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10 Steps To Transform Yourself From An Employee To A Boss

10 Steps To Transform Yourself From An Employee To A Boss

Becoming your own boss is a major shift in responsibility. For the first time, your income will be directly linked to your results. Fortunately, many people have made the transition before you. You can learn from their experience. The following 10 steps will smooth the path to business greatness.

1. Prepare For The Learning Curve

Managing yourself in your own business presents a dramatic challenge, quite unlike anything you do as an individual. In order to transform yourself into an effective boss, be prepared to learn. That means adopting a beginner’s mindset. Take note of comments from your customers, as well as those who decline to buy from you.

Action Step: Carry a notebook with you to every meeting so that you don’t lose any valuable insights.

Resource: To navigate through a challenging career change read “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful!” by Marshall Goldsmith.

2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Management achievement starts with self understanding. Knowing yourself for leadership growth is a key way to set yourself apart from other people. How do you get to know yourself better? You can use reflection tools such as the 5 Minute Journal. There is also value in using personality assessment tools such as the DISC Profile.

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To go deep with your strengths, use the Strengths Finder assessment (and read the book: “StrengthsFinder 2.0″ by Tim Rath).

Action Step: Complete a personality profile such as DISC to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

3. Become A Master of Meetings

Meetings are a key professional tool that successful managers use to accomplish work and make important decisions. If you are still complaining about meetings, it is time to improve. Top managers show mastery of effective meeting habits, such as following a written agenda and keeping a meeting focused.

Action Step: Review the meetings you regularly attend and make note of which one is most effective? Visit the person who runs that meeting and ask them for advice on how to run effective meetings.

4. Talk To Three People Who Run Companies In Your Niche

There is no replacement for the advice and insight of successful entrepreneurs in your own industry. For example, if you are planning to open a fitness company, there are many questions you ask before you start. You could; for example, ask successful people how they obtained customers in their first year of operations. In addition, ask what expenses are truly necessary to get started. The answer may be less than you imagine.

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Action Step: Use Linkedin Advanced Search and contact three successful entrepreneurs in your industry. Ask them to lunch. Come prepared with a list of questions!

5. Focus on Sales, Not Business Cards

Starting a business is exciting! The excitement and the potential for significant income are some of the reasons you may feel drawn to start a business. In order for your business idea to succeed, you must spend serious time and attention on sales. Resist the urge to spend a lot of money on business cards, office supplies and other expenses. Sales needs to be the top priority.

Action Step: Experiment with different sales and marketing ideas (e.g. cold calling or online marketing) until you start to find success.

6. Open A Business Bank Account

Managing money effectively is important to growing your business. To avoid tax problems, open a business bank account so that your business expenses and revenues are kept apart from your personal money. Many banks and credit unions offer low cost business checking accounts to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Action Step: Open a business checking account at your local financial institution.

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7. Create A Business Structure (e.g. The Legal Stuff)

As you work to obtain your first few customers, you may decide to operate as a sole proprietorship. That business structure has the advantage of needing little or no paperwork to establish, depending on your country’s requirements. If you expect to face significant risk or liability, you may wish to consult an attorney or lawyer for further advice.

Action Step: Request a meeting with a business lawyer to seek advice on what business structure to use.

8. Build Your Business On The Side

Building a successful company takes years of steady work and learning from your mistakes. That’s why many people build their companies during the evenings and weekends, while they keep a regular day job to pay the bills. Taking this approach also gives you the flexibility to try several business ideas and target markets.

Action Step: Set a goal for how many hours per week (e.g. 10-20 hours per week) you will work on your “side business” to grow it.

9. Build A Six Month Emergency Fund Before You Quit Your Job

Becoming your own boss is exciting! Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of leaving their day jobs behind before thinking through their financial needs. To give yourself peace of mind, set up a seperate bank account where you save the equivalent of six months of expenses. For example, if your monthly living expenses are $2000, then a six month emergency fund would require $12,000.

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Tip: If you’re not sure where to find extra cash for your emergency fund try reading: Spring Cleaning Your Finances to Find Hidden Money.

Action Step: Open a high interest savings account and start adding money to your emergency fund.

10. Hire Staff Very Slowly

Hiring your first employee is a major step in the growth of a new business. However, a bad hiring decision has the potential to damage your business and waste a great deal of your time. Delay hiring your first team member until it is absolutely required.

Action Step: Look into hiring a virtual assistant to help you grow your business.

Featured photo credit: Businessman/Unsplash via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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