February 8, 2012

The Dangers Of Shuffling

BY John Paul Narowski IN Productivity 0 Comment

Let’s examine this scene for a moment: A business man sits at his desk, his tie loosened from frustration and his hands shuffling though files in one drawer, then another. He searches though his phone until he finds the right number and finally gets a hold of a partner. He asks for a certain document, which it turns out was still in the fax machine tray from earlier that day. A lot of time spent- poorly spent- shuffling through an unorganized business situation.

This person is not just a cliché man in a sitcom office; is he you?

The speed of business demands someone who can spend their time wisely. Because the value of time is a precious commodity which few can afford, losing that valuable time shuffling though you papers, computers, phones, and everything in the office costs more than you have in your time budget.

Shuffling at the desk

Most origins of “shuffling” come from the physical environment you’re in. Work arrangements, your desk, your computer setup, and even the very location you work in. Physical setup affects the mental setup significantly, and can either help you, or hinder your time budget.

Start with the very organization of your desk.  Paperwork still exists.  If you have  to move your keyboard or mouse in order to write, rethink the layout of items on your desk.   Organize your work environment so that you can move from one task to another as smoothly as possible.

While good socializing is part of many business trades, the need for some isolation to focus on work is just as important. This is where your work environment comes into play. Many offices place people amongst other people, and not everyone has the same time budget. Set yourself up so that when you need to focus on work, you are isolated until you are done with your task. This means closed doors, thick walls, and your phone off to give your work the attention it needs.

Shuffling in your schedule

This brings us to the importance of time management. Not only is it important to be able to organize physical environment, you have to organize yourself mentally as well. Having an outline for the day is extremely helpful in keeping you focused on what’s important. Most business people understand the value of an appointment book for meetings and socialization, but set meetings for your tasks as well. Consider what needs to be done, and set an appointment with it. Guard it with the same diligence that you would any meeting. After all, productivity is as important as a meeting isn’t it?  .

Interruptions, procrastination, and poor planning are some of the biggest costs to your time budget. Another huge time drainer are unorganized meetings.  Be sure your meeting has an agenda before every spending your time on it or risk spending three times that amount.

There are various solutions to organizing yourself and your schedule, many of them technologically friendly. Phone apps allow you to filter, schedule calls, and organize your daily life to assist you.  Take advantage of what technology has to offer, and use it with focus.

Shuffling when you’re frustrated

Frustration itself causes you to shuffle, lose balance, and trip throughout the day, costing more valuable time. Your mental state feels pressured from the lack of time, often costing you more time as you dwell on consequences and potential bad news. It’s difficult, but you have to avoid thinking negatively about a situation you’re already in. Positive attitudes get more done than a negative outlook, so if you’re faced with a pressured situation, stay positive about accomplishing your goals.

Planning ahead is the greatest tool in avoiding these situations. Many large companies have crisis management scenarios, and have solutions for them prepared so that you can avoid shuffling, tripping, and becoming frustrated when a situation presents itself.  Create one for you so you’re ready in those crunch-time situations!

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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