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25 Killer Sites For Free Online Business Courses

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Business Courses

What would you do with an MBA from Harvard or a certification in internet marketing? As tuition costs rise and it becomes increasingly difficult for high school graduates to attend 4 year colleges and universities, talented and skilled graduates are looking for alternatives to earning a bachelors degree. With the rise of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and ecommerce websites, education is becoming more accessible and affordable for those looking for an alternate path.

Ready for the cherry on top? You can take top courses from universities like Harvard and Yale and you don’t have to pay a penny.

Here are 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Business Courses:

1) High-Impact Business Writing

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    What’s in it for you?

    “Effective writing is a powerful tool in the business environment. Learn how to articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner that will allow your ideas to be better understood by your readers. Improve your business writing skill by learning to select and use appropriate formats for your audience, use the correct medium and adjust your writing style accordingly, as well as identify your objective and communicate it clearly. You’ll also learn to spot, correct and avoid the most common writing pitfalls, and gain valuable experience analyzing, writing and revising a wide spectrum of business documents. From a simple interoffice memo to a twenty-page business proposal, learn how to put good business writing to work for you.”

    Course Duration: 4 weeks, Class begins on April 6, 2015

    Provider: Coursera 

    Link to course: High-Impact Business Writing

    2) Design Thinking for Business Innovation

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      What’s in it for you?

      “Design thinking is a popular new idea in the business world – organizations as diverse as entrepreneurial start-ups, big established corporations, and government and social service organizations are experimenting with design thinking as an alternative approach to traditional problem-solving. Accelerated by the spectacular rise of Apple and IDEO, design thinking is seen as offering a new approach better suited for dealing with the accelerating pressures for growth and innovation faced by so many organizations today. But design thinking can remain mysterious for people interested in introducing this approach into their decision-making processes. Demystifying it is the focus of this course.”

      Course Duration: 4 weeks, Class begins on Feb. 15, 2015

      Provider: Coursera

      Link to course: Design Thinking for Business Innovation

      3) Launch a No Fail Business Model

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        What’s in it for you?

        You will learn to define the why of your business, how to model success, and create your “Frakenbiz” (your class project). The course is taught by Joe Fairless.

        Course Duration: 43 minutes, open enrollment

        Provider: Skillshare

        Link to course: Launch a No Fail Business Model

        4) Business Development For Startups and Tech Companies

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          What’s in it for you?

          Companies explode when they crack the code to business development. The challenge is only a very small percentage of people actually know what they’re doing when it comes to achieving massive, scalable growth through the business development. This course was created to change that and has only been available amongst a private, group of elite Business Development professionals until now… By the end of this training you will be armed with breakout business development cunning and an arsenal of proven tactics for every situation you’ll face. This course is taught by Scott Britton.

          Course Duration: 9 hours and 28 minutes, open enrollment

          Provider: Skillshare

          Link to course: Business Development For Startups and Tech Companies

          5) WordPress Essentials for Business

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            What’s in it for you?

            “The course covers almost all of the WordPress user interface. We learn by doing as we build out an actual website for a client of ours, explaining and demonstrating key concepts along the way, such as themes, plugins, widgets, images, etc. Students should download the project files from http://wpacademy.com/essentials and then follow the tutorial on their own website, repeating the keystrokes and mouse sequences as they build out their own site. You can expect to walk away from this training with an attractive website and a solid understanding of WordPress fundamentals.” This course is taught by Marc Beneteau.

            Course Duration: 90 minutes, open enrollment

            Provider: Udemy

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            Link to course: WordPress Essentials for Business

            6) Beginning Twitter for Professionals Course

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              What’s in it for you?

              “OpenSesame’s Kelly Meeker has created a step-by-step informational online training course to help you get started in all things Twitter. The course includes a tour of the Twitter interface, tips on creating great tweets and suggestions for building a strong Twitter network. After you complete this course you should have a better understanding as to how you can use the basics of Twitter for professional purposes and to better your business.”

              Course Duration: 7 minutes

              Provider: OpenSesame

              Link to course: Beginning Twitter for Professionals Course

              7) How to Build a Startup

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                What’s in it for you?

                “In an introduction to the basics of the famous Customer Development Process, Steve Blank provides insight into the key steps needed to build a successful startup. The main idea in this course is learning how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering massive amounts of customer and marketplace feedback. Many start-ups fail by not validating their ideas early on with real-life customers. In order to mitigate that, students will learn how to get out of the building and search for the real pain points and unmet needs of customers. Only with these can the entrepreneur find a proper solution and establish a suitable business model.”

                Course Duration: 4 weeks, open enrollment

                Provider: Udacity

                Link to course: How to Build a Startup

                8) Website Performance Optimization

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                  What’s in it for you?

                  “From Ilya Grigorik’s High Performance Browser Networking: ‘The emergence and the fast growth of the web performance optimization (WPO) industry within the past few years is a telltale sign of the growing importance and demand for speed and faster user experiences by the users. And this is not simply a psychological need for speed in our ever accelerating and connected world, but a requirement driven by empirical results, as measured with respect to the bottom-line performance of the many online businesses: faster sites lead to better user engagement, faster sites lead to better user retention, faster sites lead to higher conversions. Simply put, speed is a feature.’”

                  Course Duration: 1 week, open enrollment

                  Provider: Udacity, powered by Google

                  Link to course: Website Performance Optimization

                  9) Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer?

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                    What’s in it for you?

                    “You will learn, through the stories of MIT entrepreneurs, how to go from idea or technology to the necessary understanding of who and why will want to buy your product.  Specifically, you will learn how to identify prospective customers, interview them, and finally, select the right customers for your business. Course assignments will be real-life exercises that will guide you through a series of concrete, practical, and effective steps that will help you make your idea very real.”

                    Course Duration: 12 weeks, Class begins on December 2, 2014

                    Provider: edX

                    Link to course: Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer?

                    10) An Introduction to Credit Risk Management

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                      What’s in it for you?

                      “This course offers you an introduction to credit risk modelling and hedging. We will approach credit risk from the point of view of banks, but most of the tools and models we will overview can be beneficial at the corporate level as well. At the end of the course, you will be able to understand and correctly use the basic tools of credit risk management, both from a theoretical and, most of all, a practical point of view. This will be a quite unconventional course. For each methodology, we will analyse its strengths as well as its weaknesses. We will do this in a rigorous way, but also with fun: there is no need to be boring.”

                      Course Duration: 8 weeks, class begins in April 2015

                      Provider: edX

                      Link to course: An Introduction to Credit Risk Management

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                      11) Engaging with Innovation Ecosystems: The Corporate Perspective

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                        What’s in it for you?

                        “This course is aimed at corporate executives and senior managers who need to generate new growth opportunities from external innovation by engaging with “innovation ecosystems” around the world. We will show how to assess the relevance of and design various types of programs that corporations can implement to engage with their innovation ecosystem: prize competitions, hackathons, accelerators, commercialization programs etc., taking a series of deep dives into how leading corporations have used these programs internally and externally to drive growth. This course draws heavily on the findings of MIT’s groundbreaking and unique Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), which brings together cities, regions and countries to study and learn from MIT research and from each other how to create and grow a successful innovation-based regional economy.”

                        Course Duration: Class starts in July 2015, open enrollment

                        Provider: edX

                        Link to course: Engaging with Innovation Ecosystems: The Corporate Perspective

                        12) 21 Days to Building a Web Business

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                          What’s in it for you?

                          “21 Steps To Building A Web Business is ALISON’S free online course covering the skills and techniques needed to create a successful online business. Chris Farrell, voted Number 1 Internet Marketing Service Provider, describes the process of developing an online business in a non-technical and step-by-step manner. The course is ideal for those who’ve always wanted to create an online business but lack the skills or knowledge to do so.”

                          Course Duration: 21 days, open enrollment.

                          Provider: Alison

                          Link to course: 21 Days to Building a Web Business

                          13) Diploma in Business Management & Entrepreneurship

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                            What’s in it for you?

                            “This free online Diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship course gives you the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices behind key business management subjects. Subjects include corporate management, operations management, accounting, human resources, financial accounting, and project management as well providing insight on key entrepreneurial skills from Bill Liao, co-founder of the social networking site XING.com. This Diploma course is ideal for those who want to further their knowledge and understanding of business management and entrepreneurship, and will greatly enhance your career prospects.”

                            Course Duration: Open enrollment, self paced.

                            Provider: Alison

                            Link to course: Diploma in Business Management & Entrepreneurship

                            14) Fundamentals of Business Law

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                              What’s in it for you?

                              “This course reviews important principles found in business law. These principles include details on sole proprietorship, general partnerships, limited partnerships and incorporations. This course explains principles of business law in a clear and easy to understand way. The course also covers topics such as legal requirements, legal recommendations, financial status, taxation, and liability related to these principles. This free online course will be of interest to business professionals and students of law who would like a greater knowledge and understanding of laws relating to business and commerce.”

                              Course Duration: Open enrollment, self paced.

                              Provider: Alison

                              Link to course: Fundamentals of Business Law

                              15) Diploma in Business Process Management

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                                What’s in it for you?

                                Major advances in technology have resulted in the widespread implementation of information systems into businesses and organisations. The management of processes and data is critical to the overall success of a business. This free online Diploma course introduces the learner to business processes and their management. The course will explain business intelligence and knowledge management systems, systems analysis, systems design and systems implementation. This course will also give learners a basic knowledge and understanding of how to design, test and implement information systems for a business process. This Diploma course will be of great interest to business professionals, as well as any learner wanting to expand their knowledge and understanding of business process management.

                                Course Duration: Open enrollment, self paced.

                                Provider: Alison

                                Link to course: Diploma in Business Process Management

                                16) Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship: Pitching Your Business and Yourself

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                                  What’s in it for you?

                                  Find out what makes a great entrepreneur from Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran.

                                  Course Duration: 42 minutes

                                  Provider: Skillshare

                                  Link to course: Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship: Pitching Your Business and Yourself

                                  17) Pinterest for Business: How to Get More Traffic and Sales with Pinterest

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                                    What’s in it for you?

                                    “By now you’ve probably hear of Pinterest and all the success online businesses are having with it. You’ve probably heard about how it drives massive traffic. How businesses are using Pinterest to generate massive online sales. How businesses are leveraging Pinterest to better serve their current customers. You want to have that massive success with Pinterest too! The problem is, you don’t know where to start.. Or, maybe you’ve played around with Pinterest and still don’t see what the fuss is about. This course is your step-by-step guide to Pinterest success. No matter your current experience with Pinterest, this course will unlock the secrets of Pinterest and who you how to leverage it for your business.”

                                    Course Duration: 3 hours and 24 minutes, self paced, open enrollment

                                    Provider: Skillshare

                                    Link to course: Pinterest for Business: How to Get More Traffic and Sales with Pinterest

                                    18) Beginning Facebook for Business

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                                      What’s in it for you?

                                      “With over one billion users, Facebook has come to the forefront in popular social media applications. Now more than ever, businesses and companies are using Facebook as a platform to display essential updates and messages for their target audience. Max DuBowy, a content specialist at OpenSesame, has created a beginning course for businesses to maximize their marketing strategy and approach using Facebook. This course provides businesses with simple and easy to understand Facebook functions and tools. Getting started on Facebook and creating a page is compelling because its free. If your business is struggling to remain in the presence of your audience, try incorporating a Facebook page to approach your target audience. Use the specific applications and tips covered in this course and your business will be visible to Facebook users around the world.”

                                      Course Duration: 10 minutes

                                      Provider: OpenSesame

                                      Link to course: Beginning Facebook for Business

                                      19) Foundations of Business Strategy

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                                        What’s in it for you?

                                        “Strategic analysis is critical for analyzing the competitive context in which an organization operates and for making reasoned and reasonable recommendations for how that organization should position itself and what actions it should take to maximize value creation. In this course, we will explore the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy. Managers, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, analysts, and consultants all may find value in mastering these fundamentals.”

                                        Course Duration: 6 hours, self paced

                                        Provider: Udemy

                                        Link to course: Foundations of Business Strategy

                                        20) University of The People, Business Administration

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                                          What’s in it for you?

                                          “The Business Administration Program offers broad exposure to business administration and economics. Behavioral and quantitative sciences are studied in both theoretical and applied contexts. Mathematics is used as a key tool in the analysis of complex problems and in the interpretation of data. Emphasis is placed on effective written communication. Students are made aware of the need for imaginative, innovative solutions to business problems that encompass human needs and ethical objectives.”

                                          Course Duration: Open enrollment, must apply to be accepted into the Business Administration Program. The application is on the University of The People’s website.

                                          Provider: University of The People

                                          Link to course: University of The People, Business Administration

                                          21) Building a Business

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                                            What’s in it for you?

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                                            “Building a Business is a lecture series designed to teach the fundamentals of developing a business. Each lecture provides practical information and examples to identify key aspects of successful entrepreneurship. These ppodcasts are the lecture video recordings registered at the Said Business School in Oxford, United Kingdom.”

                                            Course Duration: 27+ hours worth of lectures, open enrollment. Self paced.

                                            Provider: University of Oxford, iTunes University.

                                            Link to course: Building a Business

                                            22) Corporate Finance

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                                              What’s in it for you?

                                              “In my (biased) view, Corporate finance is the ultimate big picture class. It lays out the financial principles that govern how businesses, small or large, public or private, should make choices (and decisions). In particular, it looks at how businesses should allocate scarce resources (the investment decision), where they should raise the funds to makes these investments (the financing decision) and how much cash to leave in (and take out of) businesses (the dividend decision). This class focuses on the big picture, while paying attention to the details that matter, and is designed to be an introductory class for MBAs. Anyone who has had exposure to accounting and basic statistics will be be access and use the material.”

                                              Course Duration: 30+ hours worth of lectures, open enrollment. Self paced.

                                              Provider: New York University on iTunes, open enrollment.

                                              Link to course: Corporate Finance

                                              23) How to Develop Breakthrough Products and Services

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                                                What’s in it for you?

                                                This course has 4 lectures delivered by professor Eric von Hippel.

                                                Course Duration: 4+ hours worth of lectures, open enrollment. Self Paced.

                                                Provider: MIT Open Courseware on iTunes

                                                Link to course: How to Develop Breakthrough Products and Services

                                                24) Valuation (Online Class)

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                                                  What’s in it for you?

                                                  “Valuation is a key tool in almost every aspect of finance – corporate finance, investing and portfolio management. Understanding it is essential to not just bankers, analysts and appraisers, but the rest of us who get to see the products and are sometimes are targets of their work. This is an entirely online version of my MBA valuation class that is designed for someone who wants to understand the valuation process and its inputs, but does not have the time nor the inclination to sit through 80-minutes sessions. It is constructed in three parts, with the first a series of short webcasts on the concepts that underlie valuation, the second a collection of in-practice webcasts on the mechanics of putting the concepts into use and the third an ongoing series of my valuations of companies.”

                                                  Course Duration: 4+ hours worth of lectures, open enrollment. Self paced.

                                                  Provider: New York University on iTunes

                                                  Link to course: Valuation (Online Class)

                                                  25) Writing for Strategic Communication

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                                                    What’s in it for you?

                                                    “Writing for Strategic Communication is part of La Trobe University’s Bachelor of Strategic Communication degree. It is about writing strategically as a specialist vocation but is equally applicable to developing written strategic communication skills to use in organisational life, irrespective of your job role. From tweeting to speechwriting, it provides an overview of various forms of professional writing including writing for traditional media and writing for web and social media. Students are encouraged to explore the concept of ‘great writing’ as a construct for understanding the power of words and developing their own writing skills.”

                                                    Course Duration: 4+ hours worth of lectures, open enrollment. Self-paced.

                                                    Provider: La Trobe University on iTunes

                                                    Link to course: Design Thinking for Business Innovation

                                                    Photo credits:

                                                    Bailey Hall

                                                      Featured photo credit: blmiers2, owner Bailey Hall via flickr.com

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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

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