You sit down at your desk ready to destroy your workday. You brew a pot of coffee, break out your calendar and dive into your most important task.
And then it happens. The phone rings, or a co-worker stops by to say “hey.” Maybe your boss swings by to ask about those TPS reports.
Whatever type of interruption you face, you’re annoyed. And if you work in an office, you know exactly what I’m talking about: Just because you’re sitting behind that desk and have already “clocked in,” everyone thinks it’s perfectly okay to engage you. Unfortunately, these random engagements can absolutely kill your productivity.
Not only can they knock you off task, but they consume your mental energy for the day. I didn’t notice how much time I was losing before I had kids, but I notice it much more now that I have four. And yes, being a parent has severely limited my ability to endure small talk and mindless babble.
Parents, you know what I’m talking about: 20 minutes in the hallway talking about last night’s game. A co-worker lamenting over workplace stuff. A leisurely lunch invite that turns into a two-hour affair against your will.
This is the type of stuff that can waste your productivity and reduce your potential.
Creating space and forging a new path
After a few years of enduring these wasted moments and opportunities, I was convinced something needed to change. I wanted to get out of the office more, but to accomplish nearly the same amount of work. More importantly, I wanted to stop wasting so much time, when I could be home with my family or out enjoying life.
At first, I thought that leaving the office more often would be an impossible feat. I mean, how could leave more often yet still accomplish the same level of work?
Sure, I was the CEO of my own wealth-management firm, but that didn’t mean I could come and go as I pleased. If I wasn’t in the office, what would my clients think? Was my team even capable of running everything in my absence? What if something went wrong?
It took me a while to realise I was consumed with limiting beliefs. Fortunately, a few amazing entrepreneurs and thought leaders made me realise the error of my ways. First, I read Tim Ferris’ book The 4-Hour Workweek and realised what was possible. Using the strategies in his book, I could reduce my time in the office significantly, right? Second, I joined a coaching program called Strategic Coach. The program introduced me to the concept of “creating space.”
One exercise we did involved tallying up how many free days we had taken in the last year. Why? Because they said we needed to learn to “create space” in our lives. And, to create that space, we had to give ourselves a break and some time off. Over time, the mental exercise of “creating space” allowed me to figure out what was important in my life, then outsource the rest.
Third, I started listening to productivity geniuses like Michael Hyatt. Highly productive entrepreneurs aren’t born that way, Hyatt says. They learn to become ultra-productive by mastering their environments. According to Hyatt, constant interruptions and distractions are the number one obstacle entrepreneurs face as they check off their to-do lists and work toward their goals.
And that is a shame, Hyatt say his websites. “Entrepreneurs and executives like us have too much value to contribute to our businesses and the people that matter most in our lives to let distractions drag us down,” he says on.
Just listening to experts like these taught me to “create space” and step away from my situation, to a certain extent. From there I set out on a path to limit distractions and build a better workday. Over time, I brought my office time from 40 hours per week to less than eight hours, with no impact to my productivity and even greater earnings over time.
Related: Building Real Work Life Balance
How did I do it? Five ways
1. I hired strategically
Although I already had a director of relations on staff, I added an associate advisor, as well. The associate’s job was to be “me” when I wasn’t there – giving expert advice to our clients and providing the service they deserve.
This is where I think a lot of small business owners fail. Scared that no one could ever stand in their shoes, they refuse to outsource their most important work. But, if you want to reduce your hours, this step is crucial.
It took a while to get everything set up. For several months, I had to work 60-hour weeks to teach this new hire everything he needed to know. But once the hard work was done, I had a trusted and polished counterpart to lean on.
2. We started documenting our processes
Eventually, I learned I could make my life easier by streamlining processes I did over and over. A tool that I stumbled on, Sweet Process, helps you create processes for everything in your business.
Using this tool, we began creating processes for higher-level tasks such as opening new accounts. From there, we created processes for making bank deposits and processing client contributions. Once we got all the higher-level tasks squared away, we even created systems to take over the small tasks in our workday.
Creating all those processes takes a lot of work up-front work, but once you’re done and new people you’ve taken on are trained, you never have to do these things again. Even better, if you eventually have to hire someone new or replace someone, your documented processes can serve as a training manual.
3. I “created space” and scheduled time for being away from the office
Once I hired more people and created processes, I had to schedule time for being away, to see if my new strategy could work. So, that’s exactly what I did – even though I had to force myself to leave the office.
At first, I spent time hanging out at a coffee shop or working from home. That way, I could test my new employee’s abilities without stepping away completely. Once I felt more comfortable, I started taking Tuesdays off. Then I started added more “off days” to my calendar each week. Eventually, I was down to just eight hours in the office each week, yet everything was still running smoothly. And yes, it felt great!
4. We improved communication
Before I reduced my hours, I had used email, texting and Google Chat as my primary sources of communication. This worked fine for a while, but we eventually realised we were losing conversations and details this way.
Then we stumbled on Slack. Slack allowed us to create channels specific to certain needs for our financial advisory firm; we could conduct ongoing conversations by searching past ones for details. Where we had once lost important information and conversations, Slack kept all of our correspondence in one place.
5. We reviewed actions and looked for ways to improve
Just as happened in the military where I participated in After Action Reviews, I created a process for weekly reviews in my office. We didn’t review one other’s work per se, but instead, how the week had done in general. How was our communication? Did everything get done? Did anything fall through the cracks?
By highlighting any gaps in our communication and planning, we could find ways to improve. And that’s exactly what we did. Over time, we improved everything from our daily communication to results for our clients.
Where I once felt I could never step away from the office, I now work less than 8 hours each week at the office. And as the final nail in the coffin and proof that everything I outlined here works, we have drastically improved our profitability as well. In fact, Alliance Wealth Management (my firm) is on pace to grow revenue by 31 percent this year.
With more time on my hands, I am now able to be a better father and husband. In addition, I’ve created space and time to do something I have always wanted to do — which is to create a course geared toward financial advisors who want to become a force to be reckoned with in the online space. And you know what else? My course, The Online Advisor Growth Formula, is on track to add $100,000 in revenue to my business this year.
This fact underscores the idea that more work hours doesn’t always mean greater results and that, sometimes, less is more.
None of this could have happened if I had never stepped away – and if I had never listened to the savvy productivity experts who forged this path for me.
If you’re tired of working more to accomplish less, make sure to listen to the experts that study productivity like it’s their job (because it is). You might feel “stuck” working too many hours now, but a few small changes can make a world of difference.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Travel At The Touch Of A Button
The revolutionary Travelit app has been developed for the global marketplace to meet your business travel needs.
Travelit has launched an easy-to-use mobile app that simplifies the trip approval process, provides a full trip itinerary and assists in management of travel expenses.
“The app is designed in South Africa, for the African and global marketplace,” says Wayne Muirhead Chief Sales Officer at Travelit. “We have developed the app locally with our own developers, and opted not to use a white labelling solution.”
The app interface enables the requirements of travellers, approvers, users, as well as finance and procurement role players to be met so each trip is seamlessly planned and executed.
Stress-free financial administration
“Expense management is an integral part of the complete travel cost; businesses want to understand their complete travel bill,” says Wayne. This is why the app incorporates features that facilitate:
- Capturing of photographs of receipts real-time
- Immediate allocation of expenses to the correct description
- Uploading expenses for workflow approval
- Attachment of an expense to a travel trip, or generating a non-travel related expense.
Simplified trip approval process
In addition, approvers’ features enable simple visibility into the trip’s cost and details:
- Approval of booking requests
- Trip confirmation once trip has been successfully approved
- Managing alerts — approval notifications, pre-trip notification as well as travel notifications
- Out of office activation for approvers.
Trip management made easy
With Travelit’s new app, travellers have the ability to update, create new profiles directly from their phones and update and store all their information, including:
- Updating of profile details
- Personal information
- Visas, passports, meal types, seating preferences
- Loyalty programmes.
As a traveller, when you are travelling, you require information, updates and access to your travel documentation in real time. The Trip Manager function provides you with this through the following functions:
- View current, pending and past trips
- Trip itinerary information
- View trips that are awaiting approval
- View supplier vouchers
- Locate properties via the Map option
- Boarding passes are available
- Real-time alerts to travellers.
Related: Save Up To 25% On Your Travel Costs
“We have done a soft launch with the app and offered it to strategic users and clients within our ecosystem,” says Wayne. These corporates have enjoyed the functions within the app, such as:
- Real time information for the traveller (itineraries, vouchers, boarding passes)
- Approval notifications and the approval capability
- Contact information for the consultants after-hours, and assistance
- Access to the traveller profile to ensure their data is updated and correct
- Check-in to the airline.
The Travelit app is available in the Google Play Store and iOS Store. Travelit will make monthly app releases by offering users ongoing functionality and features.
Access To The Best In Travel Excellence
As a global company, business travel plays an important part in Hatch’s successful operation. Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager at Hatch, explains how switching to Travelit changed the way they travelled forever — for the better.
Multinational engineering consultancy, Hatch requires a travel partner that provides easy access to its regional and international offices for meetings, conferences and client engagements. This is why Hatch chose Travelit, and has since experienced reliable and consistently superior service, says Yolandi Coertze, facilities manager.
“Travelit allows us to have the flexibility in terms of work sharing with global offices and makes it possible for us to attend to our client requirements in a professional and efficient manner.”
Here’s how partnering with Travelit has helped Hatch soar as a market leader.
What have Hatch’s biggest business travel challenges been to date?
Our biggest challenge has been to provide our travellers with an easy booking solution that gives them the best options available at a glance, in line with our travel policy for their travel arrangements, without taking up valuable time when booking their travel. In addition, managing cost against convenience and ease of travel is an ongoing challenge.
Why did you start using Travelit?
We were in the market for an online booking solution. Travelit made an impressive proposal by building the system around our specific needs and requirements. They incorporated our travel policy guidelines, while offering us an easy-to-use booking system which decreased our monthly expenditure. The platform also allows us to manage our travel more effectively.
How has Travelit made doing business easier?
We have seen a big change in travel behaviour and travellers are more aware of unnecessary costs that can be avoided when booking travel. Travel booking time (once travel bookers became used to the system) has also decreased, which allows travel bookers to utilise the extra time more efficiently.
What benefits have you experienced as a Travelit client?
We have seen a big decrease in our missed savings, which means that our travellers are booking in line with our travel policy by utilising the parameters that have been set up in Travelit. Our contracts with certain suppliers are also maintained on the Travelit platform, which allows us to utilise the lowest rate to keep in line with our travel policy. The ease of booking online at any time when travel is required is an additional benefit. We have reduced our paperwork by being online, and uploading data into our accounting system has made the process simple and efficient.
Why would you recommend Travelit to other businesses?
Travelit is efficient in terms of booking travel, cost-effective and allows for flexibility where required.
What makes Travelit the best in the market?
- Multi-leg international routings
- Travel behaviour reports
- Alternative solution to bill-backs
- Tracked booking patterns
- Accommodation feedback solution
- Comprehensive fare calculator.
Beyond Business Class
RwandAir, the national carrier of the Republic of Rwanda, is reputed for its excellent on-time performance, customer service and safety – and it has one of the youngest fleets on the African continent.
RwandAir has just celebrated yet another big milestone as the airline continues to expand its network. “Our aim is to provide to our customers seamless and better connections on the continent and beyond. Abuja and Cape Town come in as a boost to the different economies in terms of tourism and trade on one hand and enhance bilateral partnership between our countries on the other,” beams Chance Ndagano, previous CEO of RwandAir.
RwandAir, an IATA member, recently renewed its IOSA certification and has been ISAGO and EASA certified. With a fleet of twelve aircraft, including two wide-body Airbus A330 acquired last year, the airline currently reaches out to 26 destinations across East, Central, West and Southern Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
Rapid African advancement
Launched in December 2002 as RwandAir Express, RwandAir is among the continent’s the fastest-growing airlines, despite its recent entry into the market. Since its first flight took off, RwandAir has boasted unsurpassed, safe and reliable service, operating from the city of Kigali.
The Rwandan airline aims to connect Rwanda with the world and vice versa. This goal is being achieved through its network that currently covers a number of cities throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. RwandAir’s most popular flight routes include flights from Johannesburg to Dubai, London and Mumbai.
A year of successes
Recently, RwandAir started flights from Kigali to Mumbai, London (Gatwick) and Brussels as well as Dakar from its new hub in Cotonou. The airline also introduced flights to Abidjan, Libreville and Brazzaville from its Cotonou hub. In May 2017 the airline started flying direct from Cape Town to Harare.
This year the airline will be introducing new routes to Addis, Tel Aviv, China and New York.
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