Organize Your Business In 60 Seconds: Getting your business more organized can improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary overhead costs associated with archaic systems. Here are some simple yet highly impactful ways to start organizing your business in one minute or less:
Make your screen singular. If you leave windows on your computer screen to ensure you never miss an email, instant message or social media interaction, you’re adding unnecessary distraction to your day. In fact, workplace productivity studies conducted at Microsoft indicate that it takes about 15 minutes to reclaim focus to a task (especially one requiring concentration) just for quickly diverting your attention to another window on a computer screen.
Know where your time goes. Schedule “to do” lists with a purpose — including how much time you’ll devote to each task before finishing it, or moving to the next. Though even menial tasks are sometimes unavoidable, they zap you of mental energy, time and potential opportunity cost of not focusing on something else that stands to deliver a bigger benefit based on business goals. Evaluate how much time you’ll spend on each task on your list to ensure you don’t reach a point of diminishing returns — and hold yourself to it. Before starting any new task, set a timer on your computer. When it signals the time to put a task aside for another day, focus on when you’ll complete it, or re-evaluate its perceived importance altogether if it proves more of a time investment than its ultimately worth.
Bring integrity to your inbox. Jordan Weissman, writer for The Atlantic, estimates that workers spend a whopping 650 hours a year tending to business-related email, based on figures compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute. Minimize the amount of email waste by reserving your inbox for exactly that purpose. Before you start sifting through your inbox and firing off replies, organize it into appropriate folders — which may include business categories like “finance” or “operations,” or by relevance to a particular project or client.
Craft a happy-centric business culture. A 2012 study conducted by professors at the University of Warwick revealed that happiness actually boosts workplace productivity by more than 12 percent. In the study of 700 participants, some were shown a funny movie clip or treated to free chocolate, drinks and fruit. Others were questioned about sad events, like recent family tragedies. The study revealed that those whose moods were brought down in the study were indeed, less productive for the remainder of the day. “The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality,” explain the authors. Know what your employees value, and implement such activities into their workday that deliver on what makes them happy, whether that means an on-site fitness program, the option to maintain flexible hours, or have lunch catered to their desk.
Minimalize your workspaces. Visual clutter in the form of files, stacks of papers and Post-it notes strewn about can create feelings of stress and anxiety. Take advantage of document management tools that offer customized solutions for your business, which may include digital storage, or off-site file management to make a space that makes employees feel more mentally free to create and produce.
Promote employee partnership. In the paper “European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2013” authors examined the best practices of three separate Irish companies known for innovation and engagement. The companies shared one common characteristic: A strong sense of social partnership among all employees. You can implement the same approach with basic shifts in workplace communication. For example, simply holding “town hall” style quarterly meetings with employees of all levels increases transparency, and feelings of inclusion. Invite employees to offer input on critical business processes and decisions. Empower employees to be accountable about their contributions, and the subsequent outcomes they present. The impact of such small changes can immediately improve the efficacy of all involved: When “managers gave more responsibility to employees, staff became more [conscientious] about quality standards and more engaged with fixing problems,” conclude the case study authors.
Denny Hammack has over 25 years of experihttpence working in the records management business for more than 25 years. He is currently the President of FileSolve, an industry-leading supplier File & Document Solutions.