Increase your productivity and make the most from 2017 with our top eight tips – part two

Make the most from 2017

In our last blog we reviewed the first four of eight top tips for increasing your productivity this New Year. From making the use of early morning peace and quiet to brain superfoods, we covered some fantastic ways in which you can make small changes that will have a positive effect on your productivity.

 

In this blog we take a look at the remaining four top tips, on how to win at your contracting productivity in 2017.

 

5. Task management

What do you need to achieve this week and today? Each week create three lists:

 

  • What needs to be done this week?
  • Which days do each task need to be completed by?
  • At which point in each day do the tasks need to be completed?

 

Not only will you structure each day to ensure maximum productivity, it’ll also keep you focused on the task at hand. You could take this a step further, by sharing your weekly plan with your client.  They will then know when to expect updates and completed work from you. It’s a win for both you and them!

 

6. Switch off sometimes 

How many times has a bolt of inspirational lightening hit you, right when you’re in the middle of completing the most mundane task?

 

By letting your mind rest and switch off from your day-to-day hustle and bustle, you’ll allow yourself to develop potential business ideas and areas for growth and development. Just make sure you have a pen and paper to hand!

 

7. Healthy body, healthy mind

The two are certainly connected, so ensure you look after your body just as much as you do your mind. The three ways to achieve this are:

 

Sleep – get the recommended seven to nine hours a night to ensure optimal functionality the following day.

Eat – you are what you eat, so ensure you put in what you want to get out.

Exercise – whether it’s 20 minutes of pilates, a short jog or even a class at your local sports centre, whatever you enjoy doing ensure you get moving.

 

8. It’s ok to say ‘no’

If you’re used to saying yes to everyone and everything, this can be a tough tip to master. Your professional working day is just that, yours, so ensure you don’t make room for anyone else during those hours where you need to focus.

 

Every task you let slip into your working day must take the place of one you’ve already allocated time to, so ensure you leave it until your ‘to-do’ list for that day is completed.

 

The same can be said for accepting every contract offer that comes your way, especially when you’re just starting out. Ask yourself which contracts and clients will help you achieve your professional goals (whatever these may be) the quickest, and then focus on those. Remember though to stay in touch with those you don’t accept straight away, as you never know when you may need them, or the opportunities they could go on to offer.

 

Take the Intouch New Year challenge!

How many of our top eight tips can you adopt into your new working year? Why not keep a rough record of how much time you save and let us know? We’d love to hear how much time you’ve been able to give to your own personal pursuits and whether they’ve helped you stay focused on the task at hand.

 

This January we’ve also created five nifty Contractor specific New Year’s Resolutions, to help you start your year off on the right foot. Check them out today and see how you could make the most from your contracting or freelancing career this New Year.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Be honest, which of these 5 bad contractor habits are YOU guilty of?!

Which are YOU guilty of?!

For some contractors it’s easy to fall into bad habits, as working independently can mean focusing on the job in hand and putting your well being second. Here we share five of the worst contractor habits, with some ideas for how to break them…

 

1  Working 24/7

This habit harms you (you become exhausted and stressed), your client (you don’t do your best work and/or it’s late) and your professional reputation (others hear you’re not reliable).

 

Set your working hours and stick to them. Minimising distractions means you get more work done in less time and as we all know, time is money!

 

Prioritise your work/life balance and take some “me time”.

 

2  Undervaluing yourself

It can be difficult to decide what to charge, but avoid the pitfall of charging too little.

 

Usually when something is priced too good to be true, it often is. So why should this be any different for the amount you charge? If you quote below market price for a project, clients could suspect there’s something wrong.

 

Check to see how much similarly skilled contractors charge, so you know that you’re on par with the industry average. That way, you’re not going too far either way off the richter scale.

 

3  Not planning ahead

Avoid a “feast or famine” situation by keeping a detailed schedule of all your projects so it’s easy to see where there may be a conflict or, conversely, a gap which you could fill.

 

A steady stream of contracting jobs is essential to keeping the flow of money coming in, so ensure you plan ahead.

 

4  Not being able to say ‘no’

If you keep a work schedule as described above, you’ll know immediately if you’ll have time to accept a particular contract. Don’t be tempted to take it if time is short.

 

It’s even more vital you learn to say ‘no’ if you feel your skills and experience leave you ill-equipped to actually do the work. A challenge is one thing, but accepting a contract you’re unable to complete amounts to professional suicide.

 

5  Sitting at your desk for too long

It’s tempting to keep working for hours but you won’t be doing yourself any favours. You’ll lose concentration and sometimes leaving a piece of work and returning to it can give you a fresh perspective.

 

Take a quick break every couple of hours or so. Why not go for a walk, listen to some music or meet up with a friend for a coffee? It will do both you and your contract the world of good.

 

If you’ve fallen into any of these habits don’t despair, as breaking them just takes a little effort and will undoubtedly help your business.

 

Have you succeeded in breaking a bad contracting habit? Why not leave us a comment on our facebook or twitter pages.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.