I promise to work less, spend more time with family and friends, eat healthier and get fitter. Sound familiar? Yet we all know it’s far too easy to slip back into old habits, especially during the winter months. Now that your batteries are re-charged you can look at ways in which you can fulfil your New Year’s resolutions.
If you are passionate about improving or developing an area of your business, there are certain things that you can do to see those changes through to fruition.
New Year’s Resolutions are easy to make but not so easy to keep. So how can you remedy this?
There are typically five problem areas that small business owners and managers face. Here they are with my top tip for addressing each:
1. Work Life Balance
Are you working long hours and maybe weekends and bank holidays too? Have you backed out of family commitments or social activities just to keep up with the work? Maybe you’ve taken your laptop on holiday or you spend more time on your mobile than in the pool. Do you feel guilty when you have that Saturday off or when you’re spending time with the family at the park, yet thinking about everything that needs doing at work?
Top tip: start by using your diary properly! Keeping everything in ONE place will help keep you focused. Input all those urgent and important meetings, tasks, projects and reminders; and prioritise them accordingly. Then take some time to input all your personal tasks, commitments and reminders. Most people manage to be proactively attentive for two or three hours a day and this is usually in the morning, so ensure you schedule your most challenging tasks for your productive time of the day. Remember: your diary should be your ‘go to’ organiser.
There are certain tasks that you keep putting off month after month. Accounts/books is a usual suspect, until you just cannot put it off any longer. Of course you know there are some activities that are bound to bring a return – such as running an event or exhibiting. Yet it’s so easy to put off tackling these periodic projects when the day-to-day stuff is falling by the wayside.
Top tip: before you start work, make sure all the tools you could possibly need during the course of the day are within easy reach (including a brew or water bottle). Then look to reduce distractions such as email or social media notifications, pets, a radio in the background or even an untidy workspace. Every distraction, however small that may be, makes you quickly switch the focus of your attention.
There’s a great sense of achievement in finishing a job. Focus on one thing at a time and, once you have completed that task, promise yourself a reward. Focused Work = Reward!
3. To Do List
For each task or project you complete there are at least two others to take their place. Do you feel like you are constantly fighting the list, rather than crossing tasks off it? The tasks that you enjoy will always be the ones that you complete first; this is only natural. The tasks that you don’t enjoy such as invoicing or credit control are usually the ones that get put to the bottom of the list, until you realise you need funds to buy supplies or pay bills.
Top tip: beginning with the small tasks will invariably mean you dedicate more time to them (if only to avoid turning your attention to the big stuff). Start with the big stuff, set yourself a deadline and don’t allow any other distractions (emails, people, telephones). You’ll be surprised by how much momentum you then gain to get the small jobs done too.
4. Email Inbox
Ping! Here comes another email. There’s always someone or something demanding your attention. Once you have waded through those that can just be deleted or filed, you then get to those that you need to action or follow up. Are you too busy to take a quick look or do you waste too much of your valuable time looking at meaningless content?
Top tip: limit checking your inbox until you have completed the urgent tasks. Deal with each email immediately by applying this rule: act (if it needs your attention); move (to the appropriate sub-folder if you require it for future reference/reading only); delegate (for action by someone else); or delete. Taking immediate and decisive action on which action is most appropriate will ensure you have a clear inbox by the end of each day. Remember: most of your best work happens outside your inbox.
5. Tasks or Projects
Certain tasks within a business need specialist input. Their successful execution depends on three factors: competency in delivery; available time; and inclination.
It’s a chicken and egg situation. Without committing the time, you cannot become skilled in a particular area. Add in a lack of inclination and it’s a project that will forever remain on your business’ back burner.
Top tip: accepting the offer of external support in areas where you’re not skilled or interested can be a welcome injection of energy to your business.
Start 2020 as you mean to go on…
Christmas and New Year aside, when was the last time you had drinks with friends, took a holiday or just had a day off?
Oreo PA can offer a wealth of business support and project management from organising events and exhibition attendance to administration, office moves and staff management. In fact, any project which you simply wish to GET DONE this year.
Call me today on 07584 306749 to go through your to-do list and see how I can support you and your business.