InsureSign knows about efficiency. Our simple-to-use e signature software has already cut down paperwork processing time, paper consumption and stress for thousands of users.
We recently sat down with celebrated author, speaker and executive coach, Jason Womack (recognized by USA Today, Forbes and The Today Show), to learn his time-saving tips… beyond using e signatures.
InsureSign: What are some questions that readers should ask themselves to make the most of their time and resources?
Jason Womack: Many small business owners try to do a little bit of everything, every day of the week. Today, take just 15 minutes and write a long answer in your notebook to this question: “What do I want to be known for?”
Now, you don’t have to define your life legacy or the “WHY?” of your business; instead, pick a single initiative and a specific time frame. Maybe it’s “Hiring the best staff over the next 6 months,” or “Connecting more deeply with our community over the next year.” When you give yourself a specific prompt and organize the project into 3 milestones over the next 6-12 months you have everything you need to prioritize your to-do list.
Once you’ve decided what you want to be known for (hashtag #KnownFor), then you must filter EVERY task, EVERY email, EVERY meeting through that filter. Ask yourself, “What is ONE thing I can do today to hire a stronger more talented staff person?” Or, “What ONE thing can I do as community outreach, introducing my small business to other leaders in a positive way?” The best way to make the most of your time is to ask yourself better questions; questions that force you to make hard decisions about what to do next…and what to ignore for now.
InsureSign: How can technology help companies “work smarter?”
Jason: If tools were the only requirement to people working smarter and get more done, we’d be there by now. The truth is, there are three legs to the stool and they are: Mindset, Skills and Tools. (In this case, tools are the technologies you have access to such as word processors, spreadsheets, email and group chat/text messaging.) For people in companies to work smarter, think bigger and achieve more, they need to maximize their attention on all three legs.
Mindset: Why do you do what you do? Identifying your #KnownFor statements (see our book Get Momentum) will help you figure out what’s important to you, and where to focus your efforts. For example, if you want to be known for being a clear communicator, then you’ll want to improve your skills at writing, and perhaps using some kind of presentation software. Or, if you want to be known as an innovator, you may need to learn how to use publishing programs and platforms to share your thought leadership. Start with what you want to be known for, so you identify the skills you need to improve.
Skills: Recently, we identified 12 “Management and Leadership Skills” that all small business owners need to improve, year over year. (You can see the list of 12 here.) If you need to become a better Meeting Manager, or more effective Relationship Manager, for example, you’ll want to improve the way that you use email to organize and share information. If you want become a better speaker (at community business networking events) you’ll want to create slide decks or even handouts that you can present for small and large groups of people.
Tools: Email. Text messaging. Presentation software. Spreadsheets. The list goes on and on. And, you’ll probably want to include NON-technological tools as well…your favorite pen, a trusted notebook or journal, the manila folders you use to organize paper in your office. The BEST suggestion I have for you to use your tools better is to have someone watch you while you’re working. Let someone watch you giving a presentation, or building a spreadsheet. Have someone observe how you review, process, respond to and organize email, and they will undoubtedly have an idea (or two!) on what you can do differently.
InsureSign: What are some of the more affordable technologies that people can start using right away to increase efficiency at work and home?
Jason: The MOST affordable tools (you see, I keep using THAT “t” word!) are the ones you have access to right now. You don’t need to upgrade or replace everything at once to get 10-20% more productivity out of your tools. In fact, here are two FREE resources you can use right away: For those of you who use Microsoft® Outlook®, we’ve made a course you can take at: www.OutlookDashboard.com and for anyone on an iPhone, www.UseMyiPhoneBetter.com is just for you!
Also, check your local library to see if you get access to LinkedIn Learning via www.Lynda.com. Only last year did I find out that I get this membership for free, and I can learn SO MUCH about the tools I have, and get introduced to the tools I could use.
(For Five Productive Ideas from Jason Womack, visit this link.)
InsureSign: Do you have four easy-to-implement efficiency tips that take just minutes to do, but lead to big time savings?
Jason: Good news/Bad news… “easy-to-implement” tips are also “easy-not-to-do” tips. First of all, you need to know that saving time is not the goal. It can’t be. If you focus on SAVED TIME, you’ll find yourself in the same situation you’re in right now, you STILL won’t have enough time.
You need to focus on REPLACING the saved time, with something of equal or greater value. If you read chapter three of my book Your Best Just Got Better, I can teach you to save 15-60 minutes a day.
For example, if you want to regain 15-30 minutes a day there are several things you can do:
- Set your alarm in the morning for 15 minutes early. Get up when it rings.
- Schedule at least ONE meeting for 45 minutes instead of 60. Stick to the agenda.
- Learn how to use Microsoft® Outlook® (or whatever email system you use) to create a few alternate signatures to reply to your most frequently asked questions.
- Make a “NOT going to do this week” list. Review your current to-do list, and move 50-75% of the items there to “Next Week.”
Please remember, saving or regaining time ISN’T the issue here. As Aristotle said: ”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Make it your habit to define WHY you want a little more time, specifically WHAT you would do with it, and then learn to the tools you can use to get more of the right things done.
Whatever your business might be, InsureSign is here to make your day-to-day easier. Our e-signature software is the easiest to use, and the first 14 days are always free. Start your free trial today by visiting this link.
About Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA: Jason Womack is an author, small business coach and age-group triathlete. He strives to be at his best, in everything he does. Sure, sometimes he goes “out of balance,” but that’s really the only way he’s found to get the most from this life. He shares from his heart, thinks with his head and leads with his gut. Want to know more? Read his books available on Amazon and check out his TED talks at www.TEDxByJason.com.