There are only so many hours in the day – or so the busy business folks lament.
I have found myself over-committed and without the time I wish I had to get everything done each day. I remember when I got my first big promotion, and I was given increased responsibility and dirt to cover. . .and the angst it caused me at first.
I remember feeling so overwhelmed. I imagine you have felt this before – that feeling of being below water and not being able to catch your breath. You look up at the clock expecting it to be 10 am and find its 4:30. Do you know how that feels? I bet you’ve found yourself there at one time or another – or maybe you are there right now.
It isn’t so much the feeling of being overwhelmed, but rather that feeling of failing. Of failing to address the needs of your team, clients, Guests, and even your family. This doesn’t even begin to cover the impact it has on things you need to do for you in your business and personal life.
But before you give up – which happens more often than folks admit – read these five tips.
Being productive and organized is so important because of the impact it has on others. To serve Guests well, you must be available to them. That means finding a way to cut through the clutter of daily work, handle the important items quickly, and get out into your business.
The same holds true of your teams – they need you as well. They need to you to develop them, coach them, and lead them. And on a very base level, they need you to approve their expense reports, review their ideas, and respond to questions. None of these things can happen if your are buried in spam and busy work – and this isn’t the delicious spam that goes so well with scrambled eggs. No such luck. This is the nitty-gritty, time sucking, no value spam that eats up valuable time every day.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND LET’S EAT THAT ELEPHANT When you look at projects, emails, or the daily flow of work, it can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you find yourself behind or trying to pound through a giant backlog of email. We’ve all left our inboxes too long and had to pay the piper. If you find yourself flustered by so much to do, then break it down into pieces. Set a goal to eliminate 50 extra emails each day or jump in and work at it full tilt for 1 hour. Then move on to something else. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed and make it easier for your to focus on making progress. That feeling of accomplishment will often lead you to do an extra 15 minutes on that project or maybe tackle a few extra pieces of the puzzle – sometimes getting started is the hardest part and this will help you with that.
STOP TOUCHING THINGS SO MANY TIMES. There is the old OHIO adage that begs you to Only Handle Things Once. That is a fantastic way to tackle your daily work. It isn’t always possible (sometimes you have to let something sit for a minute or maybe you even need to cool down before you can respond), but it gives us all a nice goal for which to shoot. If you find yourself looking at email or notes over and over again, then you are wasting time. Every time you settle in to look at it, you have to find your place and begin again. If at all possible, deal with it, delete it, file it, or make it someone else’s responsibility. In any case, those four options move it out of your work queue. This is also a great time to talk about delegating. In most cases you have a team for a reason – use them. Make sure you are delegating out the work and then following up on progress to be sure the quality you demand is there.
DON’T LET PEOPLE RUN YOUR LIFE WITH EMAIL It is so easy today for folks to send you rogue calendar appointments or forward you information to review. Keep a close watch on what is being sent to you via email and set boundaries with colleagues. Your supervisor is a whole different matter, but for now settle for containing those who don’t keep you employed. Don’t let your coworkers hijack your day with nonsense. I often check email quickly in the morning just to make sure my boss hasn’t sent me anything that needs attention then I go on with my task list. I don’t much care for folks using my inbox to try to add work to my day or advance their agenda, so I guard against that by pushing back the nonsense to the sender.
FIND A SYSTEM YOU LOVE TO STAY ORGANIZED There are so many great systems out there today for organization that it’s a shame that more folks don’t take advantage of them. I am a huge fan of OneNote – which is a handy task list, note taking, and filing system that can sync across mobile and desktop seamlessly. This is a great place to keep a daily journal, a task list, and even file project photos and meeting notes. Couple that with a tightly controlled calendar through Outlook and I have what I need to stay on track. You may prefer EverNote or even good old-fashioned note cards or notebooks. Anything can work so long as you develop a system that gets results and that you maintained with discipline and consistency.
STOP MULTI-TASKING You can’t do it so stop trying. When I watch people bounce from email to a spreadsheet to an E-Learning I just chuckle and know that I’ll be done with my work and out the door before they finish any two of those things. The fact of the matter is that while it feels like you are getting more done, you are just touching things too many times. Every time you switch gears you have to get back in that frame of mind and find your groove. Once you find your groove, just stay in it and finish the task. Our scattered brains love to jump around, but you have to resist the urge and tackle things one at a time – it will take you less time in the long run and your results will be superior.
These five items are just the tip of the iceberg. But if you find yourself drowning in work and need to start getting your life back in balance, this can help you start moving in the right direction.
It is imperative that you own every second and get the most out of your day to ensure you have the maximum amount of time to spend with your Guests, your team, and your family.
Until next time, stay organized and treat every Guest like a cherished friend.
Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker
Check out my new book: RECIPE FOR SERVICE Now Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Recipe-Service-Inspire-Deliver-Customer/dp/0986391204
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