Tips on Working Smarter Not Harder in Your Business
Posted by Shannon Suetos on February 9, 2011 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice [ 4 Comments ]
Running your own business can be a full time job in itself, before you even begin to add the client work. That is why you need to find effective ways to manage yourself and work with others, while maintaining an organized and efficient office environment. When you maintain control over these three aspects of your business you will be able to work smarter, and truly be the envy of your friends who wish they could work for themselves – if only they knew you’re working harder than ever, every night and day. Well, no more!
Work Yourself Smarter
When you work for yourself you need to remain accountable to yourself and so you need to be as strict with your own performance as you are with that of your staff members. Therefore, to help you perform to your best and impress the boss – yourself – implement these efficiency tips:
- Make a to do list. Just being at your desk until midnight every night doesn’t mean you’re achieving all of your goals, and you could benefit from a simple time management tool which allows you to prioritise what needs to be done each day. Make sure your to do list is realistic, and don’t aim to complete more than five significant items in a day.
- Stop procrastinating. You can often spend more time putting off a task than it would actually take to complete, so set aside 20 minute blocks for your tasks, because there are few things so tedious that you can’t stand just 20 minutes of them.
- Do what you do well. Knowing where your strengths lie in your business mean you can complete the tasks you’re good at and can do efficiently, and you can delegate or outsource those you can’t.
- Neatness isn’t always effective. Don’t assume a full desk means you are working inefficiently because clearing off your desk for the sake of neatness can mean you lose the items you need to work on, and waste time trying to find them.
- Handle each piece of paper with a plan. Each time you pick up a file or piece of paper, make sure you take a step towards completing that task.
- Remind yourself. Use a day planner, diary or your computer to help you clear your desk and order your thoughts because entering reminders for follow ups for example, means you can file items you’re not using, rather than having the open file act as a reminder.
- Focus. Once you start a task, try not to flit onto another and then another as you won’t get any of them finished effectively.
- Just say no. Saying no to all of the time consuming, mundane and seemingly urgent tasks which come across your desk can actually leave you with more time to say yes to the things you really value.
- Make appointments with yourself. An appointment is a commitment so commit to finishing your invoicing or making it to the gym each week.
- Not everything can be perfect. Before you over commit to a task, consider whether the effort is proportionate to the value of the task because many routine tasks don’t need to be done perfectly.
- Know when you work best. Whether you are a morning person or like working into the wee hours before sleeping late, working when you are the most motivated will also make you the most productive.
Work Your Office Smarter
Running an efficient office can help you run an efficient business and when you implement some simple organisational techniques, you will be able to work smarter in your new smart office. Create a smart office by:
- Regular cleaning. Spring cleaning your office for just 10 minutes each day helps you remain organised, and studies have shown cleaning also promotes creativity, and helps abate stress.
- Use a wall calendar. When you can see your year at a glance you’ll be prepared for deadlines, and see ways you can achieve your goals for the year.
- Office dress code. When you work at home or in an office alone it is easy to turn up each day in a sweat suit. However, when you dress for work as though you’re going to a meeting you’ll feel professional and be motivated to work.
- Have a designated work space. Make sure you have your own desk, computer, email address and phone line which is separate from your family’s usage.
- Turn off your office. Make sure you turn off your computer and work cell phone at the end of the business day so you’re not tempted to check emails after dinner or in bed.
- Maintain order in your office. Make sure that everything you bring into your office has a purpose as this will help you avoid clutter. Also make sure you have a place for everything you need, as this will help you find what you are looking for more quickly.
- Separate active files. Keep files which need questions asked or tasks completed close at hand on your desk, and file away old client files or references.
- Be realistic about the information you need. There is little point printing information or references if you’re not going to file it properly making it easy to find. Even scanning items into your computer to cut down on paper is an inefficient use of time if you’re never going to refer to the information again.
- Stock your office pantry. Just as you’ll buy more rice or pasta when the kitchen pantry is running low, stock up on the office supplies you use all the time, to save on one off trips to the store.
- Love your office. Make your office a space you want to be by displaying art which inspires you, having vases of flowers or play music which relaxes you and helps you concentrate. Also make sure your furniture is comfortable, ergonomic and easy to use.
- Get out of the office. A change is often as good as a holiday and to refresh your attitude to work, take your laptop into the garden or down to a coffee shop because new surroundings can often motivate and inspire you in new ways.
This article was written by personal finance writer Timothy Ng from Sydney, Australia. He is genuinely passionate about helping people compare credit cards and helping them through researching to find the best credit card.