Published by: Albert Gibosse
Working smarter entails utilizing the best strategies to organize your workload as well as that of your employees so you can produce higher quality work in more efficient ways. It’s all about experimenting and figuring out what works best for your business.
The first step to working smarter is to get organized. Ensure that you and your employees know where all your important business information, files, and even supplies and goods are. While you’re at it, make sure everyone knows how to get their hands on all of this, too.
This also mean getting your storage room in order or creating a filing system for your receipts and paperwork. If you need to organize digital files and documents, you might use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Being organized also means you have the added positive benefit of making you and your employees feel more empowered and less overwhelmed, and more confident at work.
Craft a Clear Agenda
Craft a clear agenda to get a detailed view of your workload and identify the length of time it will take you to complete each task. Moreover, being as specific as possible when you create a schedule will help you figure out how much you can realistically accomplish in a day.
Identify the priorities and the length of tie it will take to accomplish each task and also bare in mind that tasks might take longer than you expect them to. It’s a good idea to pad your schedule with free time that you can use to finish up tasks and take care of any new tasks that might pop up unexpectedly.
Have your entire team create their own schedules in the same way, and then share them with each other as that will help your team understand the group’s priorities (and non-priorities).
It’s also smart to have everyone create monthly calendars that include personal commitments. This can make it easier to create daily, weekly, and monthly work schedules that help people finish important tasks while still leaving work on time and taking much-needed time off.
Sharing your schedules and calendars with your team will lead to smarter meetings
Instead of wasting time emailing each other to find a meeting time that works, your team can just look at people’s calendars to see when everyone is free
You can also save time by emailing the meeting agenda and goals to attendees beforehand so everyone can prepare. This is also a great gut check, because people might point out agenda items that have already been resolved.
You can also be more efficient during the meeting itself. Trying to resolve every issue on the agenda before the meeting ends can make it last forever and keep everyone spinning in circles. Instead, use the meeting to get people’s input.
After the meeting, use a group email or other social networking service like Slack to follow up on any unresolved issues. This can be a great way to help meetings be more productive and less painful.
Utilize the Right Tools
Instead of hopping on a plane, jumping into a taxi, or walking a few blocks to get to a business meeting, you can save time by holding a video conference.
There are tools (Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom) that can help you meet face to face in the virtual world. Along with smarter meetings, you can save time and effort by creating standardized processes in the office.
Find the most efficient way of doing a task and then use that as your team’s go-to template in the future. For example, you can create a standard follow-up email to send new clients, or have set instructions on how to clean your store before closing.
Processes Must Be Written Down and Shared with Your Team
This will spare everyone from having to start from scratch each time they do certain tasks. It also ensures that you aren’t the only one who knows how to tackle important tasks as the more everyone knows what everyone else is doing, the more efficient work can become.
Sharing works best when people understand what’s being shared. So when documents are being created or standardized processes are being written, they must be detailed, clear, and easy for others to understand.
Consistency is key
Use a consistent language in all your business communications. Consistency helps cut down on confusion and on wasted time clearing up that confusion. When you keep things consistent, people can quickly and easily understand what is being said and asked for. This will enable you to rely more on the resources around you and cut down on multitasking.
Delegate: No need to be great at everything your business requires
Plenty of business services can help you run the side of your business that you can’t do efficiently or don’t have time to do.
Be fair to yourself during your workday
too. Multitasking is the enemy of working smarter. For example, it’s tempting to answer emails during a meeting. But this could lead to you missing important information.
It’s much better to dig into a single task exclusively before you move on to the next. This can help you avoid doing something wrong because you’re rushed or distracted and having to do it again, and/or producing low-quality work.