Are You Working Harder Instead of Smarter?

On Tuesday, I discussed the benefits of managed print services. One of the big ones, of course, is that you save money on printing services that way. Money is a key issue for any business, so that is obviously appealing. But I talk to plenty of business owners and managers. And from those discussions, I would conclude that time is an even more valuable commodity. Almost every one of them puts in long workdays and wishes for shorter ones, or at least for more efficiency so they can get more accomplished.

A recent Fast Company article made me think of it in a new way. It starts by exploding the myth of “multitasking”—which means we give inadequate attention to, and get inadequate results from, several projects at once. But then the article draws attention to several subtle ways we waste time and get in our own way. Bet you’re “guilty” of at least one of them; I certainly am.

  1. Insufficient Planning

Plenty of old sayings about “failure to plan” but let’s get past those. If you don’t walk into the workday with a specific timetable and agenda, you are already surrendering to the usual blizzard of distractions and “things that come up.” And once you get to the office or job site, it’s too late. Issues arise, things come at you, and you deal with them, instead of the things you should be getting right to work on.

The article suggests making a plan the day (or night) before. The more important projects that require (and deserve) larger chunks of time get first priority on that schedule. There is no value to checking off lots of little tasks that others could be doing, while critical ones requiring your full attention wait. A plan helps you avoid that. Managed print services remove those distractions from your plate in the first place, which is even better.

  1. Procrastinating in Search of Perfection

One of the article’s best lines is “perfectionists tend to procrastinate.” I’ve found that to be true. Not every job is worth the hours it might take to do it perfectly. It’s a noble goal, but in a business sense it’s foolish and costs you a lot more in what you are not accomplishing because of it.

Use that night-before plan to assign each task one of three “levels of performance”—minimum, moderate, or maximum. Then follow through. Your time is precious and spending it where it will have the most impact is the only sensible and sustainable plan. Example: will your business benefit more from two hours using your expertise to nurture a good prospect, or interviewing printers for a revision to a marketing brochure?

  1. Focusing Too Tightly

This one seems counter-intuitive, but it’s not. When you let the relentless barrage of “small stuff” consume you, your mind never has a chance to wander. And the truth is, you do your best high-level thinking and ideation while your mind is wandering. Remember that old “nose to the grindstone” reference? If you never look up and relax, you will never see what’s coming. That prevents you from avoiding disasters and seizing cool opportunities.

Relax now and then to engage in something that refreshes you. (And, as the article says, that doesn’t mean plunging back into social media.) Dreams aren’t bad things, so neither is daydreaming. It can open up possibilities that could carry your business forward. Meeting opportunities is just as important as meeting deadlines.

Time-waster #4: NOT Calling Superior

Hopefully, you can avoid the time-wasting habits above, now that you are aware of them. But it obviously strikes me as another great endorsement for what we offer. Consider the many printed forms and promotional products you must deal with in a given year. That investment of time adds up, both for you and your key people who have better things to do.

Imagine having a trusted supplier that already knows exactly what you want and takes all that thinking and detail work off your shoulders. Little involvement from you is needed for restocking invoices and other business forms, getting important collateral materials printed, or figuring out the trade show giveaway. That situation is not a daydream. And all it requires is a click or a phone call.

Not Perfection, but Pretty Close

Our business was built upon helping businesses run more efficiently. And we’ve been doing just that, for nearly a century now. (Let that sink in.) We must do it well since our customers just named us Best of Print and Digital for the second consecutive year. Our ISO 9001:2015 certification is more assurance of our quality standards.

Contact Superior today for a print supply chain audit. (Or make sure you write it into your plan for tomorrow.) Sure, it might take you a minute. But it’s an investment that will return hours of time to spend on projects that truly matter.

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