With the holidays just around the corner, many business owners are looking forward to taking their foot off the gas, spending quality time with family and reflecting on their year as entrepreneurs. No doubt they'll be celebrating some highs, bemoaning some lows and thinking about what needs to happen differently in 2015 based on what they've learned over the last 12 months.
Although Jan. 1 is the official date to kick off any new resolutions, here are four productivity ideas to put into practice ahead of time and gather a head of steam before the new year:
1. Stand up and live longer.
Sitting down at a desk may literally be killing people, according to new research. Companies all over the United States are starting to supply standing desks to their employees in an effort to increase productivity and keep their staff living longer.
I bought a VariDesk Pro at the beginning of this year and love it. I find I get more done, I’m more alert and my posture has improved. So many desks are on the market that it can be difficult to choose one but there are options to match different budgets. You won’t regret how quickly you start ripping through your to-do list while staying fit and healthy.
2. Take five before posting on social media.
With 284 million Twitter users worldwide vying for attention, getting heard on that social channel is becoming hard. The key to engagement lies not just in what you’re saying but how you say it.
Kevan Lee outlined on Buffer how to create the perfect Facebook post for increased reach and interaction by using links, offering brief updates (character-wise), publishing at non-peak times and by being timely and newsworthy.
Spend five minutes thinking about how you’ll frame your next Tweet or Facebook update and not just five seconds. Check out posts by the competition. How smart have other players been and how can you stand apart with whatever you’re sharing? If your followers see your update, will they think “so what?” or will they take action?
3. Read more and prosper.
When it comes to reading, I try to alternate between tucking into business books and fiction throughout the year. While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new trends and thinking on professional topics, many businesspeople need to give their brains a break and let their imagination find inspiration in the story a novel might have to tell.
I’ve recently become a fan of getAbstract. Users sign up to receive business books that have been distilled into four- or five-page synopses. Their editors extract the essence of the authors’ ideas and provide key takeaways from the book, all in an easily digestible format. Now I can keep up with 15 to 20 new business concepts and thought leaders over 12 months instead of the five or six my schedule has allowed in recent years.
Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Read to Lead
4. Get more from travel.
When you’re a superbusy entrepreneur, travel is often a big part of your life. Frequent travel can be unhealthy -- as well as expensive, according to Concur. So ensuring that you maximize the return on investment from trips should a be a big priority. Obvious ways to enhance the bottom line might be to seek cheaper airfares and hotel rates. But what about you have planned for the trip?
If you’re speaking at a conference, have you optimized your appearance for maximum reach by employing some shrewd digital PR tactics?
Have you picked out a few people you know are going to the event and reached out beforehand with a view to some one-on-one networking? If you’re landing in a city that has clients or potential clients within a few miles of the convention center, why not set up a lunch or extend your stay by a day so you can catch up in person?
What tips do you have to maximize 2015 for your business?