How to Slash Your Work Week by 5+ Hours

With these 5 productivity tips, your 35-hour work week is no longer a pipe dream. Find out how you can shave hours off your busy schedule and get more done.

What if you could start the weekend early by leaving at noon every Friday? Or how about coming in an hour late – five days a week?

With these 5 proven productivity tips, your 35-hour work week is no longer just a pipe dream. Find out how you can shave hours off your busy schedule by getting more done.

1. Do one thing at a time
Just because you can check Facebook, write an email, scan a receipt, and attend a webinar all at the same time, doesn’t mean you should. Multitasking may be the norm in the new millennium, but that doesn’t means it’s the most productive way to work.

When you silence your phone, close unneeded browsers, and inform colleagues you’re in the “don’t interrupt me”-zone, you can truly focus on completing one task, doing it well, and finishing much faster than if you’d stopped to tweet every ten minutes.

2. Enforce a two-hour time limit
Research shows that our brains are wired to go hard and fast for two hours at a time – no longer. If you push yourself beyond that mark, you’re likely to experience brain fog, forgetfulness, and weaker attention to detail.

Take a break, step away from your desk, and go for a brisk walk to get your blood pumping. After a solid 10 minutes away where you engage in a relaxing, non-work-related activity, you’ll be able to return to total focus for another two hours.

3. Give yourself a hard deadline
If a project can get done, y’know, whenever, you’ll probably take much more time to complete it. Self-imposed deadlines are great motivators to finish quickly – sort of like a competition with yourself, where the winner gets to leave early to go to Happy Hour.

4. Send less email
If you’re like a lot of small business owners, hours of your day can end up devoted to unnecessary emails. Instead of the never-ending back and forth, try to include all relevant instructions and questions in a single email, and only respond when it’s absolutely necessary.

5. Break down big goals
When you have a big goal to accomplish or a huge project to complete, you can waste lots of time deciding to decide, or planning to plan. Break big tasks down into smaller, manageable chunks that are easy to tackle. When you know exactly what needs to be done, you can dive in and do it, instead of wasting hours wondering where to start.

When you focus on a single task, take breaks every two hours, stick to self-imposed deadlines, resist the urge to hit “reply all,” and break down goals into specific tasks, slashing your work week by 5+ hours is a snap.

See you at Happy Hour!

Top 10 Ways to Go Paperless in 2016

Small business innovators and environmental activists are predicting 2016 to be the greenest year ever. That’s because it’s never been easier to go paperless, and save time, money, and trees while you’re at it. Here are quick, easy, cost-effective changes you can make to eliminate paper clutter and positively impact the planet in 2016.

Small business innovators and environmental activists are predicting 2016 to be the greenest year ever. That’s because it’s never been easier to go paperless, and save time, money, and trees while you’re at it.

Here are quick, easy, cost-effective changes you can make to eliminate paper clutter and positively impact the planet in 2016.

1. Just Say No to Shopping Bags
Bring your own reusable shopping bags everywhere you go – from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to CVS and Target. If you have paper bags at home, you can use them again or donate them back to the store.

2. Scan Your Receipts
Remove receipt clutter from your home and office by scanning your receipts to your Shoeboxed account. It’s easy to digitize stacks of receipts using a desktop scanner, or individual receipts using your smartphone. (See #7 if the mere thought of scanning all of your paper clutter makes you feel like crying).

3. Sign up for Paperless Billing
Make sure you select the paperless billing option for every bill you pay, and consider going paperless for your company payroll too.

4. Send Paperless Faxes
In 2016, sending faxes no longer requires a fax machine. Use a service like HelloFax to send and receive faxes right from your computer – no printing, no paper, and no annoying dial tone!

5. Save to PDF
Wait – there’s no need to print that PDF, even if it needs to be edited by multiple team members. Save a tree and use an app like Nitro instead, which allows you to edit PDFs and convert them to other document types.

6. Trade Post-Its for Whiteboards
Sticky notes are one of the most annoying forms of paper clutter. They’re easily lost and make your office look like a kindergartener’s (not to mention the wasted environmental resources). Try erasable whiteboards instead to jot down ideas, to-do’s, and meetings.

7. Use the Magic Envelope
If the thought of scanning your receipts makes you weepy, let us do the heavy lifting for you. Just dump your paper receipts and other documents into the Shoeboxed Magic Envelope, and drop the envelope in the mail. When your docs arrive at Shoeboxed headquarters, we’ll scan and upload everything to your Shoeboxed account, giving you a completely fresh, paperless start to 2016.

8. Work in Google Drive
Enjoy paperless collaboration with team members by working in Google Drive. Easily add comments, make edits, view all saved versions of the document, and work together in real time.

9. eSign your Documents
Rare is the occasion nowadays where you need to “print, sign, and scan” anything. Since your electronic signature is legally binding, it’s far more eco-friendly and cost- effective to eSign all documents using a service like HelloSign.

10. Use Email Marketing Campaigns
Direct mail campaigns are expensive and time-consuming, and the results can be difficult to track. Send a paperless email campaign instead and get instant marketing data. You can also reward customers with virtual coupons and electronic discounts, both of which can be redeemed sans paper via the user’s smartphone.

How will you go paperless this year?

How to Acheive the Perfect Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

Achieving work-life balance is difficult any time of the year, but it’s especially tough to do during the holidays. Here’s how to pull it off.

Achieving that perfect balance of work and life is difficult any time of the year, but between the festive parties, wrapping presents, and helping out with your kid’s holiday pageant, it’s especially difficult to balance at this time of year. When the scale has a tendency to lean a little more towards the “life” side of things, how do you keep your work a priority?

Put everything on the same calendar.

Typically, the number one rule of keeping work life and personal life separate is to leave work at work and leave home at home. Though, during this time of year, with so many things going on, it’s easier and more efficient to just keep everything in one place. If you have an elementary school recital you need to attend in the middle of a Friday, you need to make sure it doesn’t conflict with any big projects or meetings also on that day. Keep all of your obligations on one calendar. Mark work obligations, like meetings, presentations, and big assignments, in one color, and personal obligations in another color.

Take care of your bigger tasks in the morning.

Though it can sometimes take a little time to warm up in the mornings, it’ll benefit you in the long run to take care of your bigger projects first thing in the morning.

If you’re one of those people who have a little trouble operating at full speed in the morning, I suggest trying to get “warmed up” for the day before even getting to the office.Though it sounds counterproductive to the night owls of the world, wake up a little earlier. Instead of rushing in the morning to try and get as much sleep as possible, wake up a little earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee at home, watch the news, read the paper, get into a nice little routine to make you feel awake and ready for the day. Then once at work, tackle all of your big tasks leaving the afternoon free if you need to head out early to pick up the kids or prep the house for a party.

Let everyone know when you’re gone.

Because everyone has a crazy schedule this time of year, communication is key. As the boss, you need to give people a heads up as to when you’ll be gone because you need to make sure everything gets done! Even the boss needs some help every now and then. Clearly and thoroughly assign duties to your employees on the days you need to miss, and let everyone know that if they need to get a hold of you to mark their emails with an “urgent” notification.

Communication between employees and yourself is the only way to tackle this crazy season. As long as you’re making sure all of the work gets done, it’s very possible to cater to everyone’s individual holiday schedules.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.