Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just Do It!

What I really meant to say. . .

As a small-business owner I face an array of challenges every day: finance, marketing, human resources, quality, customer service, new product development, inventory control, and the like. Of course, this is in addition to being a husband, a father, a son, a friend, and looking after my own physical and mental well-being. I constantly struggle with making the right choices at the right time. I know that I’m not alone in making these choices. Whether you’re a small-business owner like me or a quality manager or an auditor or a machine tool operator, you’ve got a mountain of choices of your own to make every day.

Luckily, there are countless time-saving options for all of us overworked, overstressed, overlooked heroes. For example, there’s software, which promises to automate just about any aspect of our lives: time management, document control, weight management, planning, you name it. Of course, you’ll have to determine which software package comes closest to your particular needs.

Once you choose your software package, you’ll then need to whine beg plead convince your boss to authorize its purchase. Once you have approval and you make the purchase, you’ll then spend countless hours on the phone with technical support install it and learn how to use it. (Of course, if others in your organization are to use it too, you’ll have to force it on them to do some significant training.) After you’ve used it for a while, you’ll discover you’ve wasted a lot of time and money you need to modify it to fit your particular needs. Remember, once you’ve become proficient in its use, it will suddenly become obsolete the manufacturer will update it, so you’ll have to relearn the software and retrain everyone to use it. Of course, keep your fingers crossed that Microsoft doesn’t release some new operating system that will make your new software obsolete remember to plan to replace your software every few years.

There are other time-saving options besides software. Maybe if you knew more about a particular aspect of your job, you’d do it better and have more free time. Why not attend a seminar? Of course, you’ll need considerable whining time to convince your boss to send you. But just imagine the horror it: An entire day or two or maybe even a whole week learning to do your job better. Plus, you’ll probably get to travel to the cheapest and nearest seminar location some exotic locale. (Maybe you can even learn a few things about quality, productivity and efficiency from those cheerful TSA folks as you wait in line at the airport.) Ah, but you’ll be worn out superproductive when you return. (At least that’s the way to position it your boss when begging for requesting permission to go.)

Of course, someone will have to cover for you while you’re gone, so you’ll have to work overtime set aside some time to train the other person to do your job for you. This person probably won’t really do anything but screw things up have time to effectively do his or her job and yours while you’re gone, leaving you with even more work to do when you get back, so be sure to set aside some extra time for that when you get back. Oh, and don’t forget that your boss will be expecting a report on what you learned at the seminar so the cheapskate won’t have to send anyone else to a seminar you can share what you learned with everyone else in the organization.

You’ll probably learn that you know more than your seminar instructor you’ve been working with complete idiots doing things totally wrong less efficiently than possible, so be sure to allow a good amount of time for second guessing analyzing your current system when you return. Of course, after a good deal of time has been wasted invested, you’ll discover that the whole thing was a waste of time the way things worked before you went to the seminar was a hell of a lot better probably good enough. Be sure to allow some time to put things back the way they were.

If a seminar isn’t your cup of tea, why not use the Internet to save time? Take some time from surfing porn playing games instant messenging doing market research and Google your way to better time management. Just type in whatever you need and tons of useless listings the answer will instantly appear on your computer screen. For example, I Googled “time management” and got back 1.12 billion responses. What a waste of time. Amazing isn’t it!

I narrowed my search to “learn Klingon” “time management for curmudgeons.” Wow, 908,000 hits for “learn Klingon” only 37,000 hits. (Who knew there were so many of us?) OK, don’t get discouraged. You can immediately toss out the paid listings that show up. Your boss isn’t going to cough up any dough after that failed software implementation and you’ve spent your training budget on that useless seminar you attended. So, now we’re down to a more manageable 36,974 listings.

These are just thee options to help you manage your time more effectively. Maybe if I spent as much time just getting the job done as I did trying to do it better, I might actually get something done.

What’s your favorite time-saving trick? Post your thoughts here. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.


At 9:56 AM , Blogger Amanda said...

When you are a business owner, it is a challenge. However with time power on your side. You can achieve great things. Great post!



At 8:19 AM , Blogger TonyF said...

I enjoyed the article and am providng you with my favorite time management trick as requested."Even the palest ink is better than the best memory" This is a Chinese Proverb that I heard for the first time when I atended a time management seminar while working for the Marriott Corporation in the late 80's. It has formed the basis for all planning I do and is epecially helpful as I age:-)

At 2:54 PM , Anonymous Tex said...

I spend as little time as possible on tasks/projects that I am not going to complete (due to low priority, lack of resources, low or no return), which leaves me much more time for those things that are really important and need to get done or activities that I enjoy.


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