Life is busy, and for lots of us finding ways to fit in things like fitness, better work/life balance, more family time, and exciting work successes can sometimes seem impossible to accomplish at the same time.
So how can we possibly manage to have it all and do it all? The one solution I keep coming back to is "work more efficiently”.
The reason, like many of you, is that I am not in a position to just walk away from my work. There are deadlines, people counting on me and targets that must be met. So when I cut out early to see my daughter’s basketball game, I know I am doing the right thing, but I feel guilty. And, when I don’t cut out early to see the game, I feel awful. That’s why finding creative ways to do things more efficiently (and often better) has been my saving grace.
Identify the biggest culprits.
Where is your time being spent unwisely? Common violators can include: inefficient processes or coordination, email overload, customer or staff complaints, unnecessary meetings, constant interruptions, employee turnover, complicated executions, communications problems, and maybe even compliance issues. Identify as many as you can and list them in order according to how much time and energy they are sucking from your average workday – then focus on finding remedies for the top two or three.
Get to the root of the problem.
Like most of life’s problems, there is always a reason. Arrive late to work regularly? The underlying issue could be anything from you just don’t care enough to get up on time, to someone in your household is holding you back, to you can’t find any socks (again!). In the workplace, the root of many problems also often has something to do with people, environment or processes. Take some time on this step to figure out what is really causing you to invest more time than you want on your biggest time wasters.
This is the obvious next step, and sometimes the most difficult, after all, if it was easy, you’d have fixed it a long time ago, right? Here are five tips that might trigger the right solution for you.
- Get help: I’m going to tell you something that may come as somewhat of a shock… you are not good at everything. Sometimes, to save your sanity and to improve your results, you need to get help. Don’t spend an hour pulling a report that can be automated or that someone else can pull in minutes. You will inevitably put things off that are not within your core skillset anyway. In the long run, it will pay to find technology that can help automate these processes, hire a professional to do the work, or to enlist the help of someone on your team who is better suited for the task at hand.
- Simplify: If a cumbersome or outdated process or constant follow-up with others for approvals and input is holding you back, it might be time to re-evaluate the process and simplify it, or to invest in automation tools. You can get just about anything now, from sales enablement tools specific to your industry like Pull-Through Express is for Med reps, to inbound marketing software like HubSpot to CRM platforms. All of them designed to save you time and improve results.
- Set boundaries: Set time limits and boundaries to keep things moving more swiftly. Have an agenda, key outcomes and time limits for meetings. Don’t have an open-door policy all the time. If someone has a question that will take more than a couple minutes to answer, have them book a time to discuss. Some additional great ideas around this can be found in the article "17 Ways Successful People Keep Work from Destroying their Lives" by Alexandra Mondalek and Max Nisen.
- Focus: To increase efficiency at work, focus on the work that matters. Know your objectives and omit tasks that don’t help to achieve them. Plan your day and allow time for uninterrupted work.
- Invest time: You know the old saying “it takes money to make money” while sometimes “it takes time to make time.” If you are always asked to solve the same problems, are always interrupted for last minute approvals or asked to respond to urgent requests, it might be time to put a new process in place, develop an FAQ sheet or spend the time to train someone. Sometimes it’s worth the hour or two now, to stop the ongoing interruptions each week.
So give it a try, fix a problem, create new efficiencies, and live the life you’ve been dreaming about.
If you are serious about creating efficiencies for youself and your entire commercial team, check out our demo. You'll be happy you did!