How To Clean Up Your Business Spruce up your work by chucking these eight productivity pitfalls. No Swiffer required.
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Spring cleaning isn't just about clearing cabinet clutter and that space behind the toilet. It's also a good time to get rid of the tasks, people and situations that drain time, money and energy from your business--and you. Here are eight productivity pitfalls to cart to the curb.
1. Scattered day plans.
Failure to plan their days is the No. 1 reason business owners waste time, energy and money, says New York City-based time-management expert Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check E-mail in the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work. By not planning their days, they tend to become reactive and distracted, diminishing their productivity and the revenue they can generate. Although a daily to-do list is a start, Morgenstern recommends planning a three-day arc. By looking at a three-day period--and the meetings, deadlines and other demands on your time--you can make better decisions when surprises or emergencies arise. A three-day plan also gives you a clearer idea of when you can postpone activities without overbooking your future. Morgenstern advises spending at least a few minutes each day updating your three-day plan.
2. DIY syndrome.
Morgenstern estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the small and midsize businesses she consults with waste employee salaries, including their own, by not focusing each person's time on the optimal task for that person. Kristin Marquet, founder of communications firm Marquet Media in New York City, found this to be her experience. When she mapped out how she was spending her time, she found she was devoting about 10 hours each week to administrative tasks. At her hourly rate of $100, she estimates she lost approximately $10,000 by trying to do everything herself. After that realization, Marquet hired a bookkeeper, writer and website designer, who cost one-forth of the revenue she would have lost if she had handled the tasks herself. "Although you may feel as if you don't have time to train anyone, spending six hours training someone on a two-hour-per-week task saves you nearly 100 hours per year," Morgenstern says.