If you’re anything like many of our customers, you’re busy. Each morning you wake up and get ready for a full day’s work. Often, little to none of that time is spent inside an office. Instead, you are directing and managing your team, doing work in the field, or overseeing your shop. Perhaps, a few days a week, or a few hours a day, you steal back into the office to check over invoices, look at incoming emails, and respond to customer requests. You’re a time ninja – doing amazing things with little time left to spare.
With such an on-the-go schedule, how can you maximize your limited office time? Here are 5 time management life-hacks to make sure your office responsibilities run as efficiently as possible:
When I first get into the office and open my email, I want to read everything I’ve received. While most of my received emails are interesting (and some of them are even important), I don’t need to dedicate the first part of my morning to this task.
Does this happen to you? It probably does.
I bet that if you haven’t set up adequate email filters, you could be spending up to an hour sorting through and reading email before you get to the bulk of your work.
Instead of using precious, undisturbed morning time to email (or precious late night time depending on your schedule), learn to filter your inbox. I have various folders that emails automatically get sent into (bypassing my inbox), which I then deal with at appropriate times of the day. This minimizes email temptation.
Filters aren’t just for spam. Use them for all recurring types of emails that aren’t urgent – for me that might be recruitment emails, or employee scheduling requests.
Here are some filter resources:
What’s better than doing something efficiently? Not doing it at all. If there are any tasks that you routinely do that do not require your specific expertise, consider automating it. This can even extend to customer relations (<- video).
Learn to appreciate your unique skill set and honor your time. Many services automate various office tasks, so take some time to research what you would be able to delegate to a 3rd-party automation service.
It’s easy to get into the office, see a pile of paper, and get sucked into small tasks. Hours later we look up and realize that we haven’t accomplished the most important tasks of all.
To avoid this, write a to-do list BEFORE coming into the office. This will keep your mind on task and in check.
Speaking of focus, it’s important to keep your brain on one task at a time. But what about the all-important skill of multitasking? Overrated. Do one thing at a time, focus intensely, and do it well.
Productivity will go up, and stress will go down when you have clear focus and dedicated attention.
Do you ever find yourself frantically looking around for that all-important note that told you exactly how to do the one task that you need to get done RIGHT NOW? I have. Now, to avoid those panicked moments of adrenaline and self-loathing, I keep everything in one place.
If one system doesn’t work for both notes and to-do lists, separate those functions out. But be consistent.
While each of these tips seem simple at face value, they combine to create an extremely disciplined and focused office strategy. Value your time, focus your energies, and create an organized, automated structure to support you. Pretty soon you’ll level up your time-ninja skills to pure wizardry.