When was the last time you felt relaxed and totally in control of your workload? We have noticed that everyone is busy, busy, busy right now. So here are our top 5 tips for how to get control over your workload and start enjoying better productivity and efficiency in your business.
1. “Caught up in circles, confusion is nothing new” – Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper.
Ever thought of how much time is wasted getting your “head back into” a piece of work that you half completed or scoped at a previous time? You can save a tremendous amount of time by completing a job in a single sitting. And if this isn’t possible, make sure you write (or record) thorough notes. By the time you get back to the project you may have had your focus on 20 different clients/jobs, and the quicker you can recall the project in detail, the faster you can get productive on it.
2. “Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind” – Memories – Elvis Presley.
The first concept is further proven with file notes after a client meeting or call. This is so incredibly important it gets its own point here. Make a habit of writing or dictating your file notes as soon as your client leaves, while your discussion is still fresh in your mind. The best way to ensure this happens is to block out sufficient time after your appointments for your notes. It doesn’t matter how you choose to record your file notes, whether you type them into an iPad app like Evernote, or dictate them, or ‘scribble and scan’. The three keys to a good file note are:
- Make sure your note is thorough and detailed – the more detail the better, and ensure you include notes on what you said, as well as what the client said;
- Write your note while the meeting/call is still fresh in your mind; and
- Stipulate action items that have come from the discussion so that you know your suggestions and commitments will be implemented.
3. “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em” – The Gambler – Kenny Rogers.
Be deliberate about the time you will spend working on projects that will require your focus. Block out time in your diary and keep the appointment with that project. There is one exception here – if your project is a creative one and you find you just can’t get into “the zone” at the time you have scheduled, you will be better placed to reschedule for another time rather than bashing your head against the keyboard trying to force it to happen.
4. “Always something there to remind me” – Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Turn off email alerts in Outlook. These can provide a huge distraction that causes your mind to lose focus, and it is not a good look if you are showing a client something on your screen. Dedicate times throughout the day to review your emails and you will stop being controlled by them and start getting productivity back on your own terms. This will help you achieve points 1, 2 and 3 above.
5. “Why don’t you come to your senses” – Desperado – The Eagles.
Allow people to do their job. Too often we see businesses with staff who are employed to complete certain roles, and yet the business owner has decided it is a better use of their own time to do it themselves, rather than invest the time to train the staff member properly (or in some instances, replace them with someone who can). It is a great theory to position yourself to do what you do best and to surround yourself with good people to do everything else, but if you get in the way of them doing that and don’t have good structures that allow your team to communicate, you will not get the optimum performance from your staff, and the whole will not be greater than the sum of the parts in your business.
If you adhere to these 5 simple tips, you will quickly see both your own efficiency, and that of your entire business, increase dramatically, and you will have some great songs to listen to as well!