National Business Women’s Day is September 22nd. Women have made substantial progress in industry since the holiday was freshly-minted in 1949 — and even greater progress since the mid-‘80s when this day was officially recognized by Congress, honoring the 68 million women in the American workforce and nearly 8 million female business owners.
While women such as Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Stewart, and Oprah have commanded the respect of their peers and the world at-large, there are still countless other women who aren’t quite as recognizable who make considerable contributions to their own respective industries. They balance a strong work ethic with a vibrant home and social life, and are constantly trying to improve themselves and the world around them.
In honor of the ladies who run their own business or keep other businesses running smoothly on a daily basis, we’ve collected a number of organizational tips and productivity tools used by successful women in business from around the country.
Productivity Tools of the Trade… Whatever Trade That May Be
You can’t learn how to be productive or organized, but you can certainly use a few tools to help keep you on-track to knocking out tasks.
The Google suite of apps is popular with a number of professionals due to the fact that it allows for collaboration on-the-fly and that you can share working documents with other co-workers. Erin Konrad, Content Developer and Social Media Manager for CouponPal, works from home, so this sort of functionality is incredibly useful to her. “I need tools that can help keep me on-task and organized. With Google Apps and Google Calendar, I can schedule meetings, set up tasks with deadlines, and generally keep on top of things.” However, Google apps aren’t her only secret weapon. Erin confessed that “Diet Coke keeps me productive when I’m feeling sluggish in the afternoon!”
When you’ve got a million and one things on your mind, it can be important to not worry about whether you’re forgetting something. There are some great apps on the market that can help you do just that.
Dr. Lennox McNeary, co-owner of The Mommy Doctors Bakery and Milkin’ Cookies, is a busy woman. She’s a mother, a physician, and a small business owner. Dr. McNeary pointed to an app called Sooner to help her prioritize her tasks. “It’s so intuitive and easily displays multiple projects simultaneously. I can add a task as soon as I think of it and include as much or as little detail as I need, and then clear that space in my brain. Sooner also has a ‘magic button’ that will prioritize tasks in time blocks if you want.”
Making good use of your time and apportioning out tasks can be a great way to visualize what needs to be done, when, and how much effort and time needs to be spent on a project. You know yourself and your best work pace best. But an app can help you stay scheduled when you’ve got a ton on your plate.
Maintaining Your Tools
Since many productivity apps are often associated with computers or handheld tech devices, such as smartphones, routine maintenance of these tools is important to staying on top of things. Defragging your drive, upgrading its memory, or upgrading your operating system on your phone or computer may help you out in the long run. It can really throw a wrench in your productivity to sit down at your desk, ready to knock out your to-do list… And then find your computer or smartphone moving slower than a turtle on Thorazine.
Kelly Sasso of Crucial.com suggested that “There are a number of reasons why your computer could be moving at its frustratingly glacial pace. But a quick memory upgrade is a likely and simple solution to its speed problem — not to mention the company money you’ll save by avoiding buying a pricey new computer and throwing out the old one!.
Changes in Attitude and Changes in Latitude
While there are numerous gadgets and gizmos that can help you to be more organized and more productive, let’s not overlook your biggest asset in the work day equation: YOU and your work environment.
Sometimes, a change of scenery can do wonders for your productivity. Carly Fauth, Head of Marketing for the personal finance blog Money Crashers, said that “I find that switching up my work environment from time to time helps me to be more productive. I might hit up a local park, or even a coffee shop. Exercising on my lunch hour also refreshes me and allows me to finish up my day strong.”
Carly also mentioned guarding against overdoing multi-tasking. “Multi-tasking” may be a bit of a workplace buzzword that borders on a saintlike-virtue, however, Carly cautioned that “multi-tasking should only be used when knocking out minor items like checking emails or quick phone calls. When I try to multi-task more major responsibilities, I typically get less done.”
Paula Rizzo, a NYC-based blogger, Emmy-winning senior TV producer, and author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed, also placed importance of encouraging others to respect your time. “Never pick up your phone,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for years and it’s like a magic wand. I only answer the phone when the person has scheduled that time to speak with me. That way, I’m totally focused on the task and not being interrupted. Often times, as soon as you pick up the phone for a call, you are thrown off track for what you were working on and lose precious time.”
This September 22nd, take a moment to recognize the wise women in your workplace and world. Regardless of gender, there’s a lot we can all learn from one another and do to help one another succeed.