I love working in a team environment, managing multiple clients, keeping it all together and organized. It’s the thrill of taking your inbox from overwhelming to in-control (or at least as the appearance of being in control). I love a good challenge.

But keeping the team productive is even a greater challenge because I quickly realized that I frequently stood in their way, by not getting them what they need, when they need it. So my need to be as productive as possible now centers on identifying what the team needs to be as productive as possible. So whether you’re working solo, or have a team, here are some tips that I use every day:

I do several passes of my emails – there are a few organizations guru’s that say you should only touch each email once and then either resolve it, file it, schedule it, or delegate it. I don’t follow that theory. Here’s why.

There are days I wake up to over 100 emails, and whether I approach it by last or first received, it could get all day to get through the list. So the first pass of my emails is to look for anything marked urgent – and triaging the urgency of the message. Some emails can’t wait, and so I determine if I have what’s needed to resolve it or pass it along to a team member to work their magic. I don’t necessarily resolve the issue right away, but I do acknowledge its receipt.

Next, I’m looking for questions from team members; they may need additional information that could help them be more productive. So I get them what they need.

The next pass is looking for items that I’m not going to handle myself. These are items that are delegated to team members. Ideally, I want these emails passed along before their workday starts, helping them plan their day effectively.

Now I start working through the rest of my emails, continuing to resolve and delegate as needed.

I work from a home office, and it is too easy to get distracted, so whenever possible, I keep everything at my fingertips. If I have to leave my desk to get something, I end up putting on a load of laundry or wiping something down. My home to-do list never ends, and the less I wander and look around, the less I get distracted.
Also, on the working from home theme, I approach “going to work” like everyone else who works outside of the home. Meaning.

I plan an outfit the night before and hang it out, ready for the morning. I stick with “business casual,” not pj’s.

I do my hair and makeup – every day. Do I go all out? Not at all, but I aim for polished. This is all about mindset.

I plan my lunches, so I don’t get distracted in the kitchen, or leave home to pick something up.

And, I plan dinners, so I’m not running out in the middle of the day to pick something up.

I time block and use timers on client tasks. I recently found this incredible organizer that I can jot my to-do’s on, and I divide my day by client so that I can stay very focused. I also set a timer on certain tasks (such as looking for images) to help me spend appropriate time on task, but also to keep me on track, so I don’t procrastinate and move onto something else. Anything that has sat too long, I re-evaluate and decide whether or not to pass along to a team member.

I shut off my emails when I need to work on something that is highly detailed. This includes shutting off my instant messages and my phone.

And the final, most valuable tip I can offer you – I forgive myself daily. Sometimes I have the day blocked for writing, and I can’t find my groove, so I allow myself to re-organize. When I’m under the weather, I don’t try to be a superhero; I accept that I need to take the time to care for my health and get rest. Most of all, I know that doing it alone doesn’t work. Knowing that I have support around me, and knowing my limits, allows me to watch others thrive in their roles and be hugely successful. It’s hard to ask for help, but doing so changes the productivity of your business.

What are your top tips? How do you minimize distractions? How do you wish you could improve?

By Peggy Murrah, Founder of PMA Web Services

Author's Bio: 

Peggy Murrah is a unique combination of web and marketing savvy, along with dependability and resourcefulness. These qualities have been instrumental in her building a successful business that serves clientele across five continents. PMA Web Services provides marketing direction and strategies for entrepreneurs through mentoring, social media marketing, list building and management, and development/maintenance of their online presence.