A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

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

Updated: Dec. 21, 2022

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

1 / 46
Business team meeting present.professional investor working with new startup project. Finance managers task.Digital tablet laptop computer design smart phone in morning light

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.

2 / 46
Documents in the office : Find the file in the drawer : Woman working hand searching for file in drawer, filing cabinet.

File and eliminate

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

3 / 46
Close Up of woman hands using mobile phone and laptop computer with blank copy space screen for your advertising text message or content business in the Vintage effect.
mansong suttakarn/Shutterstock

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.)

4 / 46
Woman Writing in a Notebook. Selective focus small depth of field and natural light.

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.

5 / 46
Beautiful young woman laying down on bed and using laptop. She is surfing on the net and checking social media.

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.

6 / 46
Place of work. Close-up top view of comfortable working place in office with wooden table and laptop laying on it

Visualize your day

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

7 / 46
Businessman Reading Newspaper Drinking Coffee Concept

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.

8 / 46
closeup of a young caucasian man drinking a green detox smoothie served in a glass jar at the office

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.

9 / 46
Cropped image of creative female secretary creating planning for executive noting important meeting and events organizing work of busy boss while sitting at working place in coworking office

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.

10 / 46
Calender Planner Organization Management Remind Concept

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.

11 / 46
Close up shot of hands of woman sticking adhesive notes on glass wall in office
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

One step at a time

Take on just one new activity at a time. When you try to master too many new activities at once, you can easily feel overwhelmed. (If you’re looking for a new job, don’t make these resume mistakes that could get you rejected.)

12 / 46
Close up of a working desk with a notebook, pencil, coffee cup and eyeglasses
Devrim PINAR/Shutterstock

Write down your stressors

Carry a small notebook with you everywhere. This is your “worry” journal. When you feel stressed, whip it out and scribble down everything on your mind at that minute.

13 / 46
Two women discussing business projects in a cafe while having coffee
Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Take breaks throughout the day

It will help clear your mind and relieve pressure. Something as simple as going to the water cooler for a drink may do the trick.

14 / 46
Weekly Planner Schedule Memo Timeline Concept

Stay scheduled

If you are always running late, sit down with a pencil and paper and see how you are actually allotting your time. Adjusting your schedule can improve your time management skills, thus causing you to be on time.

15 / 46
Office worker typing email on tablet computer. The woman feels stressed and nervous, holds an antistress yellow ball in her hand
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock

Don’t stew

Instead, take it out on a small ball you keep in your desk. Squeeze it, throw it in the air, or even take it outside and bounce, throw and catch it until you feel better. (If you work from home, try these simple tricks to help you get more done.)

16 / 46
Close-up image of young professional female manager using laptop at her office, businesswoman working from home via portable computer, hipster girl freelancer writing on keyboard, flare light

Plan short- and long-term

Use a monthly calendar for short-term scheduling and a 6-month calendar for long-range scheduling. Pencil in all things that pertain to your goals, including classes you want to take, regular exercise sessions, social events, and family time.

17 / 46
Close-up of a business workplace with an organizer, a calculator and a cup of coffee
Dragon Images/Shutterstock


On a daily action list, categorize tasks: those that need immediate attention (you had better do them yourself), those that can be delegated, and those that can be put off. To avoid procrastination, tackle the toughest jobs first, breaking them into smaller, less daunting components.

18 / 46
Close up of a woman hand using a smart phone with laptop on a desk at office
Doidam 10/Shutterstock

Everything has to contribute to a goal

Free up time for the things you really want to do by simplifying your life. Let go of activities that don’t contribute to your goals.

19 / 46
Close up of female hands at workplace drawing something with colorful pencils. Project concept

Make use of wasted time

Reduce the waste—and frustration—of everyday delays. Wherever you go, take reading material or a portable music player. Then when you have to wait, you can make good use of or enjoy the time.

20 / 46
Close up of Businessman working on the desk and checking time on his wrist watch.
Trum Ronnarong/Shutterstock


Set aside a half-hour toward the end of the day to worry. Psychologist Roland Nathan believes that having a formal worrying time cuts down the amount of worrying you do. (These are signs that you’re in the wrong career.)

21 / 46
Close up of eye glasses on work desk with laptop at business workplace.
NIRUT RUPKHAM/Shutterstock

Be patient

Said one mom and wife: “I wanted everything done my way. I was unwilling to let go of any part of it until it was perfect. So I’ve had to learn to slow down. After a few years, I finally get it: Nothing happens overnight.”

22 / 46
Team of male and female IT developers using digital gadgets with mock up screen and wireless connection to install new software for modern devices downloading apps from web page standing in office

Share your knowledge

Make a point of sharing your knowledge with young professionals as well as high-level executives. Both will remember you for your time and consideration.

23 / 46
Woman working in home office hand on keyboard close up

Notice trends

Keep abreast of trends in your industry by joining professional associations, attending conferences, and reading newsletters and magazines. Take classes and attend training to learn from others in your field.

24 / 46
Office coffee break with two female colleagues sitting chatting over cups of coffee


Make networking with others in your field a priority. Schedule some time to meet for coffee or lunch or keep in touch via email and social networks.

25 / 46
Close up of male hands writing on green stickers. Man creating reminders

Keep yourself going

Learn the importance of giving yourself pep talks, and keep the voice in your head positive. Stay focused, and be willing to work as hard as you need to. (Follow these secrets to be a great manager.)

26 / 46
Close up man hands working with notebook computer on working table in home office. Can use for casual style business or freelance business concept.
Pitipat Usanakornkul/Shutterstock

Challenge yourself

Try to challenge yourself in new ways. Seek out complex work and new ideas to avoid boredom and repetition.

27 / 46
Female doctor hand hold silver pen filling patient history list at clipboard pad. Physical, exam, er, disease prevention, ward round, visit check, 911, prescribe remedy, healthy lifestyle concept

Take care of your health

Schedule that physical exam you’ve been putting off and make sure you get exercise and take care of any personal issues that are troubling you.

28 / 46
Selective focus on creative table and woman graphic design blur in background with vintage tone.

Keep positive

Hold the big picture in your sights. What’s gloomy for one can be a gold mine for another. (Make sure you avoid these office mistakes—unless you want your co-workers to hate you.)

29 / 46
Close up image of business man writing on an adhesive note at table in office, focus on hand and pen.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock


Create new products or services—or reconfigure old ones. Implement solutions that are valuable to your key customers.

30 / 46
Close up portrait of businessmen shaking hands
Odua Images/Shutterstock

Don’t do it alone!

Get support from family, friends, coaches, and fellow entrepreneurs.

31 / 46
Businessman hand using laptop and tablet with social network diagram and two colleagues discussing data on desk as concept in morning light.

Compare yourself to other companies

Perform an assessment of the market conditions to find out how you match up to other companies like yours, get clear on your financial position.

32 / 46
Coffee Shop Cafe Restaurant Friendship Togetherness Concept

Ask for input

Get input from your employees and customers or clients. They probably have a lot of ideas for how you could grow, and it might not have occurred to you to ask them. (These are the different types of toxic co-workers and how to deal with them.)

33 / 46
Business man working with documents at office desk in office.
Dmitry A/Shutterstock

Look polished

Project a consistent polished professional image, in order to send the message to the world that the quality of your product and/or service.

34 / 46
Close-up of businessman holding glasses and working on smartphone at his office, close-up of male hands using mobile phone, digital tablet and office tools on the desk

Prioritize your tasks

Make a list with categories like, what must get done; would you like to get done, what can wait until another time.

35 / 46
Group of businesspeople using a digital tablet together in front of office building windows overlooking the city


Take a step back and learn how to delegate. A great mantra is, “Don’t just do it, delegate it!”

36 / 46
Business People Meeting Design Ideas Concept

Find and identity

Develop a brand identity which will resonate with the customer and reflect the key aspects of the company, including not only its products, but its culture and goals.

37 / 46
Necessary things. Close-up of document folder, trendy glasses and box of pencils are on windowsill with young businessman is sitting in background and typing on laptop
Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Be a visionary

Picture what you would like your business to be like.

38 / 46
Businessmen working together at office desk, hands close up pointing out financial data. teamwork workplace strategy Concept.

Be committed to excellence

There will always be bumps in the road. It is a part of life and it is a part of business. The true test is how you and your company deal with them.

39 / 46
Office, work, business man, business, documents, hands, desktop, workflow.
Dmitry A/Shutterstock

Be innovative

Find innovative solutions to solve your problems. There are a million ways to grow your business. Find the smart, innovative ways that are best for you.

40 / 46
Close up asian Business man using a calculator to calculate the numbers.Business finances and accounting concept

It’s OK to make mistakes

Embrace your mistakes and learn from them.

41 / 46
Close-up of secretary?s hands doing paperwork

Failure is progress

Realize that failures are merely steps in our progress. For example, Thomas Edison made over 10,000 light bulbs before he made one that actually worked.

42 / 46
Close-up of documents, pen, cup of coffee on the table

Be prepared

Luck is the marriage of opportunity with preparedness. You obviously have the attitude part prepared—so the rest is actually doing the basic steps that lead to greatness. (Never say these 11 things at work.)

43 / 46
close up hand businesswoman using calculator for calculate finance accounting in office

Raise your prices

When pricing most business owners research their market, look at what their competition is charging, and find a happy medium between them.

44 / 46
Sign it here. Woman is standing in office and holding folder with contract while man in suit is signing it. Close up of hand with pan. Selective focus
Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Go for the luxury market

Find a target market that is willing to pay for premium prices. The luxury market is booming and every business should find a product to serve them.

45 / 46
Business people shaking hands, finishing up a meeting.


Three ways to grow any business: Get more clients; sell existing clients more often; and sell existing clients more stuff.

46 / 46
Business executives Team Meeting Brainstorming Working and marketing Concept
mojo cp/Shutterstock


Whether it is bartering or partnering with someone else, find the people who have what you need and is willing to collaborate with you. A true WIN/WIN situation can skyrocket a business! (Make sure you never say these things to your boss.)