Running a small business is time consuming. I’m writing this at 3:55 pm. I’ve been in my office since 7:30 (with a small break to shovel snow). If I had not looked at the clock, I would have guessed that it is about noon. It’s always that way for me. I never seem to have enough time in the day.
However, I have come across some common sense ideas for making the most of my time and becoming more productive. I subscribe to Dan Robey’s ezine (www.thepowerofpositivehabits.com). The other day he laid out his formula for preventing work overload and being more productive. Dan’s ideas, like most things easy to say and somewhat difficult to do, are simple common sense. Take a look:
“There is a very simple formula to help you prevent work overload and be more productive every day of your life.
“Every time you are faced with a new task to perform, (an email request, new project at work or at home, phone calls, etc.) apply the 4 D's as listed below. You will find that your workload will be reduced and your productivity will go up as you apply this screening and decision making tool to each task. Decide on the most appropriate choice - and take action.
- Do It Now. Take immediate action, do the task right away, don't procrastinate.
- Dump It Now. Make a quick decision and dump the task.
- Delegate It. Give the task to someone else. This is a very critical aspect of time management. Your time is valuable; make it a habit to work on tasks that you do best and delegate the tasks that can be performed by someone else.
- Defer the Task. Make an immediate decision to postpone the task to a later time. Make sure to schedule a time to complete it.”
Dan is great with alliterations – Do it, Dump it, Delegate it, Defer it.
Number 3 can be a difficult one – especially for small business owners. Afterall, one of the reasons we’re in business for ourselves is that nobody can do things quite as well as us. Correct?
I struggled with this one for years. I’m a solo entrepreneur, and I always felt as if I needed to do everything myself if I wanted it done right. This year, I hired a VA – that’s web speak for Virtual Assistant. Her name is Alex Greer. Her email address is email@example.com.
Alex doesn’t even live on the same continent as me, but she does a great job on the things that I don’t have the time, or the skills to do – like creating .pdfs. If you are in need of a VA, you can’t go wrong with Alex.
But the purpose of this post is not to plug Alex. It’s to remind you that smart business people use their time wisely. They don’t do themselves what they can delegate. They don’t do things that don’t need done – they dump them.
Until I started working with Alex, I did too much myself, and I did things that I should have dumped. For example, I began teaching myself html so I could do more of my website work. There are many more profitable ways I can spend my time than learning html.
I am intellectually curious, so I often find myself spending too much time doing things that are interesting and fun – like learning html -- but that do not contribute to my bottom line. One of my business resolutions for 2008 is to adopt the Pareto Principle in my work. I am going to apply the 80 – 20 rule and concentrate on the “significant few” and jettison the “trivial many.”
The common sense point here is simple. Delegate. If you are a one person business, find a VA. If you have people working for you, trust them to do their jobs, so you can spend your time doing yours.
That’s my productivity resolution for 2008. What’s yours?
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense. Check out my other blog: www.SuccessCommonSense.com for common sense advice on becoming the career and life success you are meant to be and to get a copy of my new ebook Star Power: Common Sense Ideas for Career and Life Success.
I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open. Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.