StrategyDriven Practices for Professional Article

5 Tips on How to Better Your Time Management

StrategyDriven Practices for Professional Article

In a world where it is getting difficult to spare even one moment for personal salvation, time is of the utmost essence. The world is progressing at a pace that is becoming more and more rapid daily. The days seem to be getting shorter and there are somehow not enough hours to deal with the huge bulk of tasks that await us. We all know how it feels like to wake up regretting the procrastination we thought wouldn’t have that big of an impact.

This is the reason time management is fast becoming a necessity instead of a choice.

If you want to be able to breathe without feeling suffocated, then you need to start working towards managing your time. It is the only way to make your day more productive without cracking under the pressure. Due to the rising need, time management has now become a process that must be treated like any other value-generating function. It has become a proper discipline and more people are working towards refining it.

Here are a few tips that will revolutionise your entire schedule and assist you in dealing with the daily stress without losing your sanity.

  1. Make use of resource planning software

This first tip is especially important for busy businesses. Resource planning software is a blessing when it comes to efficient time management. These tools assist you in planning out your day and completing your tasks on time. Any business is founded on the belief that time is money for everyone and that making the most out of it is everyone’s aspiration.

These systems are designed to save your valuable time and improve project delivery. This will help you delegate projects to the right people, improve the quality and speed of work, and take productivity to a new level.

If you’re looking to make use of resource planning software, an example I found that’s worth looking into is timewax (https://www.timewax.co.uk/) which is a highly proficient and reliable resource planning application for businesses of all sizes and nature. It is a multi-platform solution that travels with you wherever you go, on your desktop or your mobile devices, offering the freedom to work without wasting time.  If you are looking to give your profits a significant turnover, then Timewax is your go to time management assistant.

  1. Prioritise Intelligently

One of the secrets behind the lives of those who seem to have it all together is that they have learned the art of prioritising. Instead of allowing the daily workload and endless chores bring you down, make a list of all your tasks and then break them down into several categories for your own ease. Prioritising will help you plan your time in a better and more productive manner than if you haphazardly attempt to check items off your to-do list.

Here are four priority categories you can jot down and fill in according to the urgency of the tasks at hand:

  • Important and critical– Tasks that are high priority and must be done no matter what. These are the tasks you should start with.
  • Important, but not critical– These jobs are ones that seem to be important at first glance, but after a closer look do not make it to the list of tasks to be completed urgently. Note down a slot for each of these responsibilities and complete them according to your decided schedule.
  • Critical, but not important: These chores are a nuisance as they are not of any real value, but gain importance because of the ‘noise’ they make. Make efforts to delegate such tasks to someone else and if not possible, attempt to give them average precedence.
  • Not important and not critical: These are the responsibilities you can do without as they only clutter your day and make you busier than you actually are. It is best to delegate these tasks so that the time saved can be utilised for priority tasks.
  1. Learn to Plan Ahead

One of the worst blunders you can make to ruin your entire day is to jump in without having a clear picture of what you are expected to accomplish. The time you spend planning the events of your day is trivial compared to the time you will waste jumping from one task to another, desolately trying to accomplish everything. There are two time-frames for you to plan out your schedule, depending on whether you are a night person or a day enthusiast:

  • The night before: Take fifteen minutes out before you start your bedtime routine to note down the tasks that are waiting for you when you wake up. Getting up the next day with everything already planned out will give you a sense of calm and kick-start your day on a good note.
  • First thing in the morning: After getting ready to face the day, sit down and plan your day before leaving for your first assignment.
  1. Set deadlines

Even when our days are filled with an endless list of tasks, we still somehow manage to waste time procrastinating or doing things that we can definitely do without. Setting specific deadlines for every task you need to finish will help you keep your schedule and avoid losing precious time.

Try to set a deadline that is a few hours earlier so that you can take care of any tasks that emerge suddenly. It is helpful to challenge yourself and setting a reward for yourself for completion of the chore will do wonders for you.

Keep your eyes on the clock and do not let anything divert your focus and attention. Set rewards for completing your task on time.

  1. Utilise Your Downtime Efficiently

This certainly does not mean that you spend all of your downtime planning and prioritising further, as it will just elevate your stress levels and make you incompetent. If you find yourself stuck in morning traffic or sitting in the waiting room before a meeting, then finalising your dinner plans or putting together a grocery list will help manage your time efficiently. However, make sure you spend some of this extra time relaxing and catching your breath as overworking your mind will lead to premature fatigue before the day is even half over.

Time management is a skill that everyone needs to master. Be it a student attending music lessons after school or a business person running from one meeting to another. Stressing out about having too much to do in an inadequate amount of time will only result in you almost getting a brain haemorrhage!

Make use of these tips, get help where you can, invest in the right technology and watch your life take a turn for the better. You will be able to spend some quality time with your loved ones without having to feel guilty about sacrificing the time you could have spent on completing your tasks.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

The Real Steps Towards Business Success

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

When you’re in business, things can start to go stale. This can happen in the early stages, before you’ve even fledged the nest of learning everything that you already need to know – or (as is the case in most instances) a little later on towards the end of your career. There are highs and lows in business, and success can come once, many times or not at all. Just because you’ve been successful once doesn’t mean that it’s not your turn again. It’s all about taking note of the building blocks to get yourself back towards where you need to be.

Take Note Of New Talent

Just because you’ve been your line of business for a long time doesn’t mean that things aren’t open to changing. There are always going to be new people walking in and out of offices all over the world, wanting to learn the exact same things that you did – but bringing so much more to the table. We are now in the world of ecommerce, where online trade is booming – Turn 5 and Steve Voudouris is just one example of taking something online and seeing your business take off, with Ford Mustang and other car parts being dealt independently. It’s as simple as that, but may need a bit of work to get on board with. Getting onto their (fresh talent’s)  wavelength and seeing what they have got to offer isn’t the end of the world, nor is it lowering yourself. It is instead being open-minded and thinking with a business brain.

Be Critical

You can be too critical in business, especially when it comes to the work of other people. You need to turn that criticism on yourself and see what you can work on to improve your process. It may be something as simple as waking up an hour earlier to get a clear mind ready for the day ahead, or perhaps you need to be more empathetic in your approach to employees. Don’t be afraid to listen to feedback and work on it yourself. That way you know that you are working upon the steps that other people have noticed that you need to take.

Don’t Reap Rewards

It can be easy to get too complacent with what you’re doing, or have done in the past. You need to keep yourself on your toes at all times and be prepared for change. Business is always changing, and those who have been in the game for long enough know this fact. Don’t take it for granted; instead, look for opportunities to really develop on what you know already. Don’t celebrate something until it is finally and completely a job well done; congratulating yourself along the way for a project that isn’t totally finished will only see you slog back to doing the basics that are required for you to get to the end. You need to be working at your best ability throughout all of your tasks, and so do your employees. Set a target and stick to it.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

Ten Mistakes People Make In Business And How To Avoid Them

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Making mistakes is fine. We all do it, from small mistakes to life-changing disasters. So it is with people in business. Embarking on a new venture can be rewarding, and the chances of getting things wrong are high. But then again, nobody’s perfect, not even experienced business owners with inflated egos and know-it-all attitudes

Whatever your position in business, take heed of the following mistakes that many people make along the way.

Having no vision

You need to have a vision for your company. Without one, you are destined to fail. You need a business plan, so you know where you are heading. Consider your target demographic, budget, and your goals in both the short and long term.

Being second best.

Maybe you have a business selling cushions. You may think you are the greatest cushion maker there has ever been. However, there are a lot of other cushion sellers out there, so you need to be able to compete with them to stand out in the market place. Check out the competition and find ways to make your product unique, in design and affordability. No matter how busy you get, don’t get corners. If your product is not up to scratch, it is not going to sell.

Doing everything

Sadly, no matter what you think, you are not superhuman. You may be able to take on some or all of the tasks your business needs, but you will be tiring yourself if you try to do everything. Find people who can help you, such as hiring new staff or an accountant for financial matters. Ultimately, it is better to be a master of a few things rather than everything.

Poor marketing

All good businesses use the power of the internet  for their services. Whether you own an actual store or are setting up a business when working from home, you need to get online. Create a website to sell your product. Make a social media account, Facebook or Pinterest for example, and rally a legion of followers and customers. Send out business cards and flyers, through email and the post to local houses and businesses. Hire somebody with SEO skills to ensure you are featured prominently on search engines. Take out ads in the local media, including radio and newspapers.

It is rare that people will just stumble on to your business, so make it easy for them to find you.

Not budgeting properly

Many companies fall at the first hurdle because money dries up. You need to plan right at the beginning of your business, be it through saving capital or taking out a bank loan. You will run at a loss initially, but with the right marketing and selling tools, you will eventually make money.

Money invested into the business should not go towards the new TV you always wanted, so have separate bank accounts for business and personal use.

Most of us buy insurance cover to protect our lives and homes from potential damages. Doing the same for our business is equally as important. There are different types of business insurance, covering your assets, employees, and liability in the event your product harms somebody after purchase. It may cost a little in the short term, but is vital for the long term.

You still have a life outside of your business, so in budgeting take into account other important expenditure such as family, bills, and food!

Not taking it seriously

There is a lot of hard work involved in setting up a business, so it is important to take it seriously and not treat it like a hobby. Check out the competition when considering prices, spend time maintaining your website, and do all the legal and accounting paperwork. Cutting corners in any area of the business may cause problems down the line. Yes, it is hard work, but it should be worth it down the line when you start making a profit.

Poor leadership

If you have a small or large team working with you, it is important to communicate with them clearly. Share with your team the company vision and work collaboratively in making it come to fruition. Be honest about your feelings towards them, giving praise when it is due and pulling individuals up if they are slacking. Good communication is a two-way process so listen to the opinions of your team. Be a good role model, inspiring the trust of those around you. A good leader is one who knows what he wants and delivers on his promises. It is important to give equal respect to everybody on the team, to ensure you get the same in return.

Ignoring customer needs

Without customers, the business is not going to go anywhere. Therefore it is important to understand the needs of the customer. For example, help them to save money by offering promotional deals and allowing for free shipping of your product. Listen to any feedback and take action on it. When a customer raises a question, don’t wait a week before you answer them. Remember, there are probably hundreds of businesses like yours, so maintain customer loyalty, and consider these customer service quotes.

Forgetting their personal lives

Of course, you want to make a good go of your business, but don’t forget other areas of your life. Spend time with family and friends, and enlist their moral support in both the good and the bad times. Make sure you eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle, including exercise to build up your physical and mental health. Being happy in both your personal and professional lives is important as if you fail in one you may fail in the other.

Giving up

You aren’t going to get rich overnight; it could take years to achieve. Whatever pitfalls you encounter, don’t give up too early. You need to persevere, seek help where you need it and be prepared to eat humble pie occasionally. If it doesn’t work out, well, at least you tried. Whatever mistakes you make, learn from them.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professional Article
Photo courtesy of Walter Lim via flickr

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article

A Joker Not Up For The Job: How To Make The Business World Take You Seriously

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Annette Wamser via Wikimedia

Being the joker isn’t always a bad thing. Who doesn’t dream of making everyone laugh at a dinner party? But, there’s no place for jokers in business. In fact, being the laughing stock could cost you custom, respect, and success. So, keep the jokes to yourself, and practice that poker face. If people consider you a serious individual, they’re more likely to put trust in you. They’ll know that you mean business, and won’t let them down. In short; it’ll make a world of difference. We’ve put together a quick-fire list of tips that should make people understand how serious you are.

Credentials

You may have thought you could escape the scrutiny of your credentials when you went it alone, but you’re out of luck. Professionals looking to do business with you will want to know what qualifies you to handle their money. People with qualifications carry more weight. If you turn up with nothing behind you, the chances are that you’ll get laughed off the table. For example, an engineer may not be given much time of day in a business setting. But, if that engineer has an engineering management masters, it’s a different matter. Credentials are also the main thing you can use to set you apart from the competition. For the most part, you will always be fighting others for sales. If you’re more qualified, you’re in a better position to get the deal. And, it’s not only qualifications that boost your credentials. Doing business with the right people is another thing to add to your list. Everyone will take you seriously if you’ve worked with the big boys in the past.

Remember You’re Always on Display

As the face of your business, you are always on display. This applies to your personal life and your business pursuits. You need to be on your best behavior. One wrong comment could come back to bite you later down the line. Get into the habit of censoring yourself before you speak. This even applies to your personal social media accounts. Once people know who you are, you need to stay squeaky clean. It’s also important to note that you must stay professional at business dinners and nights out. The wine may well be flowing, but you can’t afford to get wasted. What associates will take you seriously if they saw you dancing on the table the night before? Keeping a clear head is the best way to avoid a slip-up.

Ruthlessness Works

People who make it big in business are often ruthless individuals. Bear that in mind on your quest to become a serious business figure. If people think they can walk all over you, they’ll do so. You’ll become the joker all over again, and this time it’ll cost you. If you feel someone is taking advantage, make sure you call them out on it. Threaten to pull out of the deal, and watch them come crawling back. You can bet they won’t try the same thing twice.

StrategyDriven Resource Management Article

Time Is Money; Spend It Well

It’s an old adage and one that proves true in business every single day of the year. You pay for your employees’ time. You pay to keep the lights on and the network running. You invest in the tools used to do the job. When time is wasted, the money you spend on the things mentioned above is wasted. So, what can a business owner do to master time?

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Time is about priority

For the individual, good time management is all about what you spend your time on. If someone isn’t used to the duties of a business, they may not entirely be aware of which tasks on their workload are of the most important. Make sure that proper priority is taught throughout the business. Talk to employees more often about their workload and make sure they’re focused first on the tasks most important and most urgent. Creating a matrix on those lines can help them much better manage their own workload in future.

Availability can make the difference

The business runs on its own schedule as well. It runs on a schedule of project deadlines and the availability of certain resources. Keeping everyone synced to that schedule through things like project management and room scheduling software is vital. Without such tools, people will hold projects up and employees will clash when trying to use the same meeting room. Keeping the business schedule visible to everyone in advance of the plans they make will make it a lot easier for everyone to navigate around one another.

Eliminate downtime

Another wide-reaching issue is business downtime. In manufacturing, in construction, even in the office, equipment failure is by and large the biggest cause of downtime. A proactive maintenance schedule is the best way to avoid more downtime, but you should attempt to have backups available more often than not. Whether that’s a backup generator in the premises in the event of a power cut or an alternative internet connection to use when the regular one fails. Don’t let downtime dominate the workplace.

Deal with distraction

Back to the individual, there’s one issue that’s all about the human aspect of the business. We’re talking about distraction. The average worker loses 759 hours a year because of it. As a business owner, if you were to calculate how much those hours cost you, it would probably be enough to burst a blood vessel. Sources of distraction need to be sought and warned against regularly. Whether that means talking about appropriate use of social media or email management within the work schedule or creating a system of communication that ensures that requests to help from their colleagues don’t interrupt someone in the middle of their own tasks.

Stop déjà vu

Another way you will easily lose time is neglecting to keep hold of the information that’s going to save the business time. This might be the way of simplifying certain tasks or how you train new individuals. Don’t tread the same steps time and time again. Record more sticky information about how the business runs so you can catch people up in no time.

The better use of time, the benefits of collaborative scheduling, and the importance of keeping knowledge in the business can create a much more efficient and effective business. Never think that you can afford to waste time. The money spent on that wasted time builds up much quicker than you might realise.