A ticking clock is the most overbearing boss you'll ever contend with in your career, demanding you accomplish as much supply chain efficiency as possible in the shortest amount of time. When you find yourself unable to add additional time to your schedule and equally stumped for meetings and tasks to cut out of it, it's time to re-prioritize.
According to Neil Patel of Inc.com, you should put your trust in the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort, and focus on making that 20% as pure and productive as possible. Here are a few time management tips that will help even the busiest supply chain professional spruce up their efforts to be more efficient.
Get Comfortable as an Early Bird
If you make waking up early a habit, you'll have a lot more daylight and waking hours at your disposal, which means more time to return calls during business hours, negotiate with suppliers and move products out to end consumers while transportation companies are on the road.
Late morning and afternoon-warriors also have to wrestle with more grogginess, according to Lauren Schocker of the Huffington Post, in a recent piece on the habits of well-rested individuals. While you don't necessarily have to rise before the sun to get better cognitive benefits, opening up your eyes before 8:30 AM or so may offer you more energy and alertness than you anticipate.
Cut Back on Checking
Phones, social media, email, voicemails, texts—they're all an important part of modern business workflows, but they carry a very big risk for distraction, according to a recent staff article by Forbes. Incessantly checking email takes time and attention away from other focus-oriented tasks, ultimately losing productivity as a user see-saws between the different stimuli. Make a note to yourself to check your work email at certain times of the day, rather than every few minutes—you may be surprised at how much time habitually deleting that brand-new spam was stealing. Easier said than done of course, but start with making a habit of placing your phone screen-down when you're at your desk or out with loved ones at a restaurant.
Keep Meetings Minimal
Don't schedule get-togethers for the sake of appearances. Save your speaking and listening energy for team meetings that truly need it.
If you consolidate your day's meetings into a 15 or 30 minute daily block, you'll get the important, distilled data you need to make informed business decisions without the groupthink and red tape to deal with. These condensed meetings are especially important for supply chain efficiency, and can be used in the warehouse during a work day or before a shift to build morale and inspire employees to work harder. Ultimately, your ideas, needs and expectations should all be concise enough to be covered in one of these "mini meetings," and any follow-ups should be done one-on-one whenever possible to help increase comprehension.
The driving force behind supply chain efficiency is personal motivation—yours, to help guide and grow your team, as much as that of individual employees eager to make a good impression. If you lack the will or desire to change your habits, however, even the best system stands a chance of not meeting expectations. Instead, visualize a better, more successful version of your current business and keep it in mind whenever you're tempted to stray off schedule. When you have a dream to answer to, you're much more likely to stay on track.
An honest look at what you're capable of, energy-wise, and a few penciled-in tasks are an excellent start to time management framework, so start building your efficiency today!