Prioritize your inbox!
One of the things that bog us down most over the course of the day is email. In today’s world, colleagues want answers immediately. However, email is the number one time waster and the number one reason most business owners say they cannot wipe out their entire to-do list. Why? We read an email and think we need to reply immediately. Then, we get a phone call, and we need to reply immediately, because there’s a living breathing person on the other end, so we kind of have to. Now, the priority project of the day has been pushed back. Try answering emails only 3 times a day. Once in the morning, once before lunch, and once before you leave for the day. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to check your emails, but when someone sends a question about a proposal that isn’t due for another month, is that the most important thing you need to be working on that day? Or should you be handling your payroll first which is due in a day?
Big problem! We’ve all been there before, someone pops into our office for “one quick sec” and ends up being there for an hour. The two of you start off talking business but end up talking about cats, or your kids, and the next thing you know, it’s lunchtime. If you’ve got cats and kids, you probably want to get home to them at 5 right? Think of your day as a road trip. If you make too many stops, the trip is going to take longer. So, if you continue to stop and talk to coworkers, or take unproductive phone calls (you know the type, when someone calls to “pick your brain”), you’re really just lengthening your work day. The solution is easy. Make appointments! If someone calls in with the dreaded pick-your-brain phone call, politely share with them that you’d love to help, but you’re swamped. Invite them to meet you for lunch during the week or grab a cup of coffee. Tell them you work better in a more creative setting and not just spur of the moment. Whatever you need to tell them, do, because if you don’t put a value on your time, you can’t expect anyone else to. Creating an official meeting keeps a better time constraint, and will subconsciously keep your brain picker on task.
Let’s delve into the use of remote personnel for customer service or reception tasks. If you’re a solo business owner on a shoestring budget, the affordable and efficient alternative is a virtual receptionist. This person can field all of your calls with a personalized greeting for your organization. They can take messages and answer FAQ’s, reducing interruptions to your staff. When you’re a solo business owner on a shoestring budget, your staff is wearing many hats, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of time that’s wasted daily on these tasks. Don’t waste your staff’s specialized talents on reception work.