The need to communicate while commuting or travelling for business is now a fait accompli. Prospective employers will expect their employees to be reachable all the time wherever they are. Whatever you may think of the pressures that this puts on people to succeed in the modern world, you need to be available. Incidentally, in France, a law was recently passed that stipulated that workers’ cannot be expected to check corporate emails after 5 PM in what is being described as a ‘right to disconnect’. The desire to always be able to take a call predates the era of smartphones and super light laptops though, with the first car phone being designed in the early 1920s. They become popular in the 1970s but have become rather passe now with many cars now replete with built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to use your smartphone instead. In fact, smartphones have become so ubiquitous that not having one is considered as unusual as it once was to have a phone in your car. They are a great way to stay connected and can help you stay engaged with work wherever you are. However, they are not the panacea that some people seem to think they are.
Staying organised is a crucial aspect in any discipline but is particularly important when it comes to the world of business. Failing to keep your files in order, or forgetting a meeting, can result in you developing a reputation for being unprofessional, and in the worst case, perhaps losing clients and the revenue that they represent. The skill of keeping on top of everything is one that some people innately have. If you are struggling to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is in your life, here are a few tips for making you the envy of any business person:
The simplest thing to ensure that you stay on track is figuring out which tasks are your priority. If you are having a particularly busy day and you feel that you have a hundred different things to do, then it is a bad idea to start one or several, remember the other things that are still waiting to be completed and then start them, going back to the first things, then starting something else and so on. You will quickly find yourself overwhelmed. A better way of dealing with this is deciding on three things that you need to do each day. They may be small things that take up a lot of time like going to the post office, or finally getting around to the most pressing things in your life. Either way, trying to do them all at once is a guaranteed way to do none of them properly and you’ll make yourself stressed in the process. Besides, research has found that humans are actually not that good at multitasking. Doing one thing at a time is better.
Not being organised is a habit, and the behaviours that contribute to that sort of stress are learned and reinforced over long periods of time. In order to reclaim the aspects of your life over which you feel you do not have much control, you need to identify the behaviours that are exacerbating this. It may be that you have a tendency to sit down on the couch when you get back from work. You may promise yourself that you’ll get around to what you need to do after half an hour of relaxing. The problem with this is that half an hour turns into an hour, and then most of the evening, and then you find yourself stressed because you are trying to fit everything in before you have to grab a few hours sleep and do it all again the next day. Identifying that you should get things done as soon as you get back so you can relax in earnest for the rest of the evening is important to breaking the habit that is creating cycles of stress. To incentivise yourself to introduce a new behaviour, promise yourself something. Ivan Pavlov’s most famous work may have been in demonstrating that classical conditioning worked with dogs, but it is effective with people too, even if you are doing it to yourself. Your treat could be anything from a bar of chocolate to a night out with your friends, as long as it is something that is persuasive enough to make you stick to your new plans.
As for actually performing the tasks that you need to do for your job, there are lots of time saving and efficient tricks to make your life easier. If you work freelance, or you run your own business, you will likely spend a lot of time drafting invoices. They can take quite a while because you need to include all of the information that pertains to the services that you’ve rendered as well your contact information and the client’s details. If you are on the go, it can become rather inconvenient to have to go back to the office. Using invoice templates can save you time and you can do it from your smartphone too. With invoices, it is particularly important to get them done right away because your clients will not necessarily pay them until the end of the month when they are settling their accounts. To ensure that your business is able to maintain a good level of cash flow, you should make sure that you send invoices as early as possible.
While technology has improved so many areas of life, more traditional methods still retain their effectiveness. Carrying a notebook with you to jot down ideas or keep track of appointments is, and will always be, a good idea. Some people find that they can make notes on their phones and that works for them but a notebook allows you more freedom and you will never find that you cannot use it because it needs to be charged. You could have one for your business life and one for your personal life to make sure that they are more clearly demarcated and do not bleed into each other.