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Although business paperwork is a vital part of keeping any business successful, the simple truth is that almost no one likes doing it. Some think that paperwork keeps them from doing jobs that make money, while others find it stressful or boring. Regardless of the reason that you avoid paperwork, it’s a necessary evil. Instead of trying to escape it, create a process that keeps the time you spend on paperwork to a minimum.
Organization Will Set You Free
The biggest reason that paperwork is stressful for so many business owners or managers is the lack of organization. While taking a couple of hours to create a filing system and workflow for managing your paperwork may seem like a waste of time now, it will save you significant time week over week.
Evaluate all of your paperwork needs and think about exactly what steps need to be taken to finish each task. Create checklists for individual tasks to ensure you aren’t missing steps that could waste time in the future.
Setup folders for each category or step of the process and make sure you are properly filing important papers, receipts, and work orders. Keep only the papers you need, unnecessary documents only add clutter and slow you down. Have a process for removing outdated files or paperwork and consider digitizing paperwork whenever possible.
You can also save time by grouping similar processes and actions. Open all the mail on the same day of the week, take all of your deposits together so you are only going to the bank once, or do all of one type of action at the same time. This keeps your work flow smooth and minimizes the number of interruptions as you switch between different tasks.
Use Automation Wherever Possible
Many business owners are extremely hesitant to automate tasks, preferring to manually do each one. As long as you know your business and have good organizational skills, automation is one of the easiest ways to speed up your paperwork.
Review your business and look for places where you can setup a process that will get things accomplished without needing to push buttons. Paying bills is often the easiest thing to automate, but there are likely other things as well.
Know When To Delegate
All too often we try to do everything ourselves, but it’s critical to learn when it’s time to delegate a task to someone else. With strong organization skills and proven workflow processes, you will be able to assign almost any task to one of your employees.
In some cases, delegating could also mean hiring a specialist. Evaluate the time you spend versus the amount you would pay someone to do them. In many cases, hiring a professional for a few hours a month will free you up to do more jobs and save you money in long run.
Avoid Distractions That Will Prolong Your Work
Even with the best organization skills in the world, there are a million different things that can easily distract you from getting your paperwork done. While some of them might even be beneficial to your business, they are just keeping you from doing the task at hand. Focusing on what you need to do will get it done as quickly as possible.
Before you sit down, use the restroom, grab a fresh cup of coffee or water, and take a moment to clear your head. Turn off your phones and email, close your social media accounts, and even close your office door. Once you sit down to do your paperwork, it should be the only thing you work on. It won’t necessarily make the prospect of paperwork any easier, but at least you will get it done as efficiently as possible.
While paperwork might never be fun or completely stress free, setting up a good process and developing strong organizational skills, will free up more time and energy to spend on growing your business.