Time Flies, Home Inspectors…

Especially at work. To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your work day, we dug through study after study to figure out how home inspectors and other small business owners can increase their productivity without putting in more hours. Here’s what we found.

 

Quit Multitasking

Running your own home inspection business means being the lead home inspector, chief marketing agent, secretary, accountant and janitor, but doing those things at once could cost you productivity. Research from the University of Utah shows that the 97.5% of people are less productive and more prone to make mistakes when multitasking. A separate study on media multitasking from Stanford researchers proved the same theory.

 

“Heavy multitaskers are lousy at multitasking… The more you do it, the worse you get,” Stanford communications professor Clifford Nass told Reuters.

 

One theory as to why multitasking doesn’t work is that it’s not actually possible says MIT neuroscience professor Earl Miller. In an interview with NPR, Miller stated, “You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”

 

Instead of doing multiple things at once, workers can increase their productivity by simply focusing on one duty at a time.

 

Track Your Time

Even when we think we’re working, oftentimes we’re not science shows. A survey from Microsoft shows that American workers only spend 60% of their work time actually doing their jobs. That means that in a five day work week, only three days are devoted to work. The rest gets eaten up by endless meetings, personal tasks, e-mail, office chit chat and other unnecessary distractions. The situation is so bad that researchers in London conclude that distractions such as phone calls, e-mails and text messages can slow workers down even more than marijuana.

 

One of the simplest ways to up your productivity is to track your time and budget it out the way you would money. Working in smaller, focused bursts can result in more output than spending eight hours enveloped in non-essential tasks.

 

Get Happy

Increasing your productivity has just as much to do with how you operate outside the office as it does with what you do in it. A joint survey from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, and Nic Marks of the New Economics Foundation showed that employees who are happy are 31% more productive and generated 37% higher sales than those who weren’t.

 

Unsurprisingly, productivity is also linked to sleep, stress levels, overall health and how much vacation workers took. Study after study after study shows that those who treated their bodies and brains like machines that don’t need rest fared much poorer in the long run than those who took breaks. Research by Fairleigh Dickson University shows that more than half of all lost work days can be directly attributed to job stress and 75% to 90% of all doctor visits are due to stress-related conditions. The problem has gotten so dire that companies such as Hubspot and The Motley Fool offer unlimited vacation days to ensure that their employees stay rested and productive.

 

Unlimited vacation days may not be possible for home inspectors and property managers running their own show, but taking time to unplug is. Instead of grinding your body to the ground, think of that break as the smartest business move you can make.

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