This month a reader of the Business Sense Newsletter got in touch to ask how we stay so organised with so many different clients.
Great question. M.B. Secretarial Services caters to many industries and performs all different types of work. On any given day we might:
- proofread a manuscript for an author;
- convert a PDF to Microsoft Word and format it for a teacher;
- transcribe dictation files from a solicitor;
- create an e-newsletter for an OHS consultant; or
- collate email correspondence for a sports association.
So projects at M.B. Secretarial Services can range from one hour to the next. It’s a rich and varied workload but keeping projects of different shapes, sizes, and lengths all in their place can be a challenge.
So how do we do it? The foundation is to be very organised and have excellent time management skills, talents we’ve fine-tuned over years in the industry. We adhere to our own productivity tips (talked about in the October Edition of Business Sense Newsletter), and the below step by step process is a good place to start.
Be realistic about the deadline
There’s no point in telling a client you can meet a deadline only for something else to crop up in the middle of it and interfere with your plans. It gives you stress you don’t need and makes you look unprofessional in front of your clients, a sure fire way to have them use your competition next time.
Organise time in blocks
Working on a project for five minutes here and there won’t achieve anything. Block your work hours and do one job at a time. Of course, the unexpected will always come up. Sometimes, at M.B. Secretarial Services, we’ll be proofreading only for an urgent transcription request to come through. The secret is to do the transcription job and then return promptly to the proofreading job that was interrupted. Finish the block of time that was allocated to it regardless of the interruption. It can feel like a juggling act but be methodical and disciplined and you’ll stay in control.
Avoid distractions especially from emails
Most of us see an email arrive and feel the need to read it then and there. Set up rules and filters within your email client (such as Outlook) so that your emails are automatically sent to specific folders e.g. client folders or personal folders and block your time to deal with the emails at a specific time.
We know, easier said than done. But it doesn’t help you or your client. If you can’t think straight, you won’t do your best, and everyone will suffer. Even a five-minute break if something goes drastically wrong will clear your mind. But doing something else on the computer doesn’t count – play with your pet or walk around your garden.
Love what you do
The saying ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ is attributed to Confucius long before mobiles and email, but it’s just as true now. “I love what I do at M.B. Secretarial Services and that’s half the battle won knowing I’m helping clients reach their business goals.”
So that’s how projects and tasks are done at M.B. Secretarial Services, by being:
- not getting caught up in the pressure and
- enjoying what I do.
The best thing about the above methods is that they’re all scalable. Whether you’re a sole trader or run a multinational corporation, the same guidelines apply.
Get in touch and tell us your productivity secrets!