We all have 24 hours in a day, but some use that time better than others. Here’s a list of how they do it:
1. Build a Manual. For those things you realize you do over and over, right down the process so others can follow it. Next time you won’t have to spend hours reinventing the wheel, because you’ll have a step by step guide to follow.
2. Create and Use Templates. You can use templates for so many things: invoices, contracts, faxes, orders, proposals, statements, product and service descriptions; that way, you will save many hours by just changing the things that need to be changed like customer name, part number, etc., instead of writing one of these documents from scratch each time.
4. Use a Calendar. It comes very handy to have a calendar close, accessible and in a place where you can look at it every time you need to. That way you won’t be forgetting appointments and double booking yourself. Online calendars that sync with your cell phone are ideal (eg. Google Calendar and iPhone)
5. Make a To-Do List. Nothing works like a to-do list. It not only gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you are able to cross something off, but it also helps you keep things in perspective.
6. Prioritize. Often the most important things for your business and your life don’t have a clear deadline and we tend to leave them for last and everything else seems to get attention before those really important things. As a consequence, we often pay a big price in time and money for not paying attention to these things on a timely manner.
7. Set Time Aside. Make appointments with yourself for some creative thinking time. This is when you are going to grow your business, think strategically and add a competitive edge to your venture. Treat these appointments like you would any other appointment with a customer. Do not allow interruptions and do not cancel them to extinguish fires.
8. Organize Your Shopping Needs. Avoid having to run to the supply store every day. Keep a list of all the things you need and unless you have something extremely urgent to get, only go once a week or once every other week.
9. Plan Your Errands. Make your errand time an efficient one. Plan your route, know what you need to do ahead of time and avoid rush hours.
10. Keep Frequently Used Things Handy. If you are dealing with a client right now, keep that file in your drawer instead of the big file room. Same with staplers, and other supplies that you may share with others. And, put those things you don’t use often – out of the way!
11. Learn to use Technology. Email can be trickier than it appears, but if you can use filters, spam check, folders, you can really prioritize what, when and how you read your emails.
12. First Things First. Avoid procrastination. Do the most important things early in the morning, that way you won’t get caught up in a panic mode at the end of the day. That probably means not having your email open until the afternoon!
13. Use Your Voice Mail. If you are working on something important and you are not expecting an important phone call, either let someone else answer the phone or set your voice mail to answer your calls. That way you won’t get interrupted every 30 seconds.
14. Get Help. You’re probably overworked, because you’re trying to do too much yourself. If you can afford an assistant or another sales person, it may be a good investment, because if you get a good helper the results will show.
15. Take Care of Yourself. Fill your bucket first, so you can fill others. Eat properly, exercise, get enough sleep, relax. If you are out of ideas to overcome a roadblock, hire an entrepreneur or executive coach. They can help you overcome almost any obstacle allowing you to achieve your goals.