Christopher Davenport, MBA, Yes Autoparts4Less (OTCBQ:FLES), a global online marketplace for parts and components for a variety of vehicles.
On any given day, if you are a CEO like me, there are countless things that must be done, and there never seems to be enough time to do them. One of the key issues facing many businesses today is organization, especially now in these rather different times. Unlike in the past, you can rely on your memory, your calendar, or the trusty notepad on your desk. We live in a fast-moving world right now; we can’t stop and look around at our whim, things need to be done as quickly as possible.
So for that, I wanted to show my CEO colleagues some of the things I’ve done to get out of the mess and keep my business going strong.
1. Representative. You don’t have to do it all, it would be foolish to try. Even if you have to pay to hire a third-party or outside contractor, it’s always a good idea to let someone else handle the work you need to get done that doesn’t require your full attention. So start by making a daily and weekly list of all your tasks, find out what you can do for others, and give yourself extra time for important meetings or more family time.
2. Build strong working relationships with others. I can’t say enough about how important it is to maintain good relationships. This follows the “don’t do it all yourself” mentality, as the network you build now will definitely help you delegate when the time comes. Try to create new relationships in whatever area you want, even before you need them. You never know when someone might be important to your continued success.
3. Use lists. Sometimes the simplest things we’ve done for hundreds and thousands of years still work. You have smartphones, computers, tablets, and even old spare pens and notepads, don’t you? Make a list of things you need to do and, as an incentive, put a percentage next to each thing to show how close you are to getting them done. Always keep the checklist close to you for your reference. Don’t think of it as an anchor around your neck, but as a real positive sense of accomplishment every time you get a job done. A very big advantage of making lists is also that you can see what you can delegate to other people.
4. Keep your calendar updated. Appointments, events, meetings, personal and professional reminders, and even whims should all be recorded in some way. Make sure to sync your calendar to all your electronic devices, just in case you forget your smartphone but have a tablet handy. Using Google Calendar with linked calendars in different colors to represent important events is a great option, and it’s free! Another great advantage is that you can record certain tasks you delegate and their due dates, and see how things are going from time to time.
5. When delegating, set written goals and priorities. When you delegate to others, you must prioritize what needs to be done and when. Since you are not doing the work yourself, check back regularly to determine your progress or if you need help. While Google Calendar can help here, since others can edit the calendar if you want, to keep yourself in the loop, you should always try to have a short meeting and see how things go.
6. Do the worst first. Assign the worst or most time-consuming mundane projects first and assist in completing them. Then, to be fair, don’t let your staff or assistants get mad at you and assign them a better, more prestigious program. For example, write a weekly report before starting a new, exciting social media project. Do the worst first and let the tedious things go away and the other tasks become faster and more fun.
7. Organization. Whether it’s your desk or a large warehouse, organization is one of the biggest keys to business success. Don’t look at organizations just for yourself, either. You may have a group of people or a large management team under you. The best way to find a system that works for everyone is to have a quick meeting and discuss it, and stick to it.
8. Get better. Whether you need a better computer, updated software, a second phone line, or a more engaging website, if these improvements will effectively make your job easier and your business more efficient, make them a reality . Of course, this may cost some, but you will save money and time in the long run.
9. Learn to say no. There’s nothing wrong with being generous, and I honestly wish more CEOs would do it. But go too far and you could be covered in snow and end up working extra hard while giving your employees a stroke. There’s nothing wrong with not having enough time to do everything, but if you try to make time, you don’t. Only say yes if the request matches your priority. Make sure the person you’re delegating to can also politely decline when the workload is too high.
10. Do it! Stop reading this article now and move on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I’ll do it” or “It’s on my calendar.” You have work to do, whether you’re going through thousands of emails, organizing a practical closet, or writing a speech. Forget everything else and get started. Success doesn’t belong to those who procrastinate.