Stay on top of the little things: My one & only New Year's resolution

Samuel Johnson wrote that "It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible".

If you are anything like me, you and your staff may well have just spent a considerable amount of time catching-up on a whole number of little things that you never got round to during the year. Like me, you might also be vowing to do more of it as you go along next year.
Samuel Johnson
This year I've decided it's so important that I'm making regular attendance to the little details my one and only resolution.

For us, December's "catching up" time was spent getting our CRM system up to date, booking expenses, getting our end of year-accounts ready and working how to change our internal processes so that everything we do this year is a little bit better than it was in 2015.

In any growing business, it's almost inevitable that you begin to build up a backlog of things to do when you are less busy. Of course, these things can continue to mount up turning little things into big things. The consequences of not being on top of things are usually easy to anticipate, which makes it even more infuriating:

  1. Missed opportunities - Whether personally or in business, sometimes things will slip through the net. Maybe there's a great deal out there that you didn't realise you could take advantage of until it was too late? Maybe you knew about a customer you could have helped, but it never got around to it due to all the other things you were doing, and the opportunity passed you by?
  2. Inefficiency - Maybe you're paying too much for a service that isn't really giving you enough benefit and you haven't had time to cancel?
  3. The longer you leave it, the harder it gets - A truism if ever there was one. Those little admin jobs are much less painful if you do them frequently. Doing things routinely requires less thought as you don't have to spend any time remember where you got up to last time. If you are recording past events, like a conversation with a customer or a recent expense claim, everything is fresh in your memory and you'll do a better job in less time. If you don't let things mount up, it's less of a big job and never takes as long as you think it will.

So far, so obvious. And whilst we all have the best will in the world, solving these little problems is easier said than done.

So what am I going to do about it?

The only answer that I've ever found to work is to ruthlessly make time in my week to make sure I stay caught up. When I do this, there are so many benefits that I get a real upsurge in productivity. When I feel on top of things, I'm more in control. I'm more positive and confident, leading to better results all round.

Therefore I'm making it my only New Years resolution this year to spend Friday afternoons keeping myself up-to-date and planning the week ahead, that way, I'll start the weekend knowing what I've got to do the following week. Hopefully by reducing the distractions and being ruthless with my time, I can continue this through the whole year, instead of falling off the wagon when things get really busy again (my usual problem and a topic for another day!)

Do you have any New Year's resolutions? Are you, like me, planning to stay on top of the little things? What are your tips for doing it?

For anyone who hasn't read it, I recommend David Allen's seminal productivity book, Getting Things Done. This method used by thousands of people puts a "weekly review" at the centre of success. Planning time to set it the little things can make you happier, healthier and more productive. I wish you a happy, healthy and productive New Year, whatever your resolutions!


Is managing keys a "little thing" that you would like to take care of in 2016?

We've studied the many ways of managing keys and devised a solution that makes it easy for a busy office to keep track of keys with a minimum of fuss. We love to discuss it with people over the phone or in person.

Want to know more?

By Tim Hill
4th January 2016

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