Are you too busy? Someone asks you out for lunch and you say “no I’m too busy for a lunch break”. A staff member asks for help and you send them away while you point at your massive to do pile. Or maybe you equate busyness with being good at your job.
When we are busy we’ve got so many things on the go at once, phones ringing, emails getting checked, staff needing attention, a jam packed schedule.
The cause of all that “busy-ness” is that our work and our lives have become very complex. The “I’m so busy” style of working and living is throwing up some negative results.
There is a new trend that is growing in business as a response to managers, employees and customers being overwhelmed by increasing work complexity, information overload, and the stressful 24/7 environment. It’s called simplification.
3 ways to simplify our work practices
- Take control of the time wasters that make us busy
Even though emails, phone calls and meetings are a part of our jobs we can make sure that we are spending the right amount of time and effort on them.
Try these ideas:
- Instead of the hour long talk fest meeting try a stand-up meeting that produces an action and accountability list.
- Schedule time to check emails and quit your email app to stop the distracting email pops ups.
- Tell someone how much time you have to talk with them before they launch into a long discussion
- Write shorter emails
- Eliminate the unnecessary steps
Over time our work practices can become stacked with unnecessary steps.
Let me give you an example. A manager that I coach was complaining to me about the amount of time it takes for staff to process an order. I asked him to work with the staff to map out the order process so we could see what happened from when the order was taken to when it was shipped.
The map showed us that there was some duplication of effort, some redundant actions and more alarmingly that each staff member did the job a bit differently. So we mapped out the task as it should be done, removed a lot of steps and taught staff how to work more efficiently by simply following the process.
I too often hear business owners say that they are too busy to map out the processes. It is the single most important action you can take to reduce the operating costs and simplify the work in your business. I’ve identified millions of dollars in savings for my clients just by mapping and optimising processes.
3 Get some time away
As soon as you start to get frustrated at work it’s a clear signal that you need to step away. It’s an established fact that we can’t problem solve when we are frustrated and then there’s the impact on others when we are abrupt or frustrated in our demeanour.
Rather than struggle through with a problem or task, the more effective way to act is to create some space for our minds to clear the backlog. It can be as simple as taking a walk for 15 minutes or turning your attention to something that is easier to do. Inevitably you’ll come back to the situation with some newfound inspiration that was lost in amongst the frustration.
The bottom line
Even if simplification wasn’t in your thinking before you read this blog, make sure you put it on your resolutions list for 2017.
Work complexity is fast becoming the biggest challenge to innovation, growth, employee performance and customer satisfaction. And there’s a huge difference between activity and achievement. It’s up to business leaders to take control of the time wasters, eliminate unnecessary steps and encourage working in a way that is easier and that get results.