OK, I know this is a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway; who wants to be more efficient at work?
If I was leading a seminar, and you were in the audience, I assume you would raise your hand while internally thinking to yourself, 'We'll duh!' Ok, I deserve that; therefore, let's move on.
Look, it doesn't matter if you have a set routine or still in the process of determining how to become more productive. Without realizing it, there may be a few key techniques you're either not aware of or didn't realize were significant in prospering your business.
As you know, time is money. If there is a proven technique which could boost your workday performance, you would integrate it right away.
So, let's take a few moments and review five techniques which could elevate your overall productivity. Not that these five tips are revolutionary or innovative, but rather solid truths in boosting small business efficiency.
1. STOP SEARCHING FOR SACRED DOCUMENTS
If you spend several minutes each day searching for specific emails, hidden within thousands of messages you never delete or archive, this is a HUGE time waster. If you like writing things down, then placing them aside to reference later; are you really surprised when they go missing, especially if you placed them within a mound of historic documents and out-of-date notes?
Here's a rhyme to keep in mind:If you're a mess, you're inviting stress.
If you spend hours each week on a quest to find sacred documents lost in cyberspace or mangled within a birds nest of past post-its; it's time to get yourself together! SUGGESTIONS:
Place a calendar in your working area where you can write down important appointments. Also, input the same appointments into an online calendar using your email account or another link which offers pop up reminders.
Set up folders within your email account in order to spend less time scrolling though countless messages. On the other side of that, delete useless emails filling up your inbox. If you don't need it, delete it.
Create a filing system for important documents. Even if you're not the greatest organizer, placing everything in a file will be easier to locate verses placing it into the black hole of old papers and outdated chicken scratches.
2. TIME FOR A BREAKDOWN
Have you ever tried to dust, vacuum, and wash dishes at the same time? If so, how did that work out for you?
I assume not too good. If you've ever taken that approach, I'm willing to bet you created more of a mess than you cleaned.
Attempting to clean your house all at once is physically impossible. Before you start cleaning, you have to determine which room you're going to start with and which one you're going to finish.
Once you have a plan, the next step is deciding how you're going to clean each room.
Ironically, the same philosophy goes for handling major projects for your clients.
If you attempt to do everything at once, you will essentially get nothing done. In fact, you will most likely make things worse. SUGGESTIONS:
When presented with a big project it's best to determine how many different sections or phases the project will require to be successful.
The next step is determining how long you will need to dedicate to each section.
Finally, create an action plan and follow it.
3. CREATE A SCHEDULE
Like many entrepreneurs, you may try to juggle multiple tasks all at once.
While some are able to balance multiple spinning plates on three foot sticks, others will exhaust themselves trying to spin only one. Those not gifted with multitasking often find themselves cleaning up more messes than achieving results.
Scheduling each hour of your workday can help you focus on one thing at a time which, in turn, helps you get more done by days end. If you're trying to do too much at once, you're going to burn a lot of energy and end up with a lot of unfinished tasks. SUGGESTIONS:
One of the biggest time wasters are emails and social media sites. Although important, responding immediately to every email or Facebook message which comes across your computer screen or iPhone diverts your attention from the task you're trying to complete. Instead of having your email or social media pages open, schedule an hour (or more) to review and respond to messages. Once the allotted time period is up, move on to your next task. There will be exceptions to this rule. However, the better you are about waiting to respond to online messages, the less fires you will have to put out and overtime you have to put in.
Begin your day with a few set routines (like getting set up and prepared for the day), transition into bigger tasks, then finally end your day tying up loose ends.
4. KEEP STOCKED
Imagine you're a magician, locked in a glass box, and your escape is dependent upon using a hidden key inside that box. For you, what's the most important thing you will always check before getting into the box?
Obviously it's the key - right?
That key will mean the difference between life and death.
When it comes to business, being unequipped can also inflict sever consequences on your productivity.
So let me ask you, what tools do you need to handle your day-to-day operation?
Unless you have an office manager ordering your supplies, it's essential you know when inventory is getting low and restock it BEFORE it runs out. Waiting until you run out may require an unscheduled supply run, interrupting your workday, and postponing the completion of important tasks.
You may not lose your life, but being ill-equipped could hurt your reputation, damage client relationships, eventually negatively impacting your income. SUGGESTIONS:
Make a list of the important supplies you need to operate.
Each day, before you begin your workday, check the supply list and put a reminder on a note, or in your phone, to purchase the items you need to refill.
5. WALKING DEAD
If you're dragging your feet, experiencing loss of brain activity, and using what little energy you have to lift that bagel from the table to your mouth; you're body is working in survival mode.
Lack of sleep will inevitably impact your work.
Inadequate rest will have you dozing off, impair your judgment, and increase feelings of irritability. Before you know it, small issues are upsetting you, your nodding off on important conference calls or (worse yet) while driving, or postponing tasks and projects to catch up on much needed sleep. SUGGESTIONS:
Everyone knows the amount of sleep their body requires. Therefore, if you know you need at least eight hours, you need to schedule your bedtime to accommodate your workday.
Depending upon your specific industry, you might consider starting your workday at a later time to ensure you get the adequate amount of sleep you need.
If you like staying up late, consider starting your day at 10 a.m. or closer to noon. Better to work on a good nights sleep than spending the day functioning like a zombie.
Eliminating distractions, implementing a solid work schedule, becoming better organized, and getting the rest you need eliminate time wasters and setbacks.
Implementing each technique into your daily operation may require some adjustments on your part and alterations in your personal habits; but, in the long run, these five techniques will carry you a step closer to reaching your personal business objectives.
Content contributed by Matthew Cassady, IASourceLink
. IASourceLink is a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink
, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.