We often get started in our work at home business with a rush of activity, and the way we do things kind of evolves without too much thought sometimes. We get into routines or habits of doing a days work in a certain way without stepping back and looking at what we are really doing.
Why does this matter?
It matters because we should be focussing on productive, rather than administrative tasks or work efforts.
Productive tasks will move our business forward and (hopefully) make us more successful and, who knows, more money.
Administrative tasks are necessary but won’t by themselves make us any money. They can make us more productive but are best minimised.
What we should be aiming for is that 80% or more of our time should be spent on productive tasks and maximum 20% spent on administrative tasks.
To do this we need to look hard at the administrative tasks we do as follows:
- When we do them?
- Why do we do them?
- Are they really necessary?
- Do they add to our productive time at all
- Can we cut them out and save admin time?
If you spend one whole morning doing this review of all your admin tasks and as a result save one hour per day going forward you will increase your productive time by a minimum of 12.5% which is well worth aiming for. Think how much more progress you can make with an extra hour per day!
So lets look at one example to get an idea of how to approach admin tasks
Filing of paper
I was a file aholic (is there such a word) until I sat back and looked at this chore.
If we believe we have to keep all of the pieces of paper we come across in our business then the filing system will get out of control.
Try this approach:
- Look to see if you can stop the paper coming, (unsubscribe to papers, magazines) or can you get it electronically (bank statements) so that you don’t have to even touch paper.
- Keep a record over a one month period of paper which you absolutely have to have -legal documents, bills, receipts, statements.
- Put the rest in a file by month , or best case shred them.
- Keep a record of how many times I you need the paper which had simply gone in a box by month. In my case this turned out to be never so I shredded the contents after a three month period.
- Finally for the few files you have to keep make a list of them either numerically or alphabetically (I prefer a numeric list ) so that you know what is filed where. This will save you time in retrieving paper from the files and also in future filing.
- Do filing once per week as this is much more efficient than filing each item, and less disruptive to your routines.
In my case this one off exercise cut down the amount of my paper handling by 95% and as paper handling is so manually intensive this time saving went right into productive tasks instead. Why not give it a try and see if it works for you?