All of us want to do more in less time, right?  How do we do that?  There is no magic app or pill, but there are things you can do with your day to be more productive.  I’m a big list maker.  At the beginning of my business week, I start with a list of things I need to get done. At the start of my business day, before I check email or social media, I create a task list for the day so I know what I need to accomplish in the short-term.

Here are 10 more tips that will help you and your business be as productive and prosperous as you can be in 2014!

Tip #1 Prioritize and do the most difficult thing on your to-do list first. Once you get the hard stuff out of the way, other tasks will feel much easier.  What task is it that is nagging at you that isn’t going to be fun?  This is the one to start first.  Getting that difficult thing out of the way lifts a weight and you get to breeze through the rest of your to-do list.  No procrastination!

Tip #2 Increase your effectiveness through technology. There are a ton of programs and apps to make a small-business owner more effective in increasing productivity. A few popular tools—some of which are free—include Dropbox to store files online; Any Meeting to host a webinar; Basecamp for project management; Trello for keeping track of projects and deadlines, and Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule your social media postings.

Tip #3 Delegate, delegate, delegate!  It may be helpful to make a list of all the things in your business that can be done by somebody else.  Administrative, technical, whatever.  There is likely someone who can do these task more efficiently than you, so use them.  Outsourcing some of your functional business areas like accounting or marketing can also be a good way to go.

Tip #4 Set a timer. Whether it’s 20 minutes or 60 minutes, the point is to turn off all distractions. Multi-tasking can actually make you less productive. When you turn from one task to another, you interrupt brain functions. Plus, multitasking adds stress and boosts toxic hormones such as cortisol, which clouds thinking and can destroy brain cells.  Set your timer and see how much you can accomplish!

Tip #5 Break down large projects into smaller bite-size chunks. Then you take these pieces, put them in your calendar and take action on them one at a time. For big projects that have several steps, try to split these up into more manageable chunks. Beginning a half-day project is a lot more daunting than just working on the first step. You can put these tasks into whatever organizational system you use – Outlook, Google Calendar or whatever works for you.

Tip #6  Batch like items such as tasks and appointments.  Set aside time to do like items at one time such as scheduling appointments, preparing invoices, developing your social media content, etc.  Once your in a mode, you can be much more efficient.  For example, set aside blocks of time to take appointments. I like to schedule my out of the office appointments in the morning so that the remainder of my day is spent accomplishing my computer based tasks.

Tip #7 Clear out your inbox and/or straightening your work space. Everyday, spend 20 minutes putting papers back where they belong in their files, put your files back in the drawers and take 10 or 15 minutes to delete as many emails from your inbox as you can.  Clearing some of the clutter helps the brain feel more organized and productive.  Plus, it always surprises me how much I can actually accomplish in just 20 minutes!

Tip #8  Use reminders.  Nobody can remember everything.  Digital task lists usually let you set email or pop-up reminders. Some have alarms for your phone. If you prefer an analog approach, you might want to try visual reminders as well like sticky notes on your computer screen or clipboard.

Tip #9  Give yourself some breathing room every day.  What I mean by that is whatever breathing room means to you – whether that’s a workout (that’s mine), walking your dogs or both. Maybe it’s a yoga class, a 15 -minute meditation or just breathing for 10 minutes. You really will be much better off at handling all of your work tasks and personal responsibilities as well when you take some time for you first. You really need to schedule these things in as you would a client appointment or meeting.

Tip #10 Keep household clutter under control by doing a few chores each day. If you don’t keep on top of things, they can get away from you…especially at home.  A little example of something I do since I work from home is that after every meal I make sure I do the dishes right then. You don’t want to be working and stressed out and then have two days’ worth dishes to do when you finish for the day!

Bonus Tip  Every day before you leave the office, or first thing in the morning when you get in, write down the top 3 things that must get done that day.  Pick the three things that will propel you forward as a business owner or as an individual, that make you money, that meet big goals of yours and that are in line with your values and put them at the top of your to-do list.

Happy productivity!