Back-to-school season means a fresh start for millions of students. 

It's also a great time for you to make a fresh start in your business when it comes to your daily routine. Upgrading your productivity skills can be an eye-opening experience for both you and your business.

One way to do this is to use your business as a real-world classroom. The key is knowing where to look and how to make lasting changes. You can use your daily experiences to help you diversify your skill set, stimulate your creativity, and add variety to your work.

Get inspired to make a fresh start in your business this back-to-school season with these four creative productivity approaches. 

Brush up your communication skills 

Learn a new communication skill or polish an existing one. Anything that is related to writing, reading, listening, or speaking is fair game. 

Master touch typing, employ keyboard shortcuts, use the dictation feature on your smart phone, or enable closed captions on video calls. Enroll in a public speaking course, download an app to learn new vocabulary words, or read an article or book on how to efficiently run a meeting.

Finding new ways to effectively communicate will help you boost your confidence levels, build strong professional relationships, and save your business time and money. 

Uncover valuable history lessons

Dig up recent history with a thoughtful review of business activities from last summer to the present. 

Inspect the usefulness of project management procedures, assess overall outcomes of clients assignments, and clarify key lessons learned when it comes to busy and slow seasons throughout the year. 

This is also a good time to review how well you managed your time during the past year. Pay particular attention to work timelines regarding the planning and execution of deliverables, as well as how you managed or avoided deadlines, lateness, and delays. 

Taking the time to learn from your past experiences can help you better navigate novel and unexpected situations in the coming year. 

Use a scientific approach to streamline operations 

Observe your physical work environment and run thoughtful workflow experiments.

View your physical workspace or office through a visiting client's eyes. Use your findings to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment: eliminate paper clutter, corral overflowing office supplies, and find permanent storage locations for tools. Change, rotate, or upgrade artwork, or refresh your desktop image or screensaver. 

Test out new ways of working throughout the workday and week. Rearrange the order of workday tasks, modify the number of remote workdays, and update email usage guidelines. Review office administration procedures and experiment with different ways to simplify or standardize the collection of information. 

Having difficulty viewing things objectively? Ask another person to share their honest observations with you or flip your perspective of the situation 180 degrees. Doing so can give you a refreshing perspective and a unique starting point from which to work. 

Make careful and thoughtful calculations  

Consider the implications of action versus inaction in your daily routine and how it might help or hinder your business.  

Review currently used software, hardware, tools, and resources for their effectiveness. If you're already making good use of an item, investigate whether you can improve upon or increase the utility of that item even more. If not, it may be necessary to evaluate whether to keep or replace an item.  

Weigh the benefits of taking regular movement breaks at work. Take walk breaks during your lunch hour, stretch at regular intervals, invest in a standing desk, or use a desk cycle. Hold standing or walking meetings, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or step outdoors for some fresh air.

Depending on your productivity goals, you can delve into different calculations for your business. Consider the physical, mental, emotional, and financial effects of a decision and how it may impact your ability to get things done in the long-term.