There’s something different about the time between Christmas and the return to work in early January.
The office environment is a little quieter, the pace is slower and people are more communicative. Inboxes are dealt with, junk mail deleted, desks tidied, to-do lists revised, outstanding tasks achieved.
Organisation brings calm. Calm brings clarity. Clarity brings vision. Visions are for sharing. That sharing brings collaboration. Collaboration brings effectiveness. Effectiveness brings productivity. It’s a virtuous wheel that often gets punctured because we are being busy fools, working at a frenetic pace to just get things done as quickly as possible. We miss opportunities for smarter thinking.
In a bid to keep the spirit of ‘tween days, you need to address the basics.
Here are our simple, often forgotten, business leader productivity tips that will bring calm and effectiveness into your day and organisation.
- Control Your Email
Do you control your email or does it control you? Here’s something worth thinking about. Email represents us. People do judge us based on our email habits. You need to be organised and responsive. However, the trick is doing that without letting it disrupt your day.
- Decide when to tackle your emails – twice to three times a day should do it. Once a week, try to clear your inbox, filing what’s important, deleting what is not. It’ll stop the email becoming white noise.
- Be succinct in your emails, keep to one main point and you’ll get a quicker answer.
- Confirmation or conversation? If your email will most likely result in a ping pong of emails or if you don’t want something in writing, use the phone instead.
- Remember that emails are easily misconstrued. Avoid group emails unless it’s simply to distribute information. A group of people will always have differing interpretations and you can quickly lose the point.
- Control Your Diary
If you’re anything like our MD, Billy Lyle, you’ll be in demand. Everyone wants a slice of your time but you still have your own tasks to complete and clients to look after. There are so many tools and apps to help you manage your diary better but ultimately, it comes down to this:
- You only need one calendar.
- Use one digital task manager and get rid of all the post-its.
- Theme your week if you can – client meetings, research, prep, people.
- Control Your Knowledge
What information do you need each week to manage the business? When was the last time you felt able to study your area? Just for fifteen minutes? How much time do you spend finding out answers when they’re suddenly urgent? How many times have you felt poorly informed in a client situation? By being on top of your knowledge sources, you’ll identify the ones worth having and the ones to lose.
- Set proper time aside for your management reports.
- Build a reading list and habit, whether it’s daily, weekly or fortnightly where you commit time to get on top.
- Schedule thinking time and objectivity will become a habit making for better decision-making and productivity.
- Control Your Meetings
Meetings need to happen; information, status, brainstorm, one-to-one, strategy, board, committee. It’s the most productive way to discuss and collaborate, to make things happen but employees dread time away from their desks. They often come to the meeting distracted and poorly prepared. Here’s how to make it more productive for everyone:
- Have a clear purpose
- Have an agenda (circulate it in advance!)
- Have an agreed end time
- Have a good moderator
- Have agreed actions
It’s remiss of us not to point out the huge benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 in addressing so many of these points (and hundreds more) to improve productivity and profit throughout all sizes of business. But we’ll get back onto that in January!
For now, the team here at Redspire would like to wish you all a productive and prosperous 2017.