By Cindy Gordon

Does the time pass by so quickly you never feel like you’ve accomplished enough? Do you always feel behind the eight-ball with too many deadlines looming and not enough time to get them done? Is your business growth stagnant because you don’t have time to get to the important tasks that will move it forward? By incorporating these three steps into your daily habits you will become more productive and see your business grow.

Set your top priority for tomorrow
What makes a person productive is focus. It’s very easy to get caught in the weeds of your business and forget about the important tasks that will make the biggest difference to your business.

Stepping back to look at all the things that need to be done and taking time to ask yourself which the highest priorities are will enable you to start your day off working on the vital tasks, instead of allowing yourself to step into the tasks that are comfortable and easy.

Schedule time for emails and messages
Like Pavlov’s dog, we have been trained to react to the sound of a bell. Unfortunately, the bell is the chime of an incoming email. As soon as we hear the chime, we turn our attention away from the task at hand to fulfill our curiosity and our need to feel important. An email only takes a few minutes to deal with yet adding to that the time it takes to get refocused on your work can lead to 5 – 10 minutes of low productivity per email. Multiply that by the number of notifications you receive, and you could easily be losing hours of productive time a day. No wonder you always feel overwhelmed with work!

Keep your email software closed, and your phone on mute while you work. Schedule two or three breaks within your day to deal with emails and messages. This allows you to break from your tasks when it is convenient and stay focused and productive throughout the day.

Download a time tracking app
When you are in midst of work, you don’t realize where your time gets sucked up. Since downloading a time tracking app (I use RescueTime, but there are lots of others to choose from), I have been able to see how much time I spend in different programs and if I have too much idle time. The program runs in the background of your computer system and provides you with a weekly breakdown of your time. I never realized how much time my daily crossword puzzles took up. Once seeing the data, I was able to be more conscious about when I play games and what needs to get done first. This type of software is great to help employees be more productive, but I strongly suggest not to use it to spy on them. This can negatively effect their trust in you and commitment to your company.

These three easy steps are not only great ways to improve productivity, it’s also excellent for being more strategic and intentional in your business. Having your goals in mind will make planning your priorities more tactical to get the greatest return on your investment of time.

Cindy Gordon is the owner of Business Rescue Coaching, LLC, an executive coaching group that provides leadership and operational support to small business owners to gain more success with less stress. Business Rescue Coaching provides one-on-one coaching, Executive Peer Support groups and leadership workshops. To learn more visit: