At GBW we work with a number of businesses. We often speak with the owner or the manager of the company. From time to time I ask about what they’re struggling with in general. One of the top items I hear is that they’re struggling with productivity.
It seems like a lot of people struggle with productivity today. And if you’ve met a person working in business you probably realize that they’re in a frenzy all the time. They’re checking their phones the first thing in the morning and right before bed. The business is on their mind all the time.
That leads to stress and even while they’re working they’re not getting anything done.
If that sounds like you then I have a few things to remove from your daily routine.
This is for those that manage people, which includes managers and owners pulling double duty.
1. Meetings With More Than One Person
The biggest time killer for any manager is the meeting. Every manager I’ve had has struggled with meetings. It seemed like all their day included was one meeting after another. And soon those meetings get overbooked and they start trying to fit extra things in and that makes people waiting at the next meeting annoyed.
You can make excuses for meetings, but I see meetings as being mostly a waste of time. There are probably exceptions, but if you’re strapped for time you can’t focus on the exceptions. If you need to meet with an employee, meet only with that employee. If you need to discuss something with a client, discuss it only with that client.
Meet one-on-one with people. If you need to tell the entire staff something then send them an email. That takes 10 minutes of your time and they can read it on their own time. You don’t need to schedule a 30 minute meeting where 20 minutes is spent looking at each other.
2. Phone Calls
Phone calls are like emails. There are some times when it’s easy to pick up the phone and tell something to someone. But even then you’re likely interrupting someone and taking them off their game. You know the feeling when you’re just getting started on something when the phone rings. You have to switch gears.
Turn the phone off and work on what needs to be worked on. Start doing more with email. You can schedule the times you respond to email so you’re prepared and in the right mindset. And it allows you scheduled time to work on more important things.
3. Instant Response To Email
This was a bad one for me, but now I don’t instantly respond to all emails. I’ll try to respond within 24 hours, which I think is accepted just about worldwide.
Responding instantly to emails sets a precedent and it’s a bad one. Plus it cuts you off your tasks just like answering a phone call.
4. Repetitive Tasks
Anytime you start to notice that you’re doing something over and over again it’s an indication that you can get rid of it. Focus on the things that are taking the most time during the weeks and months. Document what you do over and over again and find someone else that can take care of it for you.
You might even notice that a lot of the emails you’re getting over and over again can be answered by someone else. Or you could answer common questions on some kind of cloud drive so people know where to get the information.
And for some tasks you might find some kind of software or app that can handle the task for you. Software is good with repetitive tasks.
5. Late Night Emailing
Finally, stop checking your email before you go to bed. Put the phone away at 5 PM or whenever you’re done with work. Take a few hours in the evening to recharge. Spend it with your friends and family. Do some reading and let your body catch up with all that happened during the day.
Chances are good that the world won’t end if you turn off the phone until the morning. And it will leave your mind nice and clear for getting a good night’s sleep. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel when you wake up after 7-8 hours of sleep without anything on your mind.
You can add on productivity apps to your phone. You can try to add things while hoping to subtract others, but without removing things you’re never going to get ahead. I’ve found that removing the tasks above can cut back on what you do at work while actually improving the output you get from yourself and from employees. Give it a try and start making improvements.