exciting and you may have  thought at least once in your life to quit your job and joined the much hyped Entrepreneur boat. From a distance it may seem very easy that you will become the next big shot; but before you take a plunge into the Entrepreneurship waters here are are few questions you need to ask yourself in order to figure out whether you are cut out to be an entrepreneur or not?

  • Are you creative?
  • Are you self-confident?
  • Are you Passionate about your business/idea?
  • Are you a Risk taker?
  • Are you are Do-er?
  • Are you tired of Status-Quo?
  • Are you finding it difficult to Fit in?
  • Are you willing to accept Failure?
  • Are you a fighter?
  • Are you motivated by challenges?

If the answer to all or most of above questions is YES there is a high chance that you a more likely to be an entrepreneur than a 9-5 kind of a person.

Entrepreneurs are full of self-confidence. They are creative and think of solutions to the problems around them. They are passionate about their ideas and business and are willing to take financial and personal risks for it.

Entrepreneurs don’t just say they want to be entrepreneurs, they take action on it. They give their 100% to become successful. They are usually introverts or loners but at the same time they are also a people person and have no problem interacting with others.

Entrepreneurs do not like status-quo much. They are always looking to improve things and make them work more efficiently and smoothly rather than following rules blindly.

Most of all, an Entrepreneur is a fighter and doesn’t fear failure. They put their all into what they believe in, but if they fail, they accept it and move on to another idea. Entrepreneurs love challenges. It makes them work harder towards achieving their goals.

Still confused? Here are a few great free online tests that can help you figure out where you stand in terms for aptitude for being an Entrepreneur:



5 Habits That Are Killing Your Productivity

Do you ever wonder why some people are like Superman when it comes to being productive? Have you been trying to increase your productivity level lately but don’t seem to be doing too well in achieving that goal? You might not have noticed but some of your daily habits are to blame for killing your productivity slowly, day by day.

Here are five of the most common deadly daily habits that you need to get rid of today for becoming more productive:


NATALY KOGAN explains in her article Why multitasking is killing your productivity?, how multi-tasking leads us to become less productive rather than being able to achieve more in a given amount of time. According to her switching away from one task to another increases the time it will take us to finish the primary activity by 25 percent.

Cell Phones

Cell Phones have become a constant source of distraction. Not only do calls and text messages divert our attention from the tasks at hand, but most of us also have apps like Facebook, twitter, email etc. installed on our phone which adds to the incoming notification causing loss of focus. So, if you want to get the things on your to-do list done on time, you should put your phone on mute or even better as JONATHAN LONG suggests turn off your phone or set it to airplane mode while you work.

Checking Email Constantly

Every email is not urgent and you do not need to reply to each email immediately. Checking and responding to emails every now and then is making you loose important time that you can spend on completing other priority tasks. According to SUJAN PATEL’s article checking email too frequently has been linked to lower memory function, anxiety, depression and lower performance. To be more productive it is better to allocate certain time for checking and responding to emails. This way you can avoid your inbox taking over your whole work schedule leaving no room to focus on other important stuff.

Using the Wrong Tools

Using the wrong productivity tools or constantly jumping from one tool to another may also lead to lowering productivity. Find the tool that works for you rather than what works for others. Don’t use too many productivity apps, try out a few basic ones and if they don’t fit your needs remove these and find another. Integrate your tools so that you can take complete advantage of them rather than moving back and forth from one to another and wasting time as a result.

Never Saying “No”

“Saying “No” is not a bad thing, but saying “Yes” to everything is a big productivity killer. As DAVID puts it in his article Saying “no” means you have time to focus on your own needs, rather than constantly serving other people. So the next time you say “Yes” to something be sure to evaluate how it will affect your work schedule and if you can actually make time for it, how important is that task and whether it will take you closer to achieving your goals or not.

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