In the world of small business ownership, one of the biggest challenges business owners face today is the ability to stay focused. Fully understanding how detrimental lack-of-focus can be for their business, business owners and managers often struggle with this issue.
In our on-going efforts to help our customers, Cartridge World Bloomingdale/Wheaton/Downers Grove would like to offer 5 tips for keeping your business in focus.
- Do the task at hand – When it comes to time management issues, it is easy to fall into the mistaken belief that you can multi-task, thereby using your time more efficiently. Time management experts and business coaches all seem to agree that this is the best way to ensure that nothing gets done well. You may be able to do more than one task at a time, but sharing your attention with many projects, can result in low-quality work.
- Prioritize your tasks – There are several good matrixes available to help you prioritize your tasks. Here is one by Stephen Covey from his first book “First Things First.” Mr. Covey suggests putting together your priority list using a matrix to categorize each of your tasks and then numbering them on a list to keep you organized. For items that require clear fresh thinking, make sure to schedule them at your peak operating times. If you are a night owl that might be after lunch, whereas a morning person would probably prefer to do these tasks in the morning. Whatever time you schedule them for, be sure to focus on the task alone and not allow non-emergency interruptions.
- Take a break – It may seem a counterproductive notion, especially when you have so much to do; but working for short periods of time, 45 to 60 minutes, can actually increase your productivity. Set a timer or alarm and schedule breaks throughout your day. Get up and walk around, get a glass of water, talk to a friend or colleague about a non-work item. You will come back refreshed and better able to concentrate on the next task on your list.
- Deal with it the first time – In the day of the overrun email box, it is a good habit to treat emails like you used to treat postal mail. It can be overwhelming to sit down at your computer and see 7000+ emails waiting for you. Go through your emails with a ‘read it once’ attitude. If it is unimportant trash/delete it at once. If you will need to follow up on it star it or otherwise mark it as important. Set a time reminder for when you need to follow up on it. If it is something that you need to keep as a reference for a later time file it. All email programs allow you to make folders. Use this key feature as a way to keep your inbox empty. By the time you have gone through your emails in the morning, your email box should be empty or only have the items you plan on dealing with immediately.
- Plan your week based on tasks – Group like-tasks for specific days. If a particular weekly-task seems to take up most of a day, then schedule a specific day for that task. Schedule other tasks that require less time but are similar in focus around the main task for that day. This will also help your clients know when they can count on reaching you or hearing from you. If you schedule your non-emergency follow-ups for a certain day of the week, you will find your clients adjusting their communication with you to fit that schedule whether you inform them of it or not.
Organizing your day, week and tasks is one of the best ways to keep your business flowing smoothly. At Cartridge World Bloomingdale/Wheaton/Downers Grove, we want to help you with running your business more efficiently. Remember to check out our special services for small businesses such as product delivery and services for your printer. Come in to one of our stores and let us help you with your printing needs by providing re-manufactured and refilled printer cartridges.