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Archive for October, 2011

27
Oct

Decision Points to Eliminate Piles of Paper

Do you have piles of paper at home or at work that are waiting for a moment when you have more time? If so, you’re not alone. With the fast pace of our lives, paperwork often gets left to be handled later.

Start first by reducing the volume of unnecessary paper you receive. See my recent blog, Eliminate Spam and Junk Mail for ideas.

When a piece of paper comes in, immediately decide if you should discard, delegate, take immediate action, file for reference, or file it for follow up.  Do not put the paper down somewhere to be handled a second time, make one of the above decisions.

If the paper requires action, ask yourself if it is time sensitive? If so, then use a tickler system that works for you. Remember to keep it simple!

Items that are not date sensitive but still require action should be dealt with weekly at a specified time. Put the time in your calendar as if it were an appointment.

Use these simple guidelines to cut down on the paper in your life and become positively productive!

19
Oct

Capturing Good and Bad Ideas

If I only knew then what I know now! How many of you have ever said or thought that? It’s a fairly common thought among humans, and it is a powerful thought.

If humans could somehow know things in advance that they ultimately learn from the school of hard knocks, they could avoid bad marriages, bad bosses, bad hires, bad customers, bad investments, bad movies and bad sushi. On the other hand, they could also take advantage of an endless supply of opportunities for success.

But the fact is, you cannot know then what you know now. That’s not the way the world works. However, you can do the next best thing: You can know now what others knew then and others can know now what you knew then. Let’s put this idea into a step-by-step format so you can consider implementing it.

Step 1 – Create a form to help capture ideas. Use this form to capture good and bad ideas. Give the form a name and write it on the top. For example, you can call it an Idea Sharing Form. Add a blank space to the top of the form labeled Category. In this blank space, you might categorize ideas into sales, production, customer service, retention and so forth and so on. Think in terms of how someone might search for an idea later. Include an area with a few lines to record a highly summarized version of the idea. Label this section Headline of Idea. Under that, create an eight- or 10-line space and label it Comments and Explanation. If you’d like, at the bottom of the page, create a couple of blanks labeled Author and Date. Having said all of this, use a pencil to draft your form and make any changes to my ideas on the design of the form that make sense to you.

Step 2 – Have someone create an electronic version of the form to make it easy to distribute to your employees. Even better, create a document that allows others to fill it out on their computer rather than handwriting it.

Step 3 – Fill out at least one of these forms each week and encourage all employees to fill out a minimum of one form per week. Write up an idea that worked great or one that bombed; it doesn’t matter since people can ultimately benefit from both. Have someone transfer the ideas to a searchable database that all employees can access. Keep it simple.

Think about it, if you have 10 employees and everyone (including you) completes at least one form per week, you will have a database of around 550 ideas after 12 months – a database of ideas that specifically relate to successfully, or unsuccessfully, running your specific business.

This database can serve as a non-intimidating source of knowledge for you and your employees. Any employee who chooses to use this database can frequently say, “I know now what you knew then.” And that is a good thing!

Written by Chris Crouch, developer of the GO System.

13
Oct

Eliminate Spam Email and Junk Mail

How much time do you spend dealing with spam email and junk mail? Both at work and at home, information we don’t want or need seems to be creeping into our lives.

The temptation is to just delete the email or glance at the paper mail and then throw it in the trash. What you don’t think about is how much time you could save in the long run if you don’t have to handle the information or paper in the first place.

What is the value of clearing clutter from your email inbox, so you can actually find the important information? What is the value of clearing the clutter from your mind and not having to handle or make decisions about unsolicited paper, magazines, etc.?

The next time you encounter email you don’t want, take the extra minute to unsubscribe from the mailing list. If needed, send a personal email to politely ask to be removed from an email list.

For unwanted catalogs and mail, check out the website www.catalogchoice.org. There you can submit all of your unsubscribe requests in one place. It may take a month or two to be removed.

Finally, think about your social networking options. Change your account settings to receive only what you really need.

Implement these ideas to clear your inbox and your mind and become positively productive!

6
Oct

Focusing on the unimportant

When you find yourself focusing on low-value, unimportant activities … and you know full well you have much more important things to do … ask yourself this question:

What am I avoiding and why?

If you are going to stick your head in the sand and avoid important things anyhow, you might as well use the time to “look beneath the surface of things” and try to determine what is really going on. Don’t look for complex answers. Look for easy answers such as: I am unclear about what I am supposed to be doing or, I am not sure how to get started.

You don’t usually have to get too far beneath the surface of things to find the source of your avoidance.

Written by Chris Crouch, developer of the GO System.