Using Voice “saved hours, especially for a fat-fingered typist like me”
Being a Director of a company can be extremely stressful at times; having to constantly meet deadlines and targets, plus making sure everyone in the company is doing the right thing at the right time.
When the pressure is on, it seems as though there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Our Institute of Directors (IoD) East of England Ambassadors are experts in their field of industry and contribute to the development of the IoD. They are always inspiring members to be the best they can be, so we decided to ask them for some top tips for time management, to see what advice they can give our members to work better against the clock.
Firstly, our Ambassadors feel that, as Directors, they tend to overload themselves with more tasks than they can actually take on, sometimes allowing their title to be mistaken for ‘The One Who Does Everything’.
Being a Director doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best person for a certain job. Paul Durrant, Consultant at PDT Sales Consultancy and Ambassador for IoD Essex, recommends that we use DOES: Delegate, Outsource, Employ Someone.
Paul believes that following these simple steps will stop directors spending time on things they cannot do well and consider delegating specific tasks to other people instead.
IoD Essex Ambassador and Director of Green Light Print Solutions Ltd, Damon Langlois, says that it is a case of “asking yourself if what I'm about to do is going to positively affect the big picture and am I the right person to do it in the business?”
Damon admits that he has saved himself loads of time by just asking these two questions and “actually acting on the answers”.
Once all of the necessary jobs have been properly delegated, the next thing to do is cut out all distractions in order to concentrate on the other tasks at hand.
IoD Hertfordshire Ambassador for Young Directors and Operations Director at Your Town CI, Andrew Griffiths, says “nothing kills productivity like getting distracted and juggling too many tasks at once. Using airplane mode on your phone or emails can help you get the focus you need”.
The same goes for Ben Miller, our IoD Suffolk Ambassador and Business Development GDPR Practitioner at ECM Solutions, who says, “I turn off email and other notifications on my smartphone and laptop.”
To avoid wasting time on practical things, it’s also handy to find as many short cuts as possible using apps and software. IoD Essex Ambassador, Ian West, from One-Marketing is very fond of the tool, Voice, for saving time typing.
“When working with a team of speakers in Cambridge I was impressed how one senior academic used Voice to prepare lecture notes and documentation. She created them instantly while the rest of us were making notes and hammering keyboards”, he says.
Ian started off using Voice just for preparing reports but was soon writing blogs, ad copy and even emails. He says that despite having to go back and correct or edit the odd item, “it saved hours, especially for a fat-fingered typist like me”.
Essex Ambassador Damon Langlois agrees that to save time, we should all “learn as many of the shortcuts on software you use regularly as you can.”
Finally, proper organisation and preparation is key for successful time-management, and keeping lists or a diary is not a thing of the past.
IoD Suffolk Ambassador, Peter Basford, ensures that he “carefully plans” his diary to avoid spending longer on things by doing them in the wrong order.
He explains, “on the basis I cover Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, I plan a day at a location and book meetings around this rather than spending too much time each day driving around”.
As for IoD Hertfordshire Ambassador, Andrew Griffiths, it is all about “effective management of my to-do list”. He adds, “I use tools to visually see the levels of priority against my to-do list and then allot dedicated time to tackle each task individually.”
Adequate preparation will make major tasks seem like minor ones. For Ben Miller, “internal meetings are a large consumer of time so a diligent approach to them is a must”. He recommends that for meetings, members should “always prepare, have clear objectives and limit participants.”
So there you have it, some time saving tips from our amicable Ambassadors. However, sometimes we don’t need experts to give us that nudge in the right direction. Call it cliché, but our IoD Cambridge Ambassador, Malcolm Johnston, lives by the saying he found on his Grandmother’s sugar bowl: “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today”.
It may not be business textbook advice but Malcolm believes, “It still holds true!” and should be applied to every day of our working lives.