Thursday, February 3, 2011

Working The Nooks & Crannies

In a past post, "Making Time For Business," I mentioned the idea of working the "nooks and crannies" of your day.  The idea is to take advantage of small amounts of time to accomplish tasks off your to do list.  Americans spend an average of 1 hour per day just waiting.  Take advantage of this time to grow your business!

Find Your Nooks & Crannies
  • Waiting for an appointment
  • Waiting for a prescription
  • Waiting in the pickup line at school
  • Waiting in line at a drive-thru
  • Waiting at the DMV
  • Waiting for the bus or subway
  • Waiting for dinner to cook
  • Waiting for your child to finish sports practice, ballet, or piano lessons
  • Waiting for a table in a restaurant or waiting for your food to be served
  • Sitting in traffic
  • While your children play on a playground or in McDonald's play area
  • While your children are napping
  • After your children go to bed
To effectively utilize these nooks & crannies, you must organize and plan.

Choose an organizational tool
  • A cell phone- if it is capable of storing all the elements
  • A paper calendar and/or binder

  • Create a detailed to do list daily (or the night before). You may have room to do this on your actual calendar page or you can create a binder with sheets that look like one of these:

I borrowed this idea.

A modified version.

  • Be sure to include addresses, phone numbers, and any information you will need to complete tasks. Information can easily be stored in your phone or written in a paper calendar for regular access. 
  • In my business, I use guest surveys, customer order forms, and file folders for reference, so taking these with me is helpful.  You could tuck paperwork like this in your calendar or binder pockets.  Even if you are home all day, having everything available will prevent you from wasting time looking for what you need when you only have a few minutes.
  • Keep call lists handy: customer service follow ups, potential hostesses, vendors, merchants, downline, upline, etc...  Touching base provides good customer service, builds relationships, and creates business opportunities.
  • Pack a small bag of business materials- stamps and note cards so you can mail a bill, birthday card or write out a thank you note.  I have catalogs and promotional materials that I stamp with my information or put labels on for mailing.  You can add items like these to your bag and work on them while you wait somewhere.
  • See my post on "Continuing Education" and check out my Book List page for great reads to grow personally and professionally.  Keeping one of these books handy would be another great way to take advantage of a few spare minutes.

Using an organizational binder or calendar creates a great record of your completed tasks.  You can look back to see when and how many times you contacted a customer or on what date you called the telephone company.  If you are like me, you may forget whether you actually spoke to someone on the phone or just thought about doing it!

I rarely come across someone who isn't super busy.  You may not have a large block of time to devote to completing tasks but by planning and preparing your to do list, everything you need is readily available when you can take advantage of an available moment.

Do you have a different way of organizing your take-a-long tasks?  What do you bring with you to occupy yourself while you wait?  I'd love for you to share additional ideas!


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