Creating a Productive Work Environment

Scientists have proven that no two snowflakes are alike. I think the same holds true for how successful business owners design their work environments in order to enhance productivity. This week I asked:

How important is your work environment to your productivity,

and what is essential for you to be consistently productive?

The responses are as unique as the authors. The one constant is the importance of making your work environment your own. Different things work for different people, so trying to make your work space like everyone else’s will not necessarily get your creative and productive juices flowing. If you are seeking ways to improve your office space, see what the experts shared and then create an environment that caters to the ways you work best.

“For me chaos outside = chaos inside. So much of my work demands very strategic and creative thinking, thus I really need to be in an environment that fosters that thinking.

For me this means, having a desk propped up so I stand the whole time I’m working. It also means having a treadmill in my office, where I’ll jump up and walk on, when reading or going through emails, etc (I am able to balance my computer on the side arm of the treadmill). I know I have a naturally ADD, hyperactive personality, so I’ve designed my workspace to best work with that.”

Laura Petrolino (@lkpetrolino), Founder of Flying Pig Communications

“Statistics show that the average executive wastes 6 weeks a year just looking for things.  That means, your environment is significantly important to your success.  With the business environment moving at a record pace, we cannot afford to lose that kind of time to simply looking for things!

Tools essential for me to be consistently productive:
* My trusted team – people are our biggest asset.
* Documented business systems – there are no questions about what to do next when procedures are documented.
* An effective Action System – allows me to stay focused on the things I need to do to move my business forward.
* Paper Tiger! http://www.FindInFiveSeconds.com – allows me to locate any file (and many other physical items) in a moment’s notice.
* My CRM system – documenting conversations w/ prospects and clients and having it in a system that I can access easily to move business forward is critical.
* A focus on Priorities and “Next Action” – today it is really easy to get distracted and work on things that are not going to move your business forward.  Making sure I know what my long range and short range priority projects are and then taking the “next action” to move me towards completion ensures my mind is productive too.”

Stephanie LH Calahan (@stephcalahan), Founder of Calahan Solutions

“No-one asked Hemingway what typewriter he used to write his novels, right. In the same way, the tools you use are just that – tools. One way to lose time is to get fixated on a shiny, new object, like the iPad for example.

Does it help or hinder?

That’s the bottom line. For me, I refine my workflow making it simpler and more easy to execute.

Why?

Because I know myself… and I know I like those shiny objects. To control ‘easily distracted Ivan’ I keep things super simple. Otherwise ‘we’ both lose.”

Ivan Walsh (@IvanWalsh), Creator of The Web Business Plan

“My work environment is critical for my productivity.  Like they say, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.  But even more than a neat work area, I need a quiet environment without distraction so that I can focus on one thing at a time.  No phones, no Skype, no email dinging in my ear.  Otherwise, I will waste far too much time and severely decrease my productivity.”

Stephanie Padovani (@bookmorebrides), Co-founder of Book More Brides

“This is a very difficult question for me because the answer varies depending on what I am trying to accomplish.  If I’m doing something very technical, building a complex Excel model or programming my website, I prefer a quiet environment with limited distractions.  However if I’m writing my blog posts, or brainstorming ideas for future products, I like music, and activity.  The one constant for me, coffee. Keep me supplied with coffee and I can rival the Energizer Bunny.”

Nicole Fende (@BizFinanceForum), President of Small Business Finance Forum

“Your work environment is very important. There are 9 environments, and as I tell my clients and participants on my calls, your environments must support what you do.

Two of the most important characteristics of an unstoppable woman or woman entrepreneur is that of being persistent and consistent.

To be consistently productive again your environment needs to support what you do. That includes your physical, personal and spiritual environment, and there are 6 more. You need to be clear on your vision, goals, have the right mindset, be laser focused, faith-full and embrace Divine influence. These are just a few of the essentials. Oh one more thing… systems. Tweak your systems to make sure they are effective and allowing you to realize the results that you want.”

Robin Tramble (@empowermentdiva), CEO of Robin Tramble Authentic Life Empowerment International

“Work environment is CRUCIAL!  Productivity is a direct result of positive, supportive, fun and even structured work spaces.  When these are combined with regular feedback on agreed to job functions everyone wins!

What is essential for consistent productivity?

People aren’t productive many times because they aren’t happy.  The top reasons people aren’t happy at work are as follows.  They:

1.    Don’t feel appreciated or recognized
2.    Don’t have authority
3.    Don’t make enough money
4.    Don’t feel in on things or like they matter
5.    Don’t know what’s expected or how they’re doing relative to what’s expected
6.    Don’t have fun

On our teams we’ve discovered that when we help a person find their calling, purpose, gift or anointing and allow them to make more money with it… not only are all of the above needs met, productivity SKY ROCKETS!!!!”

Donna Krech (@donnakrech), Founder of Donna Krech & Co.

“It really depends on what I need to get done. I think that the most important thing is to know yourself and what you need.  I can function exceptionally well in a noisy space doing certain tasks, but others I need to be alone in a quiet space, it really just depends on the task. One thing is a constant must for me, I need to move!  It doesn’t matter if I am in an office by myself, on my couch with the tv on or in flexible office space with noise all around, I’ve learned what makes me most productive is getting up and moving around.  I make it a rule not to sit still for over a half hour if possible.  Whether it’s grabbing water or going to the restroom I look for excuses to get my body moving, which then makes my mind move.”

Amanda Pouchot (@amandapouchot), Co-Founder of Pretty Young Professional


My sincere gratitude to our 8 experts, who took time out of their busy schedules to contribute to this post. Openly sharing your expertise and experiences is a huge asset to this blog and the readership. I wish you all a wonderful week and hope to see you here again.

This week’s question is –

For entrepreneurs, planning is vital to ongoing business success. What elements are crucial to your planning, and how far do you project?

Why should I join the discussion?

Because this online forum is a great place for us to exchange ideas, learn from each other and network.  My goal is to unite successful women entrepreneurs to share our insights and solutions to the challenges we most commonly face in our businesses.

How do I get involved?

Every Monday I will post a new Question of the Week. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your expertise to the table.  Using the NEW link below, please submit a one paragraph response by Saturday, and the following week I will share our community responses on my blog.

To submit your response CLICK HERE

I look forward to your response to this week’s question! If you have any questions you know where to find me. Have a great week!

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