May 3, 2016
As an entrepreneur, dealing with finances is a big part of the job. As money is a huge focus in business, it can make it difficult to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of each day, especially when you are faced with frustrating time wasters and distractions. You may feel as if you spend your day dealing with unnecessary emails and fixing other people’s mistakes.
These time wasters are made a thousand times worse then you have a whole team beneath you struggling to stay on top of things. Fortunately, there are some brilliant productivity hacks to help keep you on track.
Sometimes, the best way to improve productivity is to establish guidelines and implement procedures and processes. Processes and procedures can be used to build efficiency into the way that you and your team handles, mundane, daily tasks. Think of it like a formula. If this needs to be done, take these 5 steps. Obviously, you cannot write out a process for every eventuality. However, you can give yourself and your team more headspace to deal with mission critical issues by making other issues easier to deal with.
Reassess “TPS Reports”
If you’ve ever watched the popular movie Office Space, you know that a “TPS report” is the useless daily chore of the main character. You also know that they were completely useless for management and employees alike. However, his company insisted they get done on a regular basis… or else.
This may sound absurd, but in reality, it happens. Reports are often generated and distributed without a second thought from founder, CEOs and other management types. The key to keeping these time wasters from ruining your day is verifying their validity regularly.
Here are a few steps you might want to take to avoid this time waster:
- Send out a list of internal reports and put the onus on the recipients to determine what they need. If they don’t include a report, eliminate it.
- If you have a suspected TPS report, generate it and save it. If it’s important people will come looking for it.
- Create spreadsheets instead of reports. Use ODBC or other technology to link directly to the company database to keep things up to date. These are more flexible and up to date than any printed report.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of whiz bang financial apps and packages, but nothing compares with Excel. In addition, nothing compares to the productivity that comes from being an Excel super users. Fortunately, there are tons of tutorials and free courses on Excel. Take a look at this vLook guide to help you maximize your spreadsheet, ninja skills.
Everybody struggles with emails, but let’s be honest, as a financials person you get CC’d, BCC’d, and forwarded on nearly every email that makes the rounds at your company. The only other department that might match this is legal and maybe HR if your boss is rude.
So, how do you deal with this? First, start with people. Know who to reply to ASAP (customers, executives, auditors). Set up a filter so you can read and respond quickly. Then, know who can wait. Filter their emails so you can check them at their leisure. Finally, set specific times of day for checking your emails.
Get Meetings Under Control
If you’ve ever been tempted to skip a meeting because it’s clearly useless, you aren’t alone. Too many people are sucked into meetings that waste their time. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and ask meeting organizers to justify your attendance. In many cases, you will be let off the hook, or will be able to send an underling. Eventually people might do a better job at organizing meetings.
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