The other day, our client’s office ground to a halt.
It was silly, really – a single crucial password that had been lost to time and turnover and someone’s Post-It getting stuck on the back of the wrong notebook. It was one of those things that wasn’t critical – until it was.
Little things like that – small hangups in your processes, meetings that aren’t working, small costs that add up – are the kind of thing that can build and build while you’re busy making rain and charging forward. In addition, playing catchup on those can hurt the time you need to invest in the future, in yourself, and in your team.
We rounded up a few of our team’s suggestions for a reset and review – things any leader should consider, whether they’re the CEO or managing a team.
Passwords are a great example. We started using LastPass a few years ago, and we don’t know how we managed before. No more spreadsheets or written passwords; if you want someone to access something, just “share” that password and it’s available on their desktop or mobile device. We’re all adding more and more digital tools to our arsenal every year; password managers make those logins more secure and give you a convenient assist.
What else could you automate? If you’re spending a lot of time doing sales or marketing, could you benefit from a customer relationship management tool? Could you automate your payments processes? Make it easier for someone to book a meeting with you? Look at the things you’re doing over and over – there might be a tool you can use to make it smoother and faster.
Rethink your meetings structure
Have you fallen into a perfunctory meetings routine that takes up time and doesn’t move work forward? Trust me, it happens to all of us.
Review your most frequent meetings, especially the recurring ones. What are the goals of the meeting? How do action items get distributed? What requirements do you ask of people who are running meetings?
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a famous two-pizza rule for the size of his meetings – as well as a ban on PowerPoint. You may have different needs – PowerPoint, too, can be utilized more effectively – but it’s worth thinking through how you can better structure those meetings for better outcomes, and utilize everyone’s time better.
Set aside inspiration time
What are you doing to feed and grow your brain, beyond day-to-day needs? Are you looking at the future? Listening to people who aren’t in your industry, aren’t in your usual scope?
It doesn’t have to be too regimented; just give yourself the gift of time that’s focused on you. Your hopes, your dreams, the future.
Our staff loves podcasts for this – they’re usually short, under an hour, and the best ones are compact and useful. Plus, if you have a long commute, they’re perfect. Some of our favorites: the Tim Ferris Show, How I Built This, Entreleadership, Art of Manliness, and the Mission Daily.
Do a sustainability review
Even if you’re not out to fix the environment, sustainability can save your office a lot of money. Simple things, like setting the office printer to print double-sided printouts, add up.
Not sure where to start? Here’s our list of 40 things to check in your office.
Reduce your phone time – and your team’s
If there’s one thing that can improve sanity all around, we think it’s this: Try a phone fast. Even if it’s just deleting some of the apps that you’re using to waste time, or if it’s reducing your time working after office hours, it makes a big difference – and you won’t know how much until you try it.
Leaders, try asking your team: What can I do to reduce the time you spend on your phone, on email? How can we establish boundaries that serve everyone?
Most importantly, as a leader, look for ways you can model those boundaries. Leave the office on time. Don’t send emails late at night or on the weekends if you can avoid it.
Tell us your suggestions
Is there one thing, one goal you’re working toward this year that will improve your work life? Drop us a line in the comments or tweet us here – we’d love to write about it, with your permission.
Far West Capital is in the business of funding the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here, and we’ll give them a call.