It's Your Time

How to Recharge at Noon

Posted by Red Butler Team on 03/ 01/ 16

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A productive day at the office can be brought to a screeching halt with a morning full of distractions and interruptions. Typically this happens late in the week as the weekend approaches. We have a few suggestions on how to get back on track following a difficult morning, and to make increased productivity a reachable goal every afternoon.

 


 

When your day gets off track, you want to do something to prevent your entire afternoon from being unproductive.  Here are three things we suggest to turn things back around and make your afternoon more efficient: 

1. Leave at noon. Go somewhere for an hour for a working lunch away from the office. If your meal is protein-packed and low in carbs, your afternoon will be more productive.  Send your calls to voicemail for an hour unless you are expecting an urgent call.  Use the time away from the office to schedule your afternoon with three things you must get done before the end of the day, and start working on the most important.

2. Delegate everything else in your inbox when you get back from lunch.  If you delegate it to Red Butler, it will get turned around quickly.  Our executive virtual assistants can tackle just about anything you send over. Here is how you can get started. 

3. If you must work late,  focus only on one task at a time.  Do not allow distractions to sidetrack your efforts to get things done. 

Once you step away for an hour, you should be able to refocus and have a more efficient, productive afternoon. Read here for another idea on how to make every week more productive.

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

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Topics: Productivity Tips

What to Do The Hour Before The Doors Open

Posted by Red Butler Team on 02/ 24/ 16

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Most people work most efficiently when they are not distracted. Therefore, productivity goals can be more easily reached if you have a large chunk of undistracted time to get things done. This is challenging in today's world, since we are never "away from the office"- our cellphones keep us connected 24/7. So how does one reclaim distraction-free work time? We have a simple suggestion.

 


 

Go to work an hour before "opening time", but turn your cellphone off. Use this hour to sort and prioritize your inbox,  take care of a project on your computer, or work on a large project without distractions.  If you will be tempted to check email or surf the internet, use an app which will lock those programs for a specified amount of time. 

On Mondays, plan even more time if you have a very intense week ahead of you.  Get to work an hour and a half early to do your planning and prep.  Don't forget to delegate everything you can to Red Butler's executive virtual assistant services.  Here are some ideas of things you can delegate. Also, make sure you take a lunch break so your afternoon is also productive.

By taking some extra time before the day "officially" starts, you will be setting you and your team up for success. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips, Best Practices

Why Your Desk is More than a Piece of Furniture

Posted by Red Butler Team on 02/ 22/ 16

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Workspace furniture can have a profound impact on your bottom line. Ergonomics, aesthetics, and practicality all drive productivity.  Let's take a closer look at how you can make your desk a key part of your team's productivity.

 


 

There are three key elements to a workspace that drive whether it is a productive space: ergonomics, aesthetics, and practicality.  Once you have all three of these things in place, you will be able to start each work day efficiently, leading to a more productive  week.  Here are a few comments about these three elements and some things to consider:

1. Ergonomics: Desk height to chair ratio- if your desk is not at the correct height for you to be able to do work without ending up with a neck cramp, it is time to make adjustments. This has more to do with the chair than the desk, and the ability to adjust the height at which you sit so you are not leaning over to do your work. Being at an incorrect angle can lead to shoulder and neck pain, and in some people headaches. Sometimes a chair swap with a coworker can solve height problems if you can't purchase a new chair.

2. Aesthetics: A clean, crisp office drives productivity because it is uncluttered and naturally spurs creativity. When you step into your office space in the morning the first impression you get will set the tone for the day. If your desk is a style you do not like, then every day when you step into your space you may think about that and your productivity can be impacted.  Desk accessories are an important part of that initial impression. Choose desk accessories which are efficient and that you like. If you prefer a completely clear desk, set up your desk drawers to be as efficient as possible, without clutter.  Here are some ways to choose desk accessories.

3. Practicality: If your desk doesn't have storage capability, and you have nowhere else in your space to store things, then it is impractical.  Adding a rolling file cabinet with a drawer may be all you need to boost productivity.  Your daily files should be at your fingertips along with pens, paper, and anything else you need to work. Not having to search for things keeps the day running smoothly. If you get frequent guests to your office space you should consider having a folder you keep on your desktop to put sensitive documents in while you meet. 

Finally, leave your work area clean at the end of each day so when you return it is a place you are happy to work.  A quick wipe down of your phone, keyboard, and desk leaves a fresh scent you will appreciate the next morning. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

How to be Productive in a Short Work Week

Posted by Red Butler Team on 02/ 19/ 16

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The long weekend. Everyone looks forward to it, but it can critically impact office productivity.  We have some tips on how to get back on track quickly after a long holiday.

 


 

A long holiday weekend can leave the entire office in "vacation mode" the rest of the week, effectively killing productivity. Here are three things you can do to boost productivity and stay focused:

1. Start with a plan.  Tackle 3 large tasks from your inbox each day.  Choose the three you will focus on, and complete them before focusing on other things unless something urgent comes up which requires your attention. 

2. Stay energized. Do not work long hours after a holiday weekend.  The boost of energy most people get during a boliday weekend could be used to effectively manage time and help the whole team work regular hours. 

3. Be laser focused with your schedule. Don't let your email inbox take up more of your day than necessary. This can be a challenge after a long weekend, especially if you didn't check your email for a few extra days. Set a timer if you need to, then move on to completing tasks which require your focus to have a productive week. Check your email several set times each day and limit how long you are in it.

4. Give your team a productivity booster. Delegate to Red Butler to help offset having less hours in the week. This will have a positive impact on the whole team.

These are a few ways you can stay on track after a long weekend. For a personalized plan to boost productivity, give us a call. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

How to Stay Focused Despite Interruptions

Posted by Red Butler Team on 02/ 17/ 16

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Nearly everything is done on the computer. Emails, reports, planning documents, and more.  It used to be a real time saver. The problem is that is no longer the case because of the distractions which come along with having the computer on all day.  A quick glance at an email or a social network can lead to an hour of time lost. We look at a few ways to stay focused in the midst of these productivity killing interruptions.

 


 

Do you want to be more productive? The following suggestions will help keep you on track all day, and show a few ways  to avoid productivity killing distractions:

1. Set specific times each day to check and respond to email. Have someone else monitor your email inbox the rest of the day, or set it to alert you if a message from someone specific comes into the box.

2.  Do not turn your computer on until you have filtered your inbox and delegated tasks.

3. When you are working in the computer, set a timer for 30 minutes.  Stretch, get up, walk around, every 30 minutes. This should give you a boost in energy.

4. Check social networks only on your lunch break.  Get an app that will lock you out of them the rest of the workday so you aren't tempted to "take a peek". 

5. As work comes in, delegate as much as possible to a Red Butler executive virtual assistant. By delegating immediately your inbox will not get cluttered. Here are three things you should always delegate to your virtual assistant.

We hope these suggestions help you stay on track and boost your productivity every day. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

Start Each Day With This Formula for Productivity Success

Posted by Red Butler Team on 02/ 05/ 16

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Whether you work out of a home office or away from home, it is important to begin each day with a formula for success.  We outline a few simple steps to make every day run smoother so you can be more productive.

 


 

A successful morning doesn't regularly happen by chance. It takes planning and commitment to efficiency and productivity. Here are some things to incorporate into your morning routine to make every day more productive, and allow you to stay focused on important projects:

1. Eat a great breakfast. If you don't have time to eat a great breakfast, have a power smoothie. 

2. Walk before work. Get up an hour earlier and walk.  You may be able to do 3.5 miles or so in that hour. Maybe Fido could come along too. Leave the headset at home so you can think about your day and strategize how to attack your work. Alternatively, you can bring a friend and enjoy the time for yourself before your workday has even begun.

3. Pack power snacks and a great lunch. Mid morning and mid afternoon are great times to have a handful of pistachios, Greek yogurt, or an apple, keeping you satisfied so you can stay on task.

4. Once you get to the office, resist the urge to immediately sit at your desk.  Have a 5 minute meeting with your team to get everyone on track for a super productive day.

5. Tackle your inbox before turning on your computer. If you left your inbox in a heap the night before, take a few minutes to quickly sort through it and label each item "now", "later", and "delegate". Delegate as much as possible. Here are some things you can delegate to Red Butler. Red Butler's executive virtual assistant services will help you super boost your productivity.

6. Now you can begin work and will have the energy and focus to get more done. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

The Abbreviated Morning Meeting

Posted by Red Butler Team on 01/ 19/ 16

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If you work in a team environment, then you have an opportunity to reconnect with your team every day and reach short term goals faster. 

 


 

Many businesses suffer from closed door syndrome- everyone is hunkered down in their office, either on phone calls or working on tasks in their in-boxes. At first glance, it would seem a lot of work is getting done, but a closer look would reveal that productivity is not at its peak when this is the working style of the office.  Why? Because creativity cannot flow through a closed system. Here is a way to re-invent the start of your workday, and bring new energy to the office:

Hold a 5 minute meeting every morning in a common area such as your lobby (if guests are not present).  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss short term goals and urgent business.  That's it. 

1. Bring numbers off your income statement which will tell the team what exactly the short term goals are. If no one knows what the short term goals are, then you are nearly guaranteed not reach those goals. 

2. After stating the number goal for the week, name 3 things which need to be done today to accomplish this goal. Assign these three tasks to specific people.

3. Summarize any news- client issues which may come up that day, large orders, etc.  Ask if anyone has input or news to share. Remind everyone to delegate when possible.

Keep the meeting as close to 5 minutes as possible then dismiss.

If there are issues which come up that need more attention than 5 minutes can handle, take care of it after the meeting, in a meeting room or office. 

You will find that your team looks forward to the morning meetings, and they will bring valuable (yet brief) input. This is turn will spur creative thinking and boost everyone's creativity.

 


 

 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips, Best Practices

Play a Sport to Get More Productive at Work

Posted by Red Butler Team on 12/ 29/ 15

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Creativity is the force behind successful businesses. A business needs to have the ability to innovate and shift to match the changing needs of consumers.  However, creativity can get put on the sidelines when it gets really busy, or when targets aren't being met.  A potential solution is to consider starting a hobby or participating in a sport. Both these activities require creativity and stepping out of one's "comfort zone".   

 


 

If you find that all your waking hours are spent working, then it may be time to consider some balance. That balance should then help you breathe new life into the business and reach new goals.  Here are a few productive and fun ways to use your free time which should result in a boost in your productivity at work:

1. Return to a hobby or play a sport you used to love.  The time spent relaxing and playing will recharge you and help you to be more creative at work. 

2. Start a new hobby or sport.  There are groups for just about every skill level. Learning new skills unlocks creativity, which can be then applied to your everyday work.

3. Start working on your "bucket list" - when you participate in activities you have always dreamed about, you free your creative side and that should spill over into your work.

Whether you choose to play a sport, participate in a hobby, or work on your bucket list, Red Butler can help you connect with that perfect group. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

How to use a 10 minute walk to recharge your day

Posted by Red Butler Team on 12/ 28/ 15

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Arriving at the office a few minutes early is one way many people get their day off on the right track, especially if the morning commute is difficult. We have a suggestion to keep your focus all day, even when you have a full workload.

 


 

If your workday seems to get away from you, causing you to stay late or bring work home, then this approach may work really well for you: a few strategically placed short walks during your day, just before the busiest times.  These quick escapes can help you then focus on the task at hand and should also give you a boost in energy.   Each recharging session should result in a burst in productivity. Here is an easy 3 step approach to make this happen:

1. For one week, take note of the two times during your day which feel most chaotic. It may be just before you are trying to get to lunch, or in the late afternoon when you are preparing to leave the office. 

2. Each Friday, schedule all your breaks for the next week. Include your lunch break and two 10 minute walks. Schedule two walks each day,  1/2 hour before the two times you noted which typically get overly busy. 

3. Each Friday, evaluate the effectiveness of the times you scheduled your walks. Do they need to be earlier in the day or just before a meeting?  Go ahead and adjust as necessary each week, but make sure not to miss the walks. If the weather is terrible, walk around the building, or take a stroll to a common area where you can relax.  

Taking time in each workday to recharge just before you get busy should help you stay focused and get more done. Read here for 3 things to do before leaving each day to make the next day more productive.

 


 

 Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Get Started

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips

Laptop memory full? Try these tricks.

Posted by Red Butler Team on 12/ 10/ 15

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Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of having a laptop run low on memory.  The impact this has on productivity can be extreme.  At the holidays, many people working while away from the office will download pictures or videos to their laptop to free up those devices from memory overload. Stay productive this holiday season and beyond- we list below a few alternatives for storing your photos and videos. 

 


 

Here are  a few places to move memory-hogging files:

1. Cloud based photo storage.  There are many options available, and which one you choose should be based on your needs, goals, and budget. Red Butler's executive virtual assistants can help you narrow down which one is the best fit for you. Advantages to this option include the ability to have large amounts of off site storage which you can access from any device.

2. Portable storage. Thumb drives have come a long way.  They can hold up to 256G (or even more). On sale, they can be found for a very reasonable rate, and the best thing is that they are a very quick fix for memory issues. They do not require a download or special software.  Just plug it into your usb port and move whatever photos and  files to it you want to move off your hard drive. 

3. External hard drives.  These are a great option for storage and backup, but many people don't keep up with the latest windows updates.  If you fall behind in your updates, and your memory runs low, you may not be able to easily update your system. If you buy an external hard drive, it may require the latest version of windows (we recommend getting a Terabyte,  so you can use it for storage and backup). 

No matter which option you choose, we recommend redundancy.  Backup to more than one source, especially important things like photos and computer backups. Devices can fail.

A few first steps to free up memory if your computer is frozen:

If you are unable to do anything on your computer becase of your lack of memory, you should still be able to open your computer in "safe mode".  On a Mac, you would do this by holding down the "shift" key until you see the Apple on your screen.   If you are using anything but a Mac, you should have an option in your startup menu for restarting in safe mode. Startup will take longer in safe mode, but you should be able to shift files, delete files, and empty the trash (don't forget to empty the trash in your photo program as well).  You can also go into your files section, organize by size, and determine if there are programs you want to delete, or files you want to shift off your hard drive. 

Red Butler knows how important efficiency and productivity are to you and your team, especially during the holidays.  If these options don't work for you, or you need further assistance, Red Butler's executive virtual assistants can find a computer specialist in your area.  If you need even more time freed up, here are 25 things you can delegate to Red Butler. 

 


 

Since 2005, our high-performance executive clients have helped Red Butler continuously improve our service model. Today our clients enjoy the service quality of an experienced in-house executive support team for less than the cost of one additional hire.

 

Learn More

 


 

Topics: Productivity Tips