Top 7 Ways To Make Your Business Simpler And More Productive
By Monica Ricci
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The following are seven tips that can help any business professional improve his or her business and, consequently, help him or herself and their business become more productive.
- Purge that paper! You will be amazed how much space you have when you do an office purge. Ask yourself these questions when evaluating whether to keep or not:
- When was the last time I referred to this?
- Is there something more current that supercedes this?
- If I do need this after I toss it, is there anyone else who will have it?
- Am I saving this "just in case?" (Be RUTHLESS!)
- What is the worst that could happen if I didn't have this anymore?
Remember, 80 percent of the paper we save, we never refer to again.
- A good way to manage your time on the phone is to set up the "short call mindset" from the beginning of a call. When you make a call, begin the call by saying, "Hi Joe, this is Lisa. I know we're both busy, so I'll make this question quick" or "Hi Joe, this is Lisa. I just have a minute or two and wanted to firm up those tentative meeting plans with you." When YOU set the time frame at the beginning of the call, it's much easier to end the call in a timely manner.
- Part of managing your time effectively is knowing not only what to do, but knowing what NOT to do. Often people are under the impression that only they can do a task the correct way and are reluctant to delegate that task to an assistant or outsource it completely. If you have trouble handing off work to others, realize that there are benefits to paying someone else to do what you don't enjoy or what you're not good at.
- Action files! Action files are merely temporary homes where papers live until they either end up filed away permanently or thrown away (my favorite!). Your action files may sit on the far corner of your desktop, they might be in your file drawer, or in baskets on the credenza. Whichever method works for you is fine. Label them according to what actions fit best with your industry. (ex: CALL BACK, TO FILE, TO READ, TO MAIL, TO PAY, etc.) Your action files must be clearly labeled so you will always know what is in them, and just as importantly, what not to put in them.
- Planning vs. scheduling. Planning is deciding WHAT needs to be done and scheduling is deciding WHEN. Planning is done with a master list. The master list contains tasks, large and small, short range and long range. In order to schedule, pull a task from the master list, break it into manageable pieces and then schedule those pieces on your calendar. By breaking your large tasks up into steps, you will be able to better estimate how long it will take you to finish, and you won't feel overwhelmed by the size of the task.
- Realize that simply because something exists, it doesn't mandate your time and attention. Cancel any subscriptions that you aren't getting to read regularly or that you aren't finding valuable.
- Evaluate every piece of paper, mail and email as you receive it, for its value and potential value. You are the final filter that information passes through, so remember to make decisions quickly when dealing with incoming information.
Monica Ricci, a professional organizer at Catalyst Professional Organizing in Atlanta, Georgia. Email her at
Article Submitted On: February 11, 2000