Feeling overwhelmed? Success can be a heady experience. Every new wave of progress inspires a multitude of new plans and possibilities. The more you expand, the more streamlined you must become. Efficiency is of the essence.
Time management tips:
What’s your vision? Keep it clear.
What’s your long range plan for your company? Have you defined your unique niche, where you have the edge? Where do you see yourself ten years from now? What’s your goal for this year? You have to clearly see the target to hit it. The clearer your vision, the more efficiently you’ll be able to move towards it.
Organize, organize, organize.
How much time do you spend searching for information - about clients, vendors, operating procedures? Don’t waste another minute. Get all your data systems up and running. Digitalize your customer profiles, including e-mail addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, tastes and preferences. Clear clutter from your office space. Simplify and streamline. Throw out old manuals and files. Half an hour a day spent on “housekeeping” details, including answering calls and e-mails, can save hours of wasted time later.
Do you have a manual for your store’s operating procedures that all your staff is familiar with? Many stores have a short staff meeting before the store opens daily so everyone’s on the same page and problems are nipped in the bud.
You can’t do it all. Pick projects and leads that have the greatest proven record of success. Each day plan what’s most valuable and pressing and focus on that first. Don’t procrastinate.
How much is your time worth? Your unique function is to provide vision and leadership. Any routine work you can assign frees you to focus on what you do best. Outsource whenever feasible.
Nix projects that don’t pay.
A good rule of thumb is that 80% of success comes from 20% of your inventory and clients. Focus on the top 20. Let go of projects and leads that don’t pan out. “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”
Are you skilled at multitasking? Get in the habit. Routine chores such as checking e-mails, messages and mail can often be done while on hold for a phone call or between appointments. Time is a precious asset. Don’t waste it.
Break time consuming habits.
How much time a day do you spend reading e-mail, browsing Facebook and the web, reading magazines, watching TV? Take a reality check. Can you combine several driving errands into one trip? Are there daily habits such as going to the post office that could be done every 2-3 days instead? Take a fresh look at your habits and see where you can save time for more profitable activities.
The higher you climb up the organizational ladder, the calmer and clearer you must be. You have to be the still point around which everything revolves. When you’re rested and fresh you can accomplish everything more quickly and easily. When you’re tired and stressed, everything’s an obstacle. Frenzied thinking and activity don’t support dynamic expansion. Focus on yourself. Calm, clear and collected rules the day.
Be flexible and open.
Always remain alert for new opportunities, more efficient operating procedures, new “dead wood” to eliminate. Life’s perpetually changing. Constantly re-evaluate. Listen to your staff and reward suggestions for simplifying procedures and greater productivity. Don’t get mired in old, ineffective habits.
It’s all in the details.
The difference between two businesses - one successful, the other not - is often in the details. Take two stores of similar size, with comparable locations and inventory. One may flourish, the other falter. Why? Walk into the first. Everything’s neat and clean, well organized, with a friendly, upbeat staff. You know they’ll satisfy their customers. Store number two is dimly lit, cluttered, with an inattentive staff. Customer’s requests are considered a chore. Where would you rather shop? Look at your store with a fresh eye and fine tune your way to the top. The magic is in the margins.
Nothing succeeds like success.
What have you accomplished? Pause and pat yourself on the back. Be lavish with praise for your staff - and customers. Tout your talents. It’s a self-perpetuating attitude. Positivity is a magnet for success.