Productivity issues are the same everywhere

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on September 22, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Freelancing, Time Management Strategies

Just when I think I’ve heard every industry talk about the issues they have with productivity and scheduling problems, along comes another one to highlight that scheduling is a common problem no matter what you do.

Our time is precious: We have 24 hours each day and we want to eat, sleep, spend time with family and friends, and let’s not forget about taking a little “me time” to catch the latest episode of “So You Think You Can Dance”. Oh, and we need to work somewhere in there, too.

It just makes sense that we continue to learn how to work more effectively so we can earn the same money but spend less time doing it. The rewards, of course, are more time doing the things we enjoy doing.

Recently read: Productivity tips for professionals

Recently, I came across this article in the Insurance Journal, Declare Your Personal War on Time Poverty, written by Scott Simmonds, a consultant for the insurance industry. The article is written for insurance professionals (brokers or agents), but when you read it you’ll agree that you can change a couple of the facts and terminology and it will apply equally as well to…

  • teachers
  • managers
  • doctors
  • librarians
  • entrepreneurs
  • CEO’s
  • … you name it.

With some changes, this article really is applicable to everyone.

It’s applicable to all business owners and professionals

The article begins by describing the problem that insurance professionals have: They have numerous time demands and it can feel like sheer chaos to try and get it all done. (Sounds like the rest of us).

Then the article goes on to recommend that the first step is to create systems that help to keep things moving, avoid procrastination, and ensure that things get done. The article compares broker quote processes to LL Bean’s extremely efficient buying system. This is a good reminder for the rest of us: Stop reinventing the wheel every time we have to do something. If we do it more than once, create a process and stick to it… and eventually aim to outsource that process.

While meetings are a necessity, the article’s author hates them and gives some great tips (and a funny rant) on how to improve (or eliminate) meetings. Even if you implement half of what he suggests into your meetings, your meeting times will shorten dramatically and you will get more done. (Disclosure: I realize meetings are a necessity and I’m not suggesting that they be eliminated entirely. But most of us would agree that they can carry on much longer than they need to).

Lastly, Simmonds provides readers with some great tips about mastering time in various ways. From keeping a clean desk to the traditional A, B, C prioritization method, most of these won’t be new to you at all. However, they always serve as good reminders of best practices to adopt.

And, it’s nice to know that even outside of our own industries, professionals in other industries face the same problems.

Happy Blogging!

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