When GTD Goes Too Far: How To Avoid Productivity Paranoia

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:34am by Site Administrator

Anyone interested in improving their productivity has no doubt heard about the Getting Things Done philosophy. Created by

David Allen

, this workflow program advocates a five step process to getting your daily to-dos under control. For many, it’s helped them turn their chaotic and unproductive work hours around and get their careers and jobs under control. But for others, productivity management has taken over their lives and their well being. If you feel yourself slipping into this kind of productivity paranoia, it’s not too late to salvage your sanity and your productivity. Here are some tips for getting your obsession under control.

  • Stop wishing you had more time. You can only fit so many tasks into so many hours in the day. Having one or two more hours isn’t going to make you any happier in the long run. If you’re going to plan your time, plan for the time you do have, not what you don’t have. Assign yourself an appropriate amount of tasks for each day that you can actually get done. If this means some things don’t get tended to, so be it. It’s not the end of the world.
  • Don’t quantify your output. You may feel good about getting more things done in a day, but getting more done isn’t really what it’s all about. The quality of your work is what really matters, and chances are pretty good that if you’re clamoring to cram in as much as you can, the quality of each of those tasks is suffering. Instead, pride yourself on the quality of the work you’ve gotten done each day.
  • Take a break. That’s right, take a break, as in stop working. When you get things done ahead of schedule or just have a few spare minutes, don’t try to cram them full with even more tasks. Reward yourself with some time away from your desk and your omnipresent task list. If you can’t bear to just do nothing, then add break times to your to-do list so you can check them off as if you’ve accomplished an important task.
  • Realize that getting more done isn’t the only thing that makes you an asset. Do you brag to others about how much you work or how much you managed to fit in one day? This shouldn’t be the quality by which you define your worth as an employee or a person. Being a hard worker is a great quality to have, but if you’ve become paranoid about your productivity, chances are you’ve taken it too far. Loyalty, creativity, and good leadership skills also help to make a great worker, so take a few minutes to reflect on what other assets you bring to the table besides your ability to multitask.
  • Stop the guilt trip. Didn’t get to everything on your list today? Don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re only human, after all, and even the best of us can’t meet goals that are unrealistic. Stop making yourself feel guilty for everything you didn’t get done and start thinking about all the things that you did get done instead. Chances are that you’re not giving yourself credit for having done a whole lot of work.
  • Narrow down what works for you. There are literally hundreds of GTD techniques out there, so many, in fact, that you could spend days reading about them. Many addicted to productivity spend an awful lot of time trying to find ways to squeeze extra minutes out of their days. Whether you use sticky note reminders or an elaborate online to-do list setup, find what works for you and stick with it. You’ll save yourself the stress of worrying that you could be using a better method and you’ll get the extra time to spend connecting with friends or doing small tasks.
  • Enjoy your time away from work. Many who are used to days crammed with back-to-back tasks find it hard to take a load off and enjoy a quiet evening at home with family or a vacation that doesn’t involve staying in constant contact with the office. The reality is that we all need a break and working too hard can lead to numerous stress related illnesses that can not only put a crimp in your productivity but in your health and well-being as well. Change your mindset when you leave the office and let yourself enjoy just doing nothing if only for a few hours a day.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments. For many addicted to getting things done, the to-do list is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it helps motivate and keep track of what you need to accomplish. On the other, it can make you feel terrible if you don’t check off every box by the end of the day. Break out of this guilt and let yourself relish in your sense of accomplishment for what you have gotten done instead of what there is still to do. Attempting to tackle everything is an unrealistic goal, as there will always be more work to do, so work your hardest, finish what you can and let that be enough.
  • Make things simple. If you know you have to get something done, you don’t always have to write it down or make sure it gets put into your PDA. Sometimes, the most productive solution is to just do it. For many, letting go of the lists and the calendars can be hard, but it can also help you to break the habit of turning your life into a to-do list instead of something you should be enjoying.
  • Time is worth more than money. You might pride yourself on working hard for every dollar that you earn, but at the end of the day those dollars don’t mean much if you don’t have guilt-free time away from work to enjoy them. Time spent with people you care about or doing things you love is just as valuable as time spent completing lengthy to-do lists. Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to make yourself feel bad for not checking off each one of those tasks.

Being productive is great, but when it starts causing you to stress out endlessly, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate. There will always be more to do, and basing your happiness on getting more done in a day is going to result in disappointment. Make your to-dos manageable, and make time for the things that really matter in life, like family, friends, and enjoying the benefits of all that hard work. In the end, that’s what being truly productive is all about.

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Calculate This! 100 Financial Calculators Every Entrepreneur Needs

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 1:27pm by Site Administrator

By Eliza Morgan

Many entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a separate accounting department, instead doing their own number crunching. It’s not always easy, but you can make it less difficult by making use of the huge number of free financial tools for businesses that are available on the Internet. Here are 100 calculators that can help you get and keep your finances in order.

Business Operations

Don’t get caught off guard by the unexpected financial pitfalls of owning a business. Keep one step ahead with these useful business calculators.

  1. Break Even Analysis: Figure out how much you’re going to need to sell with your business just to break even. This can be helpful in creating a starting point for your sales goals.
  2. Business Valuation: Whether you are just curious, or want to sell your business, this calculator can help you determine the value. Just enter your cash flow and your expenses to get an estimate.
  3. Working Capital Needs: Find out what your business will need to keep going with this helpful calculator. It will take into account your short-term monetary obligations and figure out how much capital you’ll need so you won’t fall short.
  4. Financial Ratio: Sometimes there are areas of your business that will need special attention relative to others. Figure out what those are with this financial ratio calculator.
  5. Cash Flow: No matter what type of business you are in, keeping your cash flow in check is essential to a healthy business. See how much your business is generating with this calculator.
  6. Buying vs. Leasing: Sometimes it can be tough to figure out whether simply buying equipment you need will leave you better off in the long run than leasing. Put your costs into this calculator to find out which would suit your business’ needs best.
  7. Profit Margin: This calculator can help you determine how much you should be selling your products or services for to achieve a desired profit margin.
  8. Inventory Analysis: Keeping a not-too-little, but not-too-much balance of inventory can be tricky business. This calculator will help you figure out how to time your orders and how much to keep on hand.
  9. Sales Per Employee: Figure out what your salespeople are averaging with this simple calculator.
  10. Operating Profit Percentage: This calculator will help you compare your sales with what is left after the cost of your goods and operating costs.
  11. Return on Assets: See how well you’re managing your company with this calculator that compares net income to total assets. You’ll be able to find out how much you’re getting for every dollar.
  12. Debt to Assets: This calculator can help you determine to what extent your company is financed by loans and other sources of debt. The lower the number, the better your chances are of staying afloat financially.
  13. Starting Costs: Figure out the starting costs for your business idea before you start so there won’t be any surprises and you’ll know how much you’ll need to get things off the ground.
  14. Conversion Rate: Unsure how updating or changing your website will or did impact your business? Use this calculator to see how improving your online sales can affect your business.
  15. Pay Per Click ROI: Are your pay per click ad campaigns really paying off? See if your advertising is worth the investment with this calculator.
  16. Email ROI: The same goes for your email ad campaigns. This calculator will let you know if you’re generating enough sales or if you need to find another marketing strategy.
  17. Business Location, to Rent or Buy: Use this calculator to find out if your business would profit more from renting a location or buying one outright.
  18. SAP Value Calculator: The SAP Value Calculator for midsize business reveals how strong your business is today and how much additional value you can gain by improving your infrastructure.
  19. Double Your Money: Determine how long it will take you to double your money with this simple calculator.

Loans

Unless you’re bootstrapping it, or you’ve come into quite a financial windfall, it’s likely that your business will need a few loans to get up and running. Here are some calculators that can help you figure out how much you can borrow and what your payments will be.

  1. Commercial Loan: This calculator can help you determine your debt service coverage with a new loan, which can in turn help you determine if you’ll be approved.
  2. Alternative Payment Frequencies: If you’re not sure what payment method will work out best for your loan, try out different combinations with this calculator.
  3. Amortizing Loan: Use this calculator to determine how much money you can borrow based on the monthly payment you can afford.
  4. Balloon Loan: This calculator can help you determine if a balloon loan (short term but payments are based over 15 year period) might be better for you than a standard loan.
  5. Credit Line: Not sure how much money you can qualify for? Your line of credit is based on the value or your business or home and this calculator can do the math for you.
  6. Enhanced Loan Calculator: This calculator makes it easy to change all the elements involved with getting a loan (monthly payment, amount of loan, interest rate) to find the best combination for your business.
  7. Existing Loan: If your business already has an outstanding loan, you can use this calculator to determine how much longer you’ll be paying on them based on your balance and the amount of your monthly payments.
  8. Loan Comparison: Don’t let loans confuse you with different rates and terms. Compare loans directly with this calculator.
  9. Loan Prequalification: Use this calculator as an initial step in determining what kind of loans you can qualify for.
  10. Small Business Loan: Determine the best monthly payments on your small business loan with this useful calculator designed especially for businesses.
  11. Loan or Line of Credit: Use this calculator from Bank of America to find out if you should get a loan or a line of credit for your business start up or expansion.
  12. Term of Loan: Determine what length of loan you should apply for using this simple calculator.
  13. Blended Rate Calculator: Calculate the effective interest rate on multiple loans.
  14. Loan and Line Payment: Use this calculator to determine the amount of money you’ll be making as payments on your loan or line of credit.

Debt Management

Don’t let your loans get out of hand. Use these calculators to figure out the best way to pay back your loans and other debts.

  1. Business Debt Consolidation: Have multiple business credit cards or loans holding debt for your company? Use this calculator to find out if you’d be better off consolidating your debts into one monthly payment.
  2. Credit Assessment: Get a quick credit assessment with this easy-to-use calculator.
  3. Accelerated Debt Payoff: Get rid of your debt even faster using this calculator which will help you create a debt payment plan that can potentially save you money in interest fees.
  4. Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator: While it might seem easier to just pay the minimum on your credit card balance, it can end up potentially costing your business thousands more. This calculator can help you determine the true cost of minimum payments.
  5. Credit Card Optimizer: This calculator helps you create the best distribution of your credit card debt to minimize how much you’ll pay out.
  6. Credit Card Payoff: Want to eliminate your credit card debt? This calculator will show you what it will take to pay off those cards.
  7. How much do you owe?: Not sure how much debt you actually have? Use this calculator to figure out where to begin paying off your debts by finding out where you stand.
  8. Credit Card Debt Roll-Down: You can get your debt under control and keep your business afloat. Here you’ll find a calculator that will help you determine what debts to pay off first to get you on the road to financial freedom.
  9. Credit Card Calculator: Choosing the right business credit card can make a big difference in the financial future of your business. Use this calculator to make the decision a little easier.

Investment

Make your business and personal investment tracking easy with these investment calculators.

  1. Asset Allocator: Whether you’re investing for your business or handling your personal finances, this calculator can help you determine the best way to spread out your money.
  2. Compare Investment Fees: Investing can pay off in the long run, but it often comse with some fees that can add up over time. Use this calculator to see what you’ll be paying over the lifetime of your investments.
  3. Investment Loan: Thinking of making a substantial business investment? Use this calculator to help you figure out if it’s a smart move.
  4. Investment Returns: See the big picture with this calculator that shows the impact of inflation, taxes and time horizon on your investments.
  5. Taxable vs. Tax Advantaged Investments: If you’re not sure what kind of investment is best for you, use this calculator to see the different between taxed, tax deferred and tax-free investments.
  6. Investment Savings and Distributions: Whether you’re designing retirement plans for yourself, clients or employees, use this calculator to determine how long your investment will last once you start cashing in.
  7. Interest Rate Converter: Compare the dividends from several interest rates at once with this calculator.
  8. Investment Offering: Use this tool to see both sides of the investment coin. You can calculate what investors in your company will get and what your company will have to give up to accommodate them.
  9. Landlord Calculator: Real estate can be a good investment, but is it the right one for you? Use this calculator to find out if being a landlord could be a moneymaker for you.
  10. Self Employed Retirement Calculator: This calculator will let you determine the maximum contribution you can make to your self employed 401(k).
  11. Risk Tolerance: Determine what kind of investments will be best for you based on how much of a risk you’re willing to take with this online calculator.
  12. Investment Goal Calculator: Make sure your investments are on track with this calculator.
  13. IRA Stretch Calculator: Stretch your retirement savings as far as they will go with this calculator.

Taxes

Unfortunately, taxes are an inevitable part of any business’ day to day life. These online tools will help make paying them just a little more painless.

  1. 1040 Tax Calculator: Keep up with your personal taxes using this calculator.
  2. 457 Payroll Deductions: Not sure how much of a difference changing your withholding will make? Use this calculator to figure out the difference before you make the change.
  3. Estate Tax Planning: Don’t let your children or grandchildren get burned by the estate tax. Determine what you’ll be liable for long before it becomes an issue.
  4. Net to Gross Paycheck Calculator: This calculator will help you learn what you need to earn each paycheck to meet a net amount.
  5. Self-Employment Taxes: Self-employed individuals are subject to different taxes, so use this calculator to figure out what you can expect to pay.
  6. Home Office Deduction: For those running a business from home, this calculator can help you determine if you can use your home or business costs as deductions on your taxes.
  7. Marginal and Effective Tax Rate Calculator: Estimating what percentage of your income old Uncle Sam is going to demand at the end of the year is essential to avoiding that end of the year tax surprise. Instead, this calculator will allow you to estimate the amount which will give you time to sock the necessary amount away.
  8. Gross Up Calculator: Use this calculator to determine the payroll taxes that should be deducted from bonuses and taxable benefits given to employees.

Personnel

Make the business of doing your payroll easier with these free calculators.

  1. Paycheck Calculator: Help calculate your or your employees’ take home pay after taxes and other deductions.
  2. Wage Conversion: Save yourself the mental acrobatics when converting wages from one periodic term into another (weeks, days, months, etc), making comparison and rates easy to calculate.
  3. Aggregate Bonus Calculator: Figure out an employee’s annual bonus with this calculator.
  4. Flat Percentage Bonus Calculator: Another bonus calculator, this one is based on a flat percentage instead.
  5. 401(k) Planner: Get your financial future on track with this 401k planning calculator.
  6. Salary Wizard: Find out if you’re earning what you’re worth as a freelancer or if you’re paying your employees enough with this salary calculator.
  7. Office Space Calculator: Not sure how much space you’ll need? This calculator will let you know how many square feet you’ll need for your business based on the number of employees you have.
  8. Annual Stock Option Grants: Use this calculator to see how your and your employees stock options might improve over time.

Personal Finance

Don’t lose track of your personal finances because you’re too busy with your business finances. Make use of these simple tools to manage your finances at home.

  1. Checkbook Balancer: Keep your personal budget balanced with this quick and easy calculator.
  2. Home Budget Analysis: Keeping track of where your money goes can be hard as it often goes out as fast as it comes in. Use this budget analysis tool to get a handle on your spending.
  3. Life Expectancy: Get an idea of how much you’ll need to plan for with this life expectancy calculator. Based on your health and lifestyle it will give you an estimate of your life expectancy.
  4. Net Worth: Determine your net value and how it can change with this calculator.
  5. Should my spouse work?: For many couples, especially those with children, the decision for one spouse to stay at home can be a hard one. See if your spouse can afford to stay home or should go to work with this calculator.
  6. Social Security Benefits: Get an estimate of your potential social security benefits with this calculator.
  7. Roth IRA Calculator: See how investing in an Roth IRA compares with taxable investments.
  8. Retirement Planner: Keep your retirement plan on track with this easy-to-use calculator.
  9. Retirement Income: How much will you have to live on when you retire? Use this calculator to figure out what your retirement savings will provide you with.
  10. 457 Savings Calculator: Use this calculator to figure out if a 457 savings plan can help you create a better retirement.
  11. Cost of Living Calculator: Compare the cost of living between different cities in the United States.
  12. Earning Potential: This calculator can help you estimate how much you can expect to earn over the course of your lifetime and what you can do to make the most of that money.
  13. Human Life Calculator: Use this calculator to determine how much life insurance you should be carrying.

Miscellaneous

It seems like there’s a calculator out there for everything, and here are a few more that can help you with your business.

  1. Basic Calculator: Meet your most basic calculator needs anywhere you have internet access with this online calculator.
  2. Basic Financial Calculator: This financial calculator can do all kinds of simple financial calculations.
  3. Compound Interest: Determine the compound interest on your holdings in a savings or investment account.
  4. Future Value: This calculator is used to determine what a sum of money deposited today will be worth at some point in the future based on a specific discount interest rate.
  5. Present Value: This calculator is used to determine what a sum of money to be received in a future year is worth in today’s dollars based on a specific discount interest rate.
  6. Music Business Profit/Loss Calculator: For those trying to make a music business or band the sole source of income, here’s a calculator that will help you determine which gigs are worth it and which you should pass up.
  7. Postage Calculator: Figure out how much you’ll need to spend on postage for bulk mailings or to send products to customers with this calculator from the US Postal Service.
  8. Carbon Dioxide Calculator: Environmentally conscious businesses can use this calculator to figure out the amount of carbon dioxide released by business operations and take measures to offset it.
  9. Best Workplace for Commuters Calculator: Also for the green business, this calculator will give you an estimate of the financial, environment, and traffic benefits of joining the Best Workplace for Commuters program.
  10. Small Business Safety Calculator: Workplace related injuries can be costly. This calculator can help you understand just how much you’ll owe even with accident insurance in place.
  11. Calculator.com: Find all kinds of calculators on this one convenient site, everything from lease calculators to feet into inches.
  12. Currency Converter: Doing business overseas is easy with this currency conversion calculator.
  13. How long til you become a millionaire? Use this calculator to find out how long it will take you to make the millions you’ve been working so hard for.
  14. Time Value Calculator: Figure out what your time is worth with this calculator that takes into account your spending habits and taxes.
  15. Gas Guzzling Calculator: Commuting to the office or to meet with clients? Find out how much the price of gas is hurting your bottom line with this calculator.
  16. Movie Star Comparison Calculator: See how your business revenues compare to the salaries of the biggest celebs with this just for fun calculator.
  17. Coffee Habit: See how much that morning Starbucks is really costing you with this calculator; money you could be putting in your business or your savings account.