Hunger, noise, temperature, surroundings, energy level and overall health.  All of these impact how well you function, your productivity and the quality of your work.  It doesn't matter what your business plan or marketing strategy is, the one thing that will make or break your bottom line is your productivity.  Because of this I spend as much time with my clients talking about these things as I do about their business.  Unless these fundamentals are in place and working FOR you and not against you nothing else you do is going to work.

There are many things that you can do to help set yourself up for success.  I'm going to share the five strategies I use most often to make sure that my focus and productivity stay where I want them to be. 

  1. Lower the volume!  Noise can come from many sources.  Phones ringing, television or radio playing in the background, people talking around you, windows open and outdoor noises coming in.  I know that sometimes the noise can help you.  Sometimes you may like music playing while you work, sometimes you may enjoy the idle chatter of people around you.  For instance, I like to sit in Starbucks and write.  However, it's important to recognize when the noise is a distraction.  That same noise in Starbucks makes it impossible for me to do detail work like editing or preparing a presentation.
  2. Creature comforts.  Fresh air, a clean space, comfortable clothing, a supportive chair, a cup of tea, light.  There is nothing worse than trying to focus on a project when you're thinking about your aching feet or hurting back. You need to be comfortable to be productive.  I always have a cup of herbal tea or bottle of water on hand.  I wear cozy slippers in the winter and open my windows as often as possible.  Oh and I NEVER work in the dark.
  3. Wake up!  I'm not talking about caffeine here, and yes you should get the sleep you need. What I'm talking about is knowing how you function and when you are naturally more alert.  Work on more difficult things during those times of day.  I'm a morning person.  When I work on projects late at night it's always much harder and I always make mistakes.
  4. Feel good.  I am not a nutritionist or an exercise guru.  What I do know is that when I eat well and exercise regularly, I feel better.  When I feel better I can focus on the work I am doing easier and this has a direct impact on the revenue I bring in.  The other thing that exercise does for me...since I usually work out at a gym, I see and interact with people regularly and get out from behind my computer!
  5. Check out your view.  In part this is about cleaning up your space and getting rid of the piles.  If you have piles around you there's no way you can be fully present with the work you are doing.  However, there's more to it than that. Ideally you want to work somewhere where there's a window and natural light.  Put up a picture or two that make you smile.  Bring in fresh flowers or a plant.  One thing I have hanging in my office is the medal I got from the duathlon I participated in, as well as my number from the 5K I ran in.  The important thing to do is to give yourself a place to look that will recharge you and make you smile when you look up from your work.

What are some of your strategies for setting yourself up for success? 

There is always something you can do to help minimize the distractions around you.  It's up to you to decide if what you're getting from the distraction is worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Greene is a speaker, trainer, coach and author of Chaos to Cash. She helps entrepreneurs cut through the confusion and chaos surrounding them so they make decisions, stop spinning and procrastinating and make more money. Free resources at and