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46 Simple Tips to Help Improve Your Business in Just One Day

These simple changes could make a world of a difference. Get advice and inspiration on how to start or grow your business.

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The rule of two

Be a more efficient time manager by using the rule of two. Focus on the two most important tasks in your day, and you’ll become more productive. (These little rules of business etiquette will help you to get ahead at work.)

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File and eliminate

Start a filing system and toss everything you don't need. Eliminating will make it easier to locate the important papers.

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Get a fast start

Limit your work-starting routine to 15 minutes. That is, don't spend more than 15 minutes getting coffee, settling in, reading e-mails, checking messages, or looking at newspapers. You are often at your freshest and most productive at the beginning of the day. (These surprising work habits make you look unprofessional.)

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Write two to-do lists

The first should contain everything that you need to get done soon. It should be a comprehensive list of short-, medium-, and long-term projects and work, and you should constantly adjust it. The second to-do list should be what you can reasonably expect to get done today, and today only.

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Note your challenges

Take a few moments to assess the day's emotional challenges. Almost as important as your to-do list is a "be prepared for" list. Inventory the tough phone calls, boring meetings, challenging customers, frustrating red tape, infuriating rush-hour drives, droning detail work, and other challenges you may face. (Try these effortless ways to reduce stress at work.)

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Visualize your day

Try starting each day by closing your eyes for 10 or 20 seconds and visualizing how you want it to go.

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Schedule some reading time

There's not a job that doesn't require at least some reading, be it about the company, the industry, the marketplace, the economy, the price of tomatoes, etc.

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Keep essentials nearby

Stock up on the following: low-fat granola bars; bottled water; bags of slow-dissolving mints or candy (helps prevent needless snacking); supplements, including a multivitamin, B-complex, C and E vitamins, and echinacea (good for when cold season hits or you forget to take vitamins at home); tissues, and family photos. (Do these simple things to help you stand out at work.)

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Be aware of stress

Embrace the number one truth about stress: Only you create it. Take some deep breaths. Make a list of everything that needs to get done. It will help you to organize your day.

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Prep for the day at night

Every night before bed, take five minutes to look over the day ahead. This brief look into the future will help you feel more prepared in the morning.

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