Eight Ways to Increase Your Efficiency
Time is Money
1. Wake up early and exercise.
The saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” really is true. You can get a lot done early in the morning when the phone isn’t ringing, and there are a minimum of distractions. Exercising first thing (maybe after reading the Bible) helps to clear your mind for the day and lets it wander when you really aren’t doing anything else.
2. Plan for the entire week on Monday.
A friend once said that he used Monday mornings for planning because, “no one wants to hear from me first thing on Monday morning.” The humility of the guy was striking, but maybe there was a certain truth to what he was saying, especially if you are a PR or marketing firm.
3. Practice “batching.”
Batching means doing the same type of tasks all at the same time. The theory is that it takes a certain amount of psychic energy (and time) to start and stop work of particular varieties. However, this should not be viewed as an excuse to let the dishes pile up in your sink and then the colossal amount sometime later in the week.
4. Do your calling at 10 AM.
This is one form of batching, point #3, and also includes elements of point #2 — no one wants to hear from me before 10 AM in the morning. 10 AM also probably ensures that your contacts have arrived at work and probably are not immersed yet in any conference call or other type of limiting activity.
5. Do the “worst” task first.
I read a book quoting Mark Twain, and it said, “If you eat a live frog the first thing every morning, all the other tasks you need to do that day will seem minor by comparison.” This can be applied to business assignments in order to avoid procrastination.
6. When you start something, finish it.
Again, it takes time to start and stop a task. If you get it done all at once, you avoid this wastage. This refers, of course, to relatively short tasks of up to two or three hours. Longer ones require planning, foresight and regular work (see item #5).
7. Use an electronic calendar with “recurring” appointments.
This feature is a godsend. If you get a haircut every six weeks, for example, you can set the recurring function to add it to your schedule every six weeks for infinity. Business assignments, such as filing a quarterly report, can be treated in the same manner.
8. Review regularly for follow-ups.
See item #2. Follow-ups are an important part of business success, and you need to set some kind of firm schedule to ensure they don’t get neglected. Each person has their own system for following up, but whatever it is, you need to stick to it with perseverance. For PR, following up with editors is particularly critical.