One day my daughter informed me she needed a new pair of running shoes. So I was dreading going down to the local sporting goods store to have her pick something out. I already had a busy day planned. It turns out that she had been doing research, reading reviews and seeing which stores had the best price. We ended up ordering the shoes online with free shipping. She opened my eyes to how her generation – Generation Z – is making buying decisions.
Is your day filled with driving while returning business phone calls? Do you switching gears multiple times between projects? Do you stop for interruptions such as responding to emails or taking calls and then starting back up again only to forget where it was you left off?
It wasn’t long ago when people were consistently praised for multi-tasking. Moving back and forth between tasks actually wastes productivity. What multitasking does is slow you down. In most cases it takes longer to finish two projects at the same time than it would if you had finished them separately.
Every week I get at least one call from a business owner who tells me that nothing is working in their business and they are very frustrated. They are very free to put the blame on factors they say are outside of their control. They blame their employees and their customers for lack of cash flow. They say they are trapped by their business and can never take any time off. As I work with small business owners, I have learned that in most cases those are self-inflicted wounds.
In the past when January rolls around I had a pile of paperwork and electronic files that needed to be organized to get to my CPA. In June of this year I made two significant changes. I resolved to be as paperless as possible and file everything daily. It is still a work in progress but in January I will not be spending weekends sorting through paperwork as I did in the past.
So, how’s your filing system? Do you ever have trouble finding a specific document again once you’ve stashed it away? You may even have three or four files that contain the same information but are labeled differently – what a mess! The frantic pace of daily business and life tends to create a temptation to just complete each task as quickly as possible at the expense of order and process–a situation with the potential for escalating problems in the future.