Entrepreneur’s Need Down Time Too

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Entrepreneur’s work hard, indeed they sometimes work so hard they end up living their lives for their business rather than for themselves and it’s important they get some down time.

Today, we are so digitally connected that it’s hard to switch off from checking our emails and social media notifications, even when we should be relaxing for the night or doing something fun with our friends or family. Indeed, the idea that once upon a time when people used the expression “chained to their desk”, nowadays, it’s more that they’re glued to their devices.

There is so much fun and happiness to be squeezed out of life, yet for some of us, we simply don’t seem to be able to find the time to fully switch off, disconnect and enjoy our lives – it’s like we’ve stopped making time for fun and instead we’re on a constant treadmill that is often referred to as the rat race; yet just ten years ago that race was confined to working hours, but now, the boundaries are being blurred and several people are going to bed with their work laptop, writing emails at midnight to be sent first thing in the morning.

The truth is, we need to make time for fun stuff; whether this is involves you cutting off from the world with a good book or getting so into a computer game you end up finding yourself engrossed in a guide for Final Fantasy XV each night before bed. Whatever it is for you, it’s vitally important you find the time to detach from work and have some down time.

That said, we can all benefit from time management hacks as sometimes when we are trying to relax and unwind, our minds are still focused on work because we didn’t get everything done we need to. It’s important to work when you work and rest when you rest; meaning if you are sitting down to work – ensure you have a singular laser like focus on the task at hand in a distraction free environment.

Today, particularly when working from home, people multitask by working with their laptop on their lap whilst having the TV on in the background, or even dropping in and out of a conversation with their spouse. By fully working when you work, you can reduce the amount of time you are needing to work – and you’ll get the added benefit of being able to fully rest when you rest.

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule encourages us to focus on the tasks that are going to have the greatest impact and get these done first. Often, we can get lost in the small tasks that create a lot of “busyness” and detract from the time we need to manage our “business” – be that in a commercial or personal context.

The best way to determine what your most valuable tasks are, is to write out a list of all your tasks for the day, week, or month and then determine which tasks are going to create the greatest impact; then make sure you focused on these tasks above all else.

In summary, it’s important to find the time to unwind; even the fittest of athletes needs some downtime between competitions, and you’re no different.

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Safety First: How To Make Your Customers Feel Secure

Online threats and cybercrime have received increasing amounts of coverage in the news and media in recent years. With customers more wary about their personal data than ever before, as a business owner, you need to take steps to make them feel as secure as possible when they are buying through your website. There are many customers out there who will run away and use a more trusted site at the first sign of trouble. So, here are five of the top ways of making your customers feel more secure.

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Security Certifications

The little padlock that comes before a website address can go a long way towards making your customers feel more safe and secure in handing over their personal details. The technical name for this security feature is a Secure Sockets Layer. As well as the little lock in the address bar, other browsers use visual clues such as colored icons and visual cues to indicate whether or not the customer is in a secure part of the website.

Authentication Layers

Even if customers forget some of the information that they have handed over to your website (their username, password etc), you want to reassure them that it is safe. So, you should put in place a system in which customers have to request an email if they want to reset their personal information. There plenty of software items out there which help to provide a safe and secure customer experience. Even though this may be a little frustrating at the time, customers can be reassured that you are taking their security seriously.

PCI Compliance

Before you can accept credit cards on your ecommerce site, they have to pass a certain amount of Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance testing. So, if your website accepts credit and debit cards, you need to comply with the PCI Data Security Standard. You can also reassure customers with the information that you are are following all expected standards.

Avoid Redirects

When a buyer leaves your website and is redirected to a third-party site, an instant red flag appears warning them of this fact. This may be enough to put many customers off from continuing any further. So, if it is at all possible, you should avoid redirects entirely and keep customers on your website to complete their purchases.

Multiple Payment Options

Not all customers want to pay with a credit or debit card every time, so you should think about offering them some alternatives so that they can hand over their cash in the way that they would like. Obviously, you don’t want to go overboard with payment options to the point that it becomes inconvenient, but you should also look to cater to customers who want to hand over their money through other means.

Making your customers feel more secure when they are handing over their money should be one of your utmost priorities, and these are just a few of the best ways of achieving this.

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Are You the Right Fit for Self-Employment?

How many times have you thought about self-employment? The ability to work on your own terms and be your own boss could be enticing, but there are plenty of reality checks along the way and it’s important that you realize it’s not as simple or straightforward as it sounds. Self-employment comes with plenty of challenges, and we’re going to explain some of the biggest ones to help you prepare for a life of self-employment.

Self-employment is a fantastic choice for those that want to work in the comfort of their own home, but is it really that easy? (Source)

Are you capable of managing your time effectively?

Self-employment is fantastic because it allows you to work at home or at your own pace. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to work just 2 hours a day and it doesn’t mean you should be working 50-hour work weeks either. As much as you want to be successful, not everyone is cut out for working long. Sure, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk can up to 100 hours per week, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Instead of burning yourself out, make sure you set regular working hours much like you would if you worked for an employer. Stick to your times and try to stay away from your computer and your responsibilities outside of office hours unless you absolutely have to take care of something like an emergency. Having a schedule is a great way to keep yourself on-track, but if you can’t stick to it, then it’s pointless to have and you might not be ready for a life of self-employment.

Do you have what it takes to manage your responsibilities?

The last thing you want is for your business to be under a tax investigation because you neglected to record all of your income. As a self-employed individual, you have more responsibilities than the average employee and you need to take this seriously. You need to manage your own accounts and finances (unless you have an advisor or accountant), you need to realize that the livelihood of all of your employees rests within your hands, and you need to remember that your success and growth are in your own hands. If you’re not able to manage these responsibilities, then your business is simply going to fail and you’ll just be wasting your time and effort.

Do you possess the capacity to learn new skills at every possibility?

From learning to protect your business with security software or researching new market trends and how to take advantage of them, you need to be like a sponge that soaks up information at every opportunity. This is because you want to learn as much as possible and apply that knowledge to your business, and this means you need to be constantly reading, constantly listening and constantly learning. Utilize things such as online learning to help you study new subjects and skills without having to attend a college or university, and listen to audiobooks as much as possible. Multitasking is often seen as a waste of time, but if you’re doing something mundane such as running and exercising, you’d be surprised at just how useful it can be to learn new skills through an audiobook.

It’s incredibly easy to get distracted if you work self-employed and it’s the main reason for a lack of productivity and progress. (Source)

Can you take criticism and turn it into something positive?

You’re going to get a lot of criticism as a self-employed individual. Customers will hate you for making small changes that you thought would be beneficial, you’re going to get know-it-all employees that suggest changes about things they know nothing about, and you’re going to be ridiculed on the internet for making poor decisions. It’s crucial that you learn how to minimize the negative effects that come with bad criticism and instead turn it into something positive. Your audience and your employees can be fantastic sources of information, but only if you’re willing to see what they say in a positive and understanding way.

Do you have what it takes to expose yourself and network with the industry?

Entrepreneurs need to be social. They need to attend events for networking purposes and they need to get on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so that they can increase their chances of capitalizing on an opportunity. This means meeting with investors, it means speaking to customers face-to-face at events and it also means making friends with industry figureheads and influencers to help your business grow and expand. Social media is often the most straightforward form of networking, but you should remember that everything you say is on record. Don’t speak out of line, don’t get into arguments, and watch what you say. While it might be tempting to get frustrated and angry at someone who is criticising your business unfairly, you have to be as professional as possible.

Do you have support from friends and family members?

Every entrepreneur needs a source of inspiration. In most cases, this is going to come from friends and family members that support you in your endeavours. It’s incredibly important to have people to speak to when things are going bad, and to also have people that can give you advice. This could be in the form of a business mentor or just a close friend that is also working in the industry or has run a business in the past. Getting the right support is arguably one of the most crucial steps in living a life of self-employment, so don’t neglect it!

Self-employment isn’t for everyone, but almost anyone can fit the mold of a successful entrepreneur if they’re willing to learn, if they know how to communicate effectively and if they have the right motivation to keep them going. It’s a tough life full of responsibilities, but it can be the best choice you’ve made in your life if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

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How To Select The Perfect Outboard Motor For Your Boat

The outboard motor is the powerful force behind your boat and without it, your powerful vehicle becomes like any other rowboat. Maybe you’re in the need to a brand new outboard motor and if that’s the case, you’ll know how much they cost.

It’s a pricey yet powerful object that can give your boat the extra horsepower you crave. However, as the price is usually high, it’s important to treat the decision cautiously and approach it with thought. This article will therefore help you gain access to the top ways you can determine a particular outboard motor is the best option for your boat.

For example, if you equip a small boat with an 80-horsepower motor, it could potentially be dangerous. It’s important to consider all the relevant factors before going in for the kill. Still searching for the perfect motor? You can discover top of the range Mercury outboard motors from BBMS Swanwick. 

Top Tips For Purchasing The Perfect Outboard Motor

  1. Know the size

Choosing the right size motor for your boat is one of the first things you should consider. Your boat will come with essential information such as the capacity plate. This vital bit of information lets you know the boat’s horsepower limit and how much weight your boat can allow. This is often established by coastal guards and it’s very important to follow for safety measures. So, if you haven’t already, discover this crucial information so you don’t end up overpowering or sinking the motor.

On the other hand, you’ll want to not underestimate the horsepower. You should have what the boat can handle. This will ensure you can operate it smoothly and manoeuvre through the water with ease.

  1. Consider efficiency

Remember, smaller outboard motors may not sound as fancy but they do consume less energy. Being more efficient and easier to handle, they also cost less. So, if your boat can handle it, try and opt with the smaller motor. However, you can always increase if you find it too slow. Another great thing is that the smaller the engine, the quieter the boat will run!

  1. Think about shaft length

An important factor is to choose the correct shaft length for your boat. You will be able to tell which size it should be from how small or large the boat’s transom is. This is another factor that will keep your boat stabilized as it moves through the water. Moreover, it is another crucial part of safety. You can measure this yourself with a measuring tape.

  1. Consider the features

Thinking about the motor’s features is a great starting point. Each outboard motor comes with a special range of features such as electric starts, power tilts, thrusts and more. These features can make operating the boat much easier and give you more room to play with the boat.

Take note of the points we’ve discussed and rest assured you’ll be able to pick the right outboard motor.

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Buying vs Leasing: The Pros And Cons

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When it comes to obtaining a brand new car, you have two major options; Buying and leasing. A few years ago, leasing was practically unheard of in the UK, but has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now considered one of the best ways of securing a new car. If you’re on the lookout for a car and want to think through your options, then take a look at the pros and cons below.

Buying A Car

Pro – It’s Your Car

When you buy a car, it is your car straight away. This means that, if you want to make any modifications to the car or customise it in any way, then you are allowed to do that. You can also drive your car as much as you like, as you don’t have to any mileage limits.

Pro – Payments Will End

Another great advantage of owning your car is that you won’t have to keep paying for it. Of course, you’ll still have to pay tax and insurance, but once you’ve paid off the loan for the car, the payments will end, and the car is yours completely.

Con – More Expensive

Unfortunately, while the payments may end eventually, while you have them, they are likely to be fairly high. The down payment will also be pretty pricey, which is why lots of people can’t afford to buy brand new cars. As your car gets older, you will also have to pay more for maintenance and repairs.

Con – Depreciates In Value

As it explains at whatcar.com, your car is going to massively depreciate the longer you own it. Of course, some cars depreciate less than others, and you can reduce the effects depreciation, but you are never going to sell your car for the price you bought it.

Leasing A Car

Pro – Lower Costs

When you lease a car from a company like IntelligentCarLeasing.com, you are pretty much guaranteed to spend less each month than you would do buying a car. You also rarely have to provide a down payment and don’t have to worry about depreciation, as car owners do.

Pro – Covered By Warranty

Another great thing about leasing is that you are usually covered by some sort of warranty for the entire duration of the lease, so you don’t have to pay out large amounts of money on repairs if your car has a mechanical problem.

Con – You Don’t Own It

The biggest downside of leasing a car is that it’s never really your car. Because of this, you have to stick to mileage limits and aren’t allowed to customise or modify your car in any way. You also have to give it back when the lease runs out, which you may not want to do.

Con – Payments Continue

Because the car isn’t yours, you are going to have to pay for it each month for as long as you have it. You will also have to pay fees for going over your mileage limit and for any damage that the car incurs, so leasing isn’t always as cheap as it appears to be.

When it comes to buying or leasing, there is no “better” option; It comes down to preference and circumstance. If you want to save money, but still want a new car, then leasing is probably better, but if you want to own your car and keep it for longer, then buying is the way to go.

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Virtual Reception Solutions for Medical Clinics

Virtual receptionists are currently being used globally, and when you consider how they can help a business, it isn’t at all surprising. Whatever the industry or location, having someone to answer every call professionally is absolutely essential, and with a medical clinic, the need is just as important, if not more so. It’s a sad fact of life that unanswered calls equal lost business opportunities, and for a medical practice, this could literally be the difference between life and death, not to mention the amount of new business a potential client might have brought with them, had their initial call been answered.

Typical Scenario

When a patient arrives at a clinic, the first stop is the reception desk where their details will be given and the receptionist will then search for their file, which, of course, takes time. Add to that the fact that there are many patients waiting for the same reason and you have a scenario where the poor receptionist simply cannot cope. No one has more than one pair of hands and dealing with a person face to face takes precedent over a call, and this is exactly the reason why a clinic needs the services of a virtual reception provider.

How does a Virtual Receptionist Service Work?

Digital technology allows for the person answering the phone to be located anywhere in the world, and as soon as a call comes in, the professional receptionist answers on the client’s behalf. The receptionist would be fully briefed on the client company’s business and will answer any call within 5 seconds which effectively means that no call will ever be missed. Image is pretty much everything in business, and with a courteous and professional response for every call, the business owner can be confident that their customers are always impressed with the very high level of service. Refer to an excellent article that highlights the benefits of using a virtual receptionist for all your business calls.

Booking Appointments

The vast majority of incoming calls at a medical clinic would be to make an appointment, and with a cloud based weekly schedule, the virtual receptionist can easily do this without having to refer to the clinic, as updates are instant. It is normal for a patient to save all their questions for the medical practitioner, which means the virtual receptionist doesn’t need to be too knowledgeable regarding medical procedures.

Highly Competitive Industry

The medical care industry is highly competitive and if a person calls a clinic and does not get an instant reply, they are likely to Google search and simply call another clinic, and you would never know that you are losing business. Enlisting the help of a virtual receptionist provider will ensure that you never lose business due to an unanswered call, and with a cloud based calendar, the virtual receptionist can take bookings with confidence.

It might be that there are only certain times when your receptionist had her hands full, and by setting up a call overflow answering service, your regular receptionist can answer the majority of calls and only use the service when things are busy, which means you are only paying for the service when you actually use it.

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Why Move When You Can Expand?

Over time, your home can begin to feel small, especially if you keep bringing more stuff into it. While your instinct might be telling you to move to a bigger place, why not give some thought to expanding instead? Your home has a lot of potential for growth, which will add value to your home and give you extra space.

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Major home renovations, like extensions and loft conversions, are not to be taken lightly. There are some things you should consider before you commit to this significant cost and time commitment and only proceed if you’re truly ready to take the plunge.

Here are some things you think about when it comes to expanding your home.

Work out the costs

Cost can be the biggest factor in deciding whether or not you should move house, or expand. In some areas, particularly big cities, the difference between 1/2 bedrooms or 3/4 can be quite significant. Meanwhile, a loft conversion or extension could be much more affordable while also raising the value of your home. Do a thorough comparison of moving versus expanding to help make sure that you’ve considered all of the options.

Consider the logistics

Make no mistake, a home expansion project isn’t a small job. It could disrupt your home for quite some time before the work is complete. You might be faced with some restrictions as to what you can achieve with your home conversion, and with a loft conversion, in particular, you might face height restrictions, problems with your neighbours (if you share walls) as well as structural issues. Keep your aspirations realistic, and if a loft conversion isn’t right for you, you could always consider adding an extension or expanding your kitchen instead.

Call in the professionals

A large-scale home renovation isn’t an easy job any means, so it’s important that you get professional help and advice to make sure the job is done properly. There are planning permissions to secure and surveys to carry out, and you’ll need to hire architects and builders to get everything done. You can speak to friends and family to get recommendations, as well as to give you a clearer idea of the work involved.

Budget

Once you’ve committed to expanding your home, you’re going to need to start budgeting to make it happen. Having a good savings pot behind you is a good place to start, but home extensions can soon start to cost more money than you initially accounted for. Creating a budget for your home improvement work is important, and you should aim to cut costs along the way. Keep an eye out for bargains on decor items you can get in a hurry like loft hatch next day delivery services to help you save money on those essentials. Budgeting isn’t always straightforward, but if you keep your eye on the prize, it’ll make it all worth it in the end.

While there are many things to consider when planning your home expansion, the benefits are worth it to give you the home of your dreams. If you’ve been thinking about moving to a bigger place, why not take a look at your existing home first and see if transforming it could be the better option for you.

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How Your Phone and FOMO are Affecting Your Health

We live in a world where technology has become a pivotal part of our lives and without it, we feel lost or that we are missing out. Ever heard the saying “if it’s not on social media, it never happened”? FOMO is the official term for Fear Of Missing Out and relates to the anxiety some feel when something exciting or interesting is happening elsewhere. We feel obliged to constantly chase the high of likes and comments in the race of “who lived it better”. Besides the studies that have shown the radiation waves of your phone may potentially cause cancer, your phone is affecting your health in ways that you may be oblivious to.

Unnatural Endorphins

Studies have shown that getting a hit, like or comment on your pages gives you a feel-good feeling known as a dopamine high. The same high can be felt after a run or when you get a promotion at work. It is known as the reward hormone. This feeling only lasts a short while and once it is gone, feelings of anxiety start flooding in and you start looking for the next thing to post in order to get your fix. Start making a conscious choice to get these dopamines the natural way by taking healthy supplements. Authority Health is a great online source of reviews, information and facts that will help you decide which health supplement is best for you.

Phones Affect Our Ability To Retain and Recall Information

Thanks to the internet, any bit of information you are looking for is right at your fingertips. Directions, contact numbers, simple trivia answers, these are all housed within our smartphones. According to recent studies, smartphones have an effect on our memory because we no longer need to use the act of recalling simple information. Like every muscle in the body, the brain requires stimulation and exercise in order to function and develop. Instead of downloading an app that requires you to match the colours, look for apps that stimulate and put your mind to the test without looking up the answers.

Bad Posture

Bad posture has a very negative effect on your spine which could lead to rapid wear and tear that may require surgery to correct in the long run. Looking down at your phone is the equivalent of putting a 60-pound weight on your neck and the average person spends 2 to 4 hours in this position. Maintaining a good posture is not only good for your spine but it decreases cortisol and body stress. Try holding your phone directly in front of you so that your ears are aligned with your shoulders and make sure that your shoulder blades are pushed back.

Interrupted Sleeping Patterns

Scrolling through your phone or answering a few texts before bed may seem harmless but it affects your brain and sleep patterns more than you think. Recent studies have discovered a link between the blue light emitted by your screens and the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally and is responsible for balancing your sleep and wake cycles, low levels leave you tossing and turning or unable to sleep at all. Actively using your phone before you go to bed also keeps your brain alert, making it harder to fall asleep. Try putting all gadgets down at least 30 minutes before bedtime to ensure you get a full night of uninterrupted sleep.

Anxiety

One of the biggest ways in which our phones affect us is that it causes anxiety. If you have ever had that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your phone is not in your pocket, you will know what we are talking about. Anxiety and stress are silent killers because they affect us in ways we don’t even realise. Anxiety comes in many forms and developing an addiction to an online presence can trigger these feelings. By constantly comparing your lives to others and actively looking for approval through likes and comments, you develop unnecessary insecurities which feed off of anxiety. The cycle never ends because once you get a dopamine high that we spoke about earlier, it wears off, leaving you feeling anxious or depressed, you then look for another way to get approval and get your fix, again, it wears off and the cycle begins again. If you are struggling with these feelings, it is best to look for ways to separate yourself from your phone and your online presence for a while. Get involved in physical activities such as yoga or reading a book instead of turning on the tv. This can help to reduce the anxiety and keep your mind positive.

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Is an Expensive Bespoke Suit Worth It?

 

 

Some people don’t understand why there are those who would rather spend lots of money on a very expensive suit when there are off-the-rack suits that are way cheaper. The idea of wearing a bespoke suit has been really popular for a long time. It might cost a lot of money, but the type of suit that is created is way different from regular suits that are available at a lower cost.

When you choose a bespoke tailor, you are guaranteed quality results. This person has years of experiences in the business. They have an educated eye and can immediately see issues regarding measurements and details. They will see to it that the results are flawless. If this means adjusting several times, they will.

The process begins by choosing the fabric to be used for the suit. You can also provide the other details that you want, like the buttons to be used and the number of pockets in the suit. You can even come up with unique patterns.

The best part is that you will get measurements several times throughout the process. The first set of measurement that you will have will then be modified later after trying on the suit if it doesn’t look good on you.

The only downside is that you must be willing to wait. The tailor won’t release the suit until everything is perfect. If you are planning on wearing a bespoke suit for a special occasion, you must have it done weeks in advance so that it will be made in time for the event.

Overall cost

A bespoke suit alone is already costly. This is not the only expense you will have though. You still need to travel back and forth to the shop just to fit the suit. You will go back several times depending on the adjustments that have to be made. If the tailor does not live in your city, you might have to consider this before choosing a tailor. You will spend more on top of what you have already spent for the suit. The good thing is that unless you are satisfied, the tailor will not stop doing adjustments.

Are cheaper suits better?

From a financial standpoint, you could go for off-the-rack suits that are way cheaper. However, there is no guarantee that you will get something you will enjoy. The suit might not be made from quality fabric. It won’t last as long as you would have wanted. The buttons are usually made from plastic and they are not hand sewn on the suit.

You must also be content with whatever is available the moment you visit a store. You cannot complain that there is no specific size that fits you perfectly. Department stores find ways to sell these suits at a lower rate. If they have to sacrifice quality or design, they will. The worst part is that there is a good chance that the suit you are wearing is similar to someone else’s. Bespoke suits, on the other hand, have unique patterns as they are made from scratch. There is a complete guarantee that what you get is top quality.

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Are There Too Many Distractions In Your Workplace?

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Are you having trouble concentrating in your workplace due to distractions? Few jobs offer the freedom to focus on one task at a time, however there could well be unnecessary distractions that are making work harder for you and your employees. Here are just a few ways that you can tackle distractions in the workplace and improve workflow and productivity.

Take steps to reduce noise

Some work environments are naturally noisy such as kitchens and construction sites and nightclubs. Offices have no reason to be loud, but some can be due to the whir of machinery and the buzz of people talking to one another. Open-plan offices have become popular as a way of encouraging team communication and cutting costs, but these environments are often very distracting. Introducing a quiet zone to help people concentrate could be worthwhile. As for loud machinery, it could be worth buying machines with a Quiet Mark rating. Sites like Handy Dryers have quiet dryers for bathrooms, whilst you can often get quiet PCs and printers nowadays. You could even introduce headsets for each PC, which can be used for making phonecalls and listening to music quieter.

Contain clutter

Too much clutter has also been proven to be distracting. If your workplace is a mess of files and machinery, it could be worth taking the time to declutter. Start with the stock cupboard and then tackle areas. You might be able to cut down on clutter by going paperless and making all your records digital. This might also allow you to get rid of printer and filing cabinets that are taking up space.

Reduce interruptions from clients

Being interrupted by phonecalls and impromptu meetings can be incredibly frustrating. It’s best to get into a habit of scheduling these events in where possible. Get new customers to communicate by email first and then schedule in phonecalls at non-busy times. You could even outsource a phone answering service such as Moneypenny to take care of incoming calls and filter the important ones to you. As for meetings, schedule these in rather than letting clients wonder freely into your office. You could even find a local coffee bar to host these meetings in so that they don’t have to come to the office at all.

Lay down rules on smartphone use

Many of us can distracted by our phones, reading personal text and opening social media notifications. Some work environments have put a ban on phones. This may not be possible work has to be done on these phones and could anger employees. A more reasonable rule could be to schedule times when smartphones aren’t allowed to be in use, or tell people to mute notifications.

Let employees work from home

Many of us think of home as an incredibly distracting environment, but studies have actually found that people work more productively from home than they do in the office. This could be because there isn’t the distraction of colleagues as well as the pressures of being watched. You can still communicate with employees via instant messaging and video-communication and all files can be shared on the cloud allowing anyone with a password to access them.

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