independent

Thursday 13 December 2018

How to get more done in your business day

Business Q&A with Jim Doyle

Q: How you can you get more done and be more effective and actionable in your business day?

A: Anyone serious about achievement in business needs to be obsessed about time efficiency. As a business owner, you will be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you spend on them.

Your work is composed of thoughts, conversations and actions. The right amount of time spent on the right actions will lead you to success. Here are some effective ways to save time and help you get more done in your business day.

  • Meetings - Don't have 30- or 60-minute meetings. Instead, reduce them to 20 or 45 minutes long. Even shorter, whenever possible
  • Review last week's diary and identify all the things that took longer than they needed to. Then, make sure you don't let them overrun next week
  • Make sure every single one of your communications ends with a call to action. That way, there'll always be actions and progress
  • Always think about what action you want someone to take as a result of a communication
  • Have fewer face-to-face meetings. Conduct telephone meetings instead
  • Stop emailing constantly. Pick up the phone and get things done with actions
  • If someone asks you to prepare a report or task for them, ask them upfront what headings they want in it. That way, you're creating what they want, not spending time guessing
  • Decline meetings that you don't need to be in, prioritise your meetings, and consider one to one meetings as you are much more likely to be listened to
  • Have fewer people in your meetings. You'll make decisions more quickly
  • In meeting one, diary the next meeting to happen, this is much quicker than trying to arrange it when the people in the meeting are not together - this can result in painful email tennis
  • For regular internal meetings, see if there is a need to reduce something - frequency, duration of meeting, number of attendees, items on the agenda etc.
  • Do harder tasks early in the day when your brain is more refreshed. People get less effective as the day goes on especially just after lunch
  • If someone isn't replying to your emails, try a different method - send them a text/call them instead?
  • Identify which colleague is best at getting lots done quickly. Ask their advice on how they achieve this?
  • At the end of each day, review everything you've done, and make sure you've completed all your follow-up actions or diarised when you'll do them. This can be much quicker than not following-up
  • With longer emails, contact the recipient upfront, chat with them first, and get verbal agreement. Your email will then become a shorter confirmation of what you've just agreed, rather than trying to get agreement by email tennis
  • Try taking a later lunch. Most people are better before lunch than afterwards. You get a longer, productive pre-lunch. And a shorted graveyard shift. Maybe see if this works for you?

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