As the New Year approaches, many professionals become interested in finding more efficient ways to get the job done. In BNet’s crash course entitled “The Quick-and-Dirty Guide to Getting Things Done,” author Kim Girard gives four tips on finishing projects twice as quickly. They work well for anyone in a managerial position tasked with seeing a project through to completion, a description that applies to anyone who is self-employed.
Practice Bookend Management
This tip is taken from a book entitled, The Lazy Project Manager: How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Leave the Office Early. Author Pete Taylor argues that failing projects generally don’t get the necessary attention at the onset. A manager needs to launch the project in the right direction and with the proper amount of momentum. For this reason, you should pay particular attention to the start of a project, and then manage with the same intensity at the project’s end.
Note: Decide upfront how you will manage changes to the project. Depending on the size of your operation, this may be as simple as acknowledging the change and making the necessary revisions to your timeline and subsequent steps.
Avoid E-Mail Abuse
Choosing to use email as your communication method of choice with team members can be dangerous. If a large volume of emails are being sent and received, people tend to disregard them, assuming that much of what is being communicated is tedious and unnecessary. Establish a system of communication that is clear for everyone. Lynda Bourne, a blogger for the Project Management Institute, suggests that you only use email for items that require immediate attention. All documents related to the project can be deposited somewhere else, for quick and easy reference, like a wiki or shared drop box. All other communiqué can be accomplished via phone or face-to-face contact.
Put Out Fires Quickly
The longer you wait to resolve problems, the more they can interfere with your project’s success. In order to avoid that, Girard recommends implementing Scott Berkun’s 7 steps in getting a project back on track, as taken from his book entitled Making Things Happen:
1. Calm down
2. Evaluate the problem in relation to the project
3. Get the right people in the room
4. Explore alternatives
5. Make the simplest plan
Perform a Postmortem
It’s important that you always perform an assessment after the project has been completed. What worked well? What needs improvement? Girard suggests identifying three of each.
Note: Set some ground rules before you begin. For example, ban usage of iPhones and BlackBerrys during this meeting, and ensure that everyone has a right to voice their opinion as long as they focus on problems and not personnel.
When you practice these four tips, you are better equipped to complete projects sooner. Decide to implement them now, and enjoy a more productive New Year.
Increase Your Profitability as Well
There are two ways you can increase your income. 1) Work more efficiently, and 2) increase your service offerings. Now that you know how to accomplish number one, consider working on number two.
By law, every small business must perform certain accounting functions. This makes small-business accounting a great niche market. And in this day and age of economic uncertainty, business owners don’t want to turn their finances over to just anyone. They feel much more comfortable leaving their accounting to a certified professional: a Professional Bookkeeper (PB).
Set a New Year’s resolution that you can easily accomplish this year by enrolling in the Professional Bookkeeper program and earning your PB designation. Not only can you earn valuable certification that will put prospective clients at ease, but you will also learn valuable accounting skills that will help you better serve your small business clients.
Here are just a few things this program enables you to do:
- Master accounting for retail and wholesale businesses
- Determine and establish the accounting method that best fits any given business
- Set up an efficient system for a “ma & pa” manufacturing company
- Track job costs simply and efficiently for a construction company
- Effectively handle flooring for an inventory-financed business
- Confidently consult with business owners on key business issues
- Enter data quickly and accurately
- Prepare payroll like a seasoned pro
- Avoid costly IRS penalties
- Spot and avoid dangerous trends before they become tragedies
- Save a company thousands of dollars in auditing costs
- Start your own bookkeeping and accounting business, using a step-by-step approach
- Acquire clients quickly and cost-effectively
One course will enable you to accomplish all that and more. Talk about a powerful resolution! Take advantage of the New Year and earn valuable certification that will help you advance your accounting practice and increase your bottom line. Enroll today!
Girard, Kim. “The Quick-and-Dirty Guide to Getting Things Done.” BNET Crash Course