5 Strategies to Help You Stay Focused and Productive



Last Updated: Apr 19, 2013
No matter how much you spend on marketing, or how great your customer service is, if your productivity is suffering, so will your bottom line. Here are five things you can do to help yourself stay focused and productive.

Hunger, noise, temperature, surroundings, energy level and overall health.

All of these impact how well you function, your productivity and the quality of your work. It doesn’t matter what your business plan or marketing strategy is, the one thing that will make or break your bottom line is your productivity. Because of this I spend as much time with my clients talking about these things as I do about their business. Unless these fundamentals are in place and working FOR you and not against you nothing else you do is going to work.There are many things that you can do to help set yourself up for success.

I’m going to share the five strategies I use most often to make sure that my focus and productivity stay where I want them to be.

Lower the volume!

Noise can come from many sources. Phones ringing, television or radio playing in the background, people talking around you, windows open and outdoor noises coming in. I know that sometimes the noise can help you. Sometimes you may like music playing while you work, sometimes you may enjoy the idle chatter of people around you. For instance, I like to sit in Starbucks and write. However, it’s important to recognize when the noise is a distraction. That same noise in Starbucks makes it impossible for me to do detail work like editing or preparing a presentation.

Creature comforts.

Fresh air, a clean space, comfortable clothing, a supportive chair, a cup of tea, light. There is nothing worse than trying to focus on a project when you’re thinking about your aching feet or hurting back. You need to be comfortable to be productive. I always have a cup of herbal tea or bottle of water on hand. I wear cozy slippers in the winter and open my windows as often as possible. Oh and I NEVER work in the dark.

Wake up!

I’m not talking about caffeine here, and yes you should get the sleep you need. What I’m talking about is knowing how you function and when you are naturally more alert. Work on more difficult things during those times of day. I’m a morning person. When I work on projects late at night it’s always much harder and I always make mistakes.

Feel good.

I am not a nutritionist or an exercise guru. What I do know is that when I eat well and exercise regularly, I feel better. When I feel better I can focus on the work I am doing easier and this has a direct impact on the revenue I bring in. The other thing that exercise does for me… since I usually work out at a gym, I see and interact with people regularly and get out from behind my computer!

Check out your view.

In part this is about cleaning up your space and getting rid of the piles. If you have piles around you there’s no way you can be fully present with the work you are doing. However, there’s more to it than that. Ideally you want to work somewhere where there’s a window and natural light. Put up a picture or two that make you smile. Bring in fresh flowers or a plant. One thing I have hanging in my office is the medal I got from the duathlon I participated in, as well as my number from the 5K I ran in. The important thing to do is to give yourself a place to look that will recharge you and make you smile when you look up from your work.What are some of your strategies for setting yourself up for success?

There is always something you can do to help minimize the distractions around you. It’s up to you to decide if what you’re getting from the distraction is worth it.

Carrie Greene is a speaker, trainer, coach and author of Chaos to Cash. She helps entrepreneurs cut through the confusion and chaos surrounding them so they make decisions, stop spinning and procrastinating and make more money. Free resources at http://carriegreenecoaching.com/

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Should You Purchase or Lease Business Equipment?

Should You Purchase or Lease Business Equipment?



Last Updated: Sep 5, 2018
Which is better, leasing or buying expensive equipment or machinery for your business? Here are the factors you need to consider to determine the best option for your company.

If you’re buying expensive office electronics, lab equipment, heavy machinery or other items for your business, one of the first questions  to ask is whether you should lease or buy what you needIf you have the cash, making an outright purchase is the simplest way to proceed, but could possibly lead to cash flow problems down the road. The other options – leasing the necessary equipment or taking out a purchase loan – spread the cost over a period of time but increase the total amount you pay for use of the equipment. There are distinct advantages to each system, and different scenarios where one acquisition method should be favored over another.

There are two broad types of leases: True leases (called operating leases), through which you rent the equipment for a set period of time, and capital leases, through can acquire the equipment (often by making some additional payment) at the end of the lease term. The two types of leases are treated differently for tax purposes. With an operating lease you don’t own the equipment, so you deduct the leasing fee each month as a regular business expense. You are not entitled to any depreciation deductions.  With a capital lease, the equipment is treated for tax purposes as though you have purchased it.  

Generally speaking, leasing any given piece of equipment is more expensive than buying it outright. Despite this cost difference, there are many good reasons to lease. If the items you are considering purchasing run the risk of becoming obsolete before the end of their usable life, an operating lease could be a good option (provided the lease term isn’t longer than the expected useable life.) This is true for goods such as computers (when you need to acquire several at a time) or other electronics that rapidly become outdated. Signing a lease agreement means that at the end of the lease agreement you give back the equipment, and then buy or lease newer models. You won’t have the carrying costs associated with aging assets that may break down or need repair. (But if you still need the equipment, you’ll need to replace it, and transfer over any related items such as software, documents, store data, etc.)

There are also several financial incentives to an operating lease. Unlike a purchase loan, an operating lease agreement may require little or no down payment, conserving cash. The operating lease payments are written off as a business expense on your tax return, another benefit to leasing.

 While these two monetary benefits can make leasing an attractive option, it is important to keep in mind the length of the lease term. If your business needs change suddenly and you need new or different equipment, you may be forced to pay hefty early termination fees to break your lease. As a general rule, if you plan to use the equipment for five years or less and there is a good chance of obsolescence, an operating lease may be a good choice.

If, however, you plan on using your equipment for over five years, and it holds its value well, then you should consider purchasing it using either a capital lease or a bank loan. Purchasing equipment also allows the owner to customize it, and easily sell or trade it (after it’s paid for) if the business’s needs change. With either a capital lease or a loan, you will be liable for all payments. Your accountant should be able to help you determine whether a bank loan or a capital lease is the best option for your needs.

When taking a loan to purchase equipment, a down payment is may be required, and the upfront costs may be higher than leasing. However, the lifetime cost of the equipment may be lower than when the same item is leased. Furthermore, you won’t be forced to give up the equipment on a predetermined date.  

While buying equipment is cheaper in the longer term and offers the benefits of flexibility and captured equity, there are some risks associated with the outright purchase of equipment. Namely, if the equipment suddenly become obsolete and needs to be replaced, or the land or other assets you purchased decline in value, you may be left in a position where you owe more on the loan than the asset is worth.

Buying and leasing business equipment offers both costs and benefits. Cash flow is a major consideration, as well as the expected length of use, and the tax implications of a purchase or lease. Your business should determine the cost effectiveness of both approaches, and proceed with the option that best fits your needs and cash on hand. Talk to your accountant before you make any decisions and let him or her advise you based on your business finances and the tax implications of leasing vs purchasing the equipment.

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