People chose to work from home for different reasons. Many persons who work from home do not have an online business even though they use their computer extensively. In order to be efficient and productive and thereby contribute to your success, it’s important to have systems in place. Systems are defined as a set of detailed methods, procedures, and routines established or formulated to carry out a specific activity.
Here are three systems in your home office that could be great time savers, but at the same time can rob you of your time if not used wisely.
1.Your Computer As a Time Saver: I cannot imagine running a business from home without a computer. Your computer allows you to store huge amounts of information and retrieve them with a few clicks of your mouse. The volume of software on the market allows you to be creative, and of course, access to the internet allows you to communicate quickly and effectively, as well as do research quickly.
If you’re in Direct Sales, for example, you can use your computer to send your customers an e-card. I like to send an actual greeting card through the US mail and my customers invariably call to thank me. Just for reading my post, go ahead and click the greeting card link and send a card to yourself or someone you care about. I’ll pay for your card and your postage.
Your Computer Can Rob You of Time: To determine how effectively you are using your computer for your business, why not keep a notepad by your computer and do a quick test. Jot down how much time you actually sit in front of your computer over the course of one week. Then note how much time you actually work in your business. You may be surprised to find how much time you spend surfing the internet, checking your e-mails during the day, visiting social networking sites, etc. compared to how much actual work you’ve accomplished. While these are essential yo your business, they can become time-consuming if not managed properly.
2. Your Telephone As a Time Saver: The telephone gives you the ability to communicate messages quickly and almost instantly. It can save you lengthy trips away from your income-producing activities and allows you to keep in touch with your clients or customers, your peers, and others in your network on a regular basis. It’s also a wonderful medium for providing prompt customer service to your customers.
If you are in Direct Sales, one effective way of using your telephone is to make at least three customer calls each day. And if you have a team, call at least one member on your team each day.
Your Telephone Can Rob You of Your Time: Telephone calls can disturb your thoughts and throw your schedule out the door for the day. Many callers are never content with a brief conversation, and may feel that because you work from home you should be available to talk whenever and for however long they wish to talk. Ineffective use of voice mail can also be a time waster. Leave a short, but detailed message rather than “Call me!” It gives the person receiving the call an opportunity to get the answer to your inquiry before calling you back and may eliminate the need for another phone call.
Even when you call your clients or customers, if this is not to discuss a project and you’re just calling to check on them or follow-up on a purchase, set a limit on the amount of time you talk to each person. It may sometimes be necessary to start your call with “Hi …. It’s ….. with So and So… I’m just making a quick call to follow-up, etc.” Hopefully they’ll understand that it’s not a social call.
3. Your Filing System As a Time Saver: Being able to find an important document immediately is an invaluable time-saving benefit. It not only saves time but is actually good for your health as the level of frustration and anxiety experienced when an important document cannot be found is not in your health’s best interests. There should be a proper place to keep your files, even if it starts with just a box, which should be labeled and files sorted in a logical way for easy retrieval.
Your Filing System Can Rob You of Your Time: The expression “There’s method in my madness” is used by many to excuse their lack of organization. If you can’t find it when you need it, then there is no method or organization. Touching lots of paper and files, pulling out drawer after drawer in an effort to locate one document is a waste of your time and is unproductive.
Many years ago I did a Time Management course and the point was stressed over and over that you should touch a piece of paper only once. The idea is that when something gets on your desk you make a decision immediately where it should go, if it merits further attention, or if it should be shredded. Unfortunately, I’ve still not reached that lofty goal and of all these systems, my filing system is the most challenging because I’m always keeping that piece of correspondence to read later. There’s probably a name for that somewhere.
Time Management begins with managing yourself and your resources and your systems are part of your resources. What systems do you have in place and how effective are they for your business?