There are all sorts of ways to work smarter rather than harder. I usually speak and write about systemising, automating and delegating work but you can achieve a whole lot more just by organising your workload better.
I run two businesses, Hudson Business Advice is my coaching/training as well as speaking and writing but I also run Minerva Accountants which is much easier to systemise with predefined processes for preparing accounts etc. I therefore use two different systems to track my workflow and deadlines as my brain can’t hold everything that I need to know.
Accountancy Manager is great for a highly systemised business with known inputs, outputs, and a clear process. It’s good for tracking deadlines and uses templated emails at each stage of the process. There are other good systems available but this one suits Minerva best.
For my main business I have fewer standard processes but more individual interactions so I use Active Campaign to add notes and actions relating to each interaction. This business revolves more around people than processes, although I do have standard procedures for as much as possible.
I also use a third system, Trello, to track ideas and project work as well as my household and family tasks. (I will get around to resealing the bath one day!) I can have either a whole Trello board or a list on my main board to ensure that no idea is lost.
So, three systems to manage the three different parts of my life and also a vague attempt to separate them. I prefer these to paper because I can access them from any of my devices which are all backed up to the cloud.
What systems do you use to manage your to do list and ensure that you don’t forget anything?
We’ve all observed that some people work faster than others but by how much?
The numbers I’ve heard (sorry I can’t find the source) are that the variation in manual work can be x2 and complex work like coding x16 between the fastest and slowest workers.
Whether these numbers are accurate or not we have all observed a discrepancy in work rate in the real world. A slower work rate benefits from roles that are paid based on inputs (hours worked) whereas a faster work rate is better paid on outputs as they can either achieve more in the same time or the same in a fraction of the time.
There seems to be a natural ability for this but there are also things that we can do to increase our own work rate:
- Plan the work
- Use the same process for repeat work
- Avoid procrastination and time wasting
- Have proper training
- Gain experience, we all get faster as we become more familiar with a job
- Do work that naturally motivates us
- Don’t work when tired (my big argument for a 25 hour week)
If you run a business that effectively charges for peoples time you may have to adapt your business model to allow for this discrepancy in work rates.
I’m a Line of Duty fan and one of the things that really impresses me is their evidence packs. It’s like an enhanced audit file where everything they say has supporting documentation.
I only wish that my own business documented everything as well. I’m pretty good at making notes and writing processes but often create a second document rather than updating .
Do you document all your processes for yourself, for new starters, and for possible automation? Do you download all email attachments to a separate document management system? I’d love to get some idea of how everybody keeps their client/customer information and their standard operating procedures.
As a chartered accountant I have to make sure that, if anything happened to me, another qualified accountant could step in and keep Minerva Accountants ticking over using my procedures and notes.
Is your paperwork good enough? Would your business survive without you?