Admin is one of those things that, as business owners, we’ve come to accept is an unavoidable part of our business journey. Many clients and fellow business owners often say they are setting aside the day to do admin, or they need a Virtual Assistant to keep on top of things. Whilst a Virtual Assistant is a great option, you can certainly make yourself more productive and save yourself hours each week with these three simple admin tips.
1. Simply, get structured.
Hands up if your electronic filing system is either your Computer Desktop or local computer drive? Keep your hands up if you spend more than 30 seconds locating files. If your hand is still up, you are wasting time, not just finding your files, but your computer will most likely be SLLLOOWWW because the computer needs to use operating memory for no reason other than to maintain a messy desktop.
The great thing is, setting up a filing structure doesn’t have to be (and it shouldn’t be) complicated. It just has to reflect your business, and be intuitive enough for you (and your staff) to quickly and efficiently locate files. If you still don’t think having an efficient electronic filing structure is important, consider this. Every file that you cannot locate instantly, creates an unnecessary workload. If you have to spend more than 30 seconds looking for a file, being interrupted by a colleague to check if the file is saved on your personal drive, you’ve wasted everyone’s time. An example of a simple, yet effective filing structure is below. I use DropBox (Google Drive is also a great option) to store my files, as I can invite others in to folders to find and save files.
My tips for creating an efficient filing system are:
- Don’t Over-complicate.
- Have a few broad, but descriptive folders that cover the main aspects of your business. Being overly specific can cause confusion, and isn’t necessary in most cases.
- Keep Sub-Folders to a minimum.
- Sub-folders may seem like a great idea, and have you feeling super organised, but it can be like navigating through a stranger’s mind. You’ll spend far too much time going in and out of folders to find the correct files. I recommend 2-3 levels of sub-folders at most.
- Sequence your folders.
- Create a sequence to display your most important (or frequently visited) folders first, rather than having the folders listed alphabetically. Simply name the folder 01 Folder Name, 02 Folder Name, and the second level, 01.1 Sub-Folder Name, 02.1 Sub-Folder Name and so on.
2) Make your Inbox Sing!
Many of my clients and previous colleagues report feelings not dissimilar to anxiety, stress and overwhelm when faced with their Inbox. It is estimated that 212.1 billion emails are sent and received each day. Without an effective Inbox strategy, it is really no wonder people tend to avoid their Inbox. A complete Inbox Detox is a great place to start. Consolidate your email accounts, organise your Inbox and introduce automation to make your Inbox work harder – not you.
Read about the Inbox Detox over here. http://www.pro-assist.com.au/blog/inboxdetox
3) Standardise for Success
If you seem to always be creating documents and emails from scratch for the same type of purpose (Client Reports, Proposals, Letters), then you will benefit from creating templates.
You can customise these each time you use them, but get the body of the template correct and you’ll save so much time. CRM systems such as HubSpot integrate with many mail clients so you can effortlessly add templated responses to your emails.
The 3 admin tips are quick and simple to implement, but will drastically reduce time spent on admin, leaving time for the more exciting aspects of your business.