timeworth2

Is Information Overload Stealing Your Time?

From emails and text to social media, is it any wonder that many of us operate on information overload. While relevant information certainly builds knowledge, we often need to cut through the clutter to get the nuggets that make a difference in our lives and business.

In the early 1900’s, John Wanamaker, department store founder, said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The same can be said about email, text and social media – about 50% of it is worthless, but you don’t always know which half.

So the key to managing all the information today is simple. Handle each message once, decide what to do with each message and take one of the following actions:

  1. Delete It
  2. Do It
  3. Delegate It
  4. Defer It

Delete It
Half of the information you get can be quickly read and deleted. But many in business hesitate to delete anything but the most obvious junk mail for fear they may need the information later. Certainly, some information is worth keeping, but much of it can be deleted.

Not sure what to delete? Here’s some questions from productivity trainer, Sally McGhee of McGhee Productivity Solutions that may help:

  • Does the message relate to a meaningful objective you are currently working on? If not, you can probably delete it.
  • Does the message contain information you can find elsewhere? If so, delete it.
  • Does the message contain information that you will refer to within the next six months? If not, delete it.
  • Does the message contain information you are required to keep? If not, delete it.

Do It
If you can’t delete it, then ask yourself “Can I take action (do it) in less than two minutes?” Some common quick actions include a simple response to a question, confirming a meeting, making a quick phone call or filing it for future use . If you can do it in less than two minutes, do it. There is little value in closing it to do later. Once you have handled it, delete the email from your inbox.

Delegate It
If you wish to delegate the ‘doing’ to someone else, do so right away. And remember to include specific instructions — what you need him/her to do.  Typically delegating emails can be done in less than two minutes – and the person on the receiving end will appreciate your timeliness. After you delegate it, delete the email from your inbox or move it into a follow-up system file.

Defer It
At times, the action required is something that only you can accomplish – and it will take more than two minutes. These emails should be deferred – to work on later. While you can leave it in your inbox with the greatest expectations to act on it later, buried emails are a recipe for missed deadlines and blown opportunities.

Deferred emails typically require time to work on a project or task or need collaboration in the form of a meeting or conference call. The easiest way to handle this is to create an action item on your to-do list or tasks application if you use your computer or smartphone. Then, as part of your daily and weekly planning, you can prioritize the tasks and schedule time to act on them.

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To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com

delegation

7 Keys to Effective Delegation

As an entrepreneur, delegation is an essential management and leadership skill. It obviously saves you time, helps you avoid burnout and allows you to work on more critical tasks. But often overlooked are the benefits it provides to others in your company. Effective delegation helps you develop, empower and motivate your team – a key to retention and employee satisfaction.

When you entrust others to take on important tasks or projects, you send a message that says, “I believe you can do this.” It gives employees a chance to learn new skills and builds their confidence. It also opens the door for them to take on additional responsibilities and contribute more to the success of the business. When used properly, delegation really is a great team building tool.

How to Delegate Better

  • Engage People. If you pay people and tell them what to do, will things get done the way you want? Most of us realize it’s not that simple. Getting work done through others requires engagement and persuasion. Remember the Chinese proverb, “Tell me I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.” Effective delegation requires a two-way conversation and works best when you get people engaged.
  • Provide Clear Direction. Asking an employee to ‘take care of it’ is fine for routine tasks that they have done before. But taking on new tasks or projects requires direction and communication. Be specific and set clear expectations relating to goals, activities, and authority. A written procedure is a definite plus as it helps with the how-to and resources the individual may need to accomplish the work.
  • Invest Time Now. In most cases, doing it yourself is faster than teaching someone else – the first time. But investing the time upfront to teach and motivate the employee will pay off down the road. The work gets done right and produces the desired outcome without your day-to-day involvement.
  • Don’t Abdicate. Delegation is about giving responsibility and appropriate authority to others – not relinquishing all accountability. As the business owner, you can’t simply pass the buck and walk away. Provide guidance, get feedback, track results and hand out praise as appropriate.
  • Start Small. If delegating is a challenge for you, start with less-urgent or non-critical tasks and projects. You will still need to provide direction and guidance, but it is less problematic when you eliminate tight deadlines. While the employee benefits from learning something new, you will see first-hand that others CAN do it just as well – if not better!
  • Match Skills With People. In small businesses, employees often wear a lot of hats and may have skills outside their normal job responsibilities. Delegation allows you to tap into different talents or experiences and expand their skills through a team project. It’s also a good way to create a sense of belonging – a key to job satisfaction.
  • Recognize and Reward. Delegating is easy when your people WANT to take on new challenges and work. If you want them to go the extra mile or step up and take on more responsibility, develop a reputation as someone who appreciates and recognizes good work! Pay increases, bonuses, and promotions are obvious ways to incentivize people. But rewards do not always need to be wage or salary based. A personal thank you note, special luncheon, recognition at a team meeting, gift cards or paid time off work too! Match the reward to the project or task – and always say thank you for a job well done.

Documented procedures make hiring and training people easier. But they also make delegation a lot more effective too! So don’t underestimate the value of systems when it comes to improving your delegation skills!

Related Article: How Your People and Systems Power Profit and Success

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