Change Anyone? Breaking Old Habits Can Be A Good Thing…
My daily schedule is filled with a lot of things to accomplish. Time is such an important part of how my business progresses that I have come to be really tough on not wasting it. Making progress in my work, and achieving higher daily performance is a goal I strive for every day. I have found that some of these “Not To Do” things increase my output significantly, and I have consequently made them a habit. The results allows me to have more time to do more important things.
So, here are my 10 things to eliminate… Taking these actions can really change your performance.
1. Start your day with your priority list and stay focused on one item at the time. Finish one thing and go to the next. I reserve my morning for writing or creative work… It seems to work better for me because my mind is clear. I block out the noise that way. Start your day performing the most important task when your mind is rested. This way you will accomplish something major. You can do the same with one task and allocate a block of time to each, without interruptions. I get to do a lot more that way.
2. Do not email first thing in the morning. It can be distracting and sidetrack you away from what you need to accomplish. It disrupts your work flow if you check it constantly. I tend to not look at my emails in the evening either. There is very little that cannot wait until the next day. I usually check my email late morning at about the same time each day and answer them. I do it again toward the end of the afternoon unless I have a meeting and in that case, I review them early evening. You can use strategic auto-responder, which may save you time too.
3. Do not answer calls unless you recognize the number. This tends to bring more disruption into your day and usually represents a waste of time. Let it go to voicemail. The important calls will reach you with voice mail. People who really need to get a hold of you will. The others… well you haven’t missed anything if they don’t leave a message.
4. Keep your meetings together, especially if you have to drive a distance and make sure that they have a clear agenda. Schedule your meetings one after the other if you can… I usually block certain afternoons – I prefer Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for meetings because it leaves me Monday to organize my week and Fridays to be creative. Knowing the agenda keeps things clear and gives you an opportunity to fully prepare for it. Keep it focused. Keep it short – no more than one hour.
5. Find the right people to work on projects. Screen them and screen them again. When you are a small business one of the things you have to do is surrounds yourself with people who can deliver what you need with ease, because they simply are that good. It’s not an easy thing to find the right vendors so your product maintain a consistent quality. Spending too much time correcting your vendors’ deliverable, and making revisions upon revisions to make it right is a complete waste of your time. Unfortunately, it seems more and more difficult to find people who are really good at what they do… Everyone promotes their capabilities on the internet and provides testimonials. Many give the allure of being proficient professionals, until you see the product they deliver. This can be the case, even if you pay well for the service. The idea to train people to do good work on your nickel is not a concept I subscribe too anymore. I did… after all everyone deserves a chance, right? Unfortunately, it ends up sapping too much time for what ends up being a sub-standard product. It impaired my own own progress, and sometimes even resulted in a so so product that I shelved because I didn’t want to use it. My brand cannot afford that and neither can yours. If you see this trend in some of the people you are working with, let them go and look elsewhere. It is the same thing for people who are your customers. If they begin taking too much of your time and turn out to be “high-maintenance,” it’s time to move on or put them on auto-pilot limit the time you spend with them.
6. Get to the point… Don’t ramble and make sure other people do not either. Short and sweet didn’t get to be used so much for nothing. Stick to it. It will save you a bunch of time.
7. Delegate the easy stuff. There are things you do not have to do alone. You can delegate them and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Put in place a system that provides automation to as many aspects of your business as you can, and use it to grow your sales.
8. Play to your strengths. We are not great at everything. Identify your strengths and your weaknesses. Focus on what you are good at. Surrounds yourself with key persons whose strengths happen to be your weaknesses. This way they can help you overcome obstacles. Make them part of the process that influences your progress. This can totally change your business life.
9. Identify the problems and fix them. I know it seems obvious, but as technology shows us, keeping up with some of it is no easy task. Sometimes, fixing a problem can mean getting rid of a process that took time to set-up and cost you money. Why keep an obsolete system? Most people do not like change. Yet, change is inevitable. It can be daunting, uncomfortable, and bring an uncertainty that no one wants especially as it influences the work flow. It is also inevitable and the sooner you address it the better.
10. Recharge your battery. Take time off. Go for a walk. Leave your phone behind. Get some distance… Often, it will contribute to give you ideas, bring options and solve problems you couldn’t figure your way out of sitting at your desk… Balance your life, so you are not just about one thing.
Any other ideas we should add to this list?