Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy New Financial Year

At my end of the globe, we've just had Territory Day, the 1 July anniversary of the Northern Territory (Australia) getting self-government in 1978. 

All the fireworks have stopped, the dogs, cats and other pets have settled down again, and now it's time to think about the new year.

Australia's Fiscal Period runs from 1 July one year until 30 June the next year. It's time to review our business finances (and perhaps our personal finances).

A periodic review for any business is a sound idea. Review what's working, what isn't and what can be done better. How can you squeeze more profit out of your operation?

It could be a good time for a spring clean of your shop or office. Sometimes change of layout provides rejuvenation.

There's a light and electrical fittings shop where I live and every time I walk into it I am astonished at how untidy, dusty and poorly laid out it is. Products in boxes literally lie about on the floor, others are on shelves of display boxes. It is always dusty. How the business makes a profit is anyone's guess.

There is something in your business you can improve. Why not review now to identify it and re-engineer it to rejuvenate your business?


Monday, June 29, 2015

The Destructiveness of Role Confusion

Role confusion in a job can be destructive. It creates confusion, resentment, inefficiency, and poor morale.

Have you ever worked in an organisation where role confusion is endemic?

Nobody seems to know who is responsible for what. Some people have insufficient work to keep them fully occupied while others have too much work. Some jobs that need doing aren't getting done, or different people do them in different ways.

Role confusion is caused by an organisation not:

  1. Identifying the jobs that need doing
  2. Deciding who will do them, when, how and why
  3. Creating job descriptions and operating procedures to cover all the work required
  4. Having clear chains of command
When I discussed role confusion with a friend recently, she told me that of the several senior managers who ran teams within the organisation, none appeared to have a clearly defined, complete role.

Thus, when she endeavours to get approvals for such things as purchasing, the "ball gets tossed from manager to manager."

The Solution

The solution is relatively simple. By carrying out the four steps above, you can eliminate role confusion.

When new staff members are engaged, they can be given access to operating procedures to work with until they become familiar with their roles.

Do you work in an organisation with role confusion? If so, what are you doing to improve your situation and that of your colleagues?


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Does Your Job Make You Happy?

In an article by Yvette Maurice, she asks, "How do you know if you are truly happy? Does it come from having a great job, fulfilling family relationships, or from monetary security? Take this happiness quiz to find out where your life may need some TLC!
How are you feeling right now? We all want to be happy at work, satisfied in our careers and engaged with our daily tasks. Far too often, we find ourselves in job roles that are not meeting our needs. Even if we are achieving a wage that we are pleased with (or even if we’re not) how we feel on the job is important.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is Faxing Still Relevant?

Like the telegram*, teleprinter and typewriter, the fax machine has all but been made redundant by history and technological advancement.

Each, in its own era was an excellent innovation. I recall using both teleprinters and typewriters when I was an 18 year-old serving in the Royal Australian Air Force. Later, I found the fax machine and thought it was a wonderful piece of equipment; stick a piece of paper in a slot, press a few numbers, press send and zippo ... it's gone.

For the past few years it has been possible to send a fax message from a multi-function centre like a photocopying machine. It's also possible to fax from your email. The latter seems a round-about way to do something, but the fax from email system will deliver a fax message to a physical fax machine or as an Adobe PDF file direct to email inbox.

Now, there are fewer people and businesses using faxes. Email has become the choice for transmission of documents.

Is there still a use for faxes?

One benefit that still exists is the ability to send fax advertisements to organisations with fax numbers.

It's probably fair to say that people are still using faxes, but in time, after fax machines break down, they won't be replaced and people will stop faxing. The facsimile will go the way of the telegram.


* Telegram: it was a printed document sent through the post office (at least in Australia) by Morse code from one destination to another. To raise a telegram, you'd complete a small form with the words you wanted, including the street address, pay for the telegram based on the number of words and it would be sent. Obviously you needed to keep words to a minimum to reduce the cost as in this message from son to father and the father's reply:

From the son: "Dear dad, no mun, no fun, son".
Reply from the dad: "Dear son, so sad, too bad, dad".

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Managing Your Time Wisely

There was a time when I would find 24 hours in a day too little. I mean, there is so much to do and so little time! I used to be running behind tasks that needed to be done. That is how I spent my college time – always completing my assignments at the very last minute, rushing for projects and submissions – and this same issue faced me when I got a job. And then one day when it got too much I sat down and pondered over how others managed to balance their work, family and social life and yet have some me time as well. How do they do it? 

I decided to list the tasks I had planned for the day and whether I, without bias, thought they could be done within that time. I concluded that they were perfectly doable. And yet I had failed to complete them during office hours and had to take it home, something my wife absolutely abhorred. The problem was with me. My time management sucked big time. And that’s when I resolved to work out this problem for once and for all. Now not only do I manage to get everything done on time, I am also left with enough free time at home to hang out with my family and friends, try new things and help my son with his homework. The best part? I am in my wife’s good books now!

If you are in this same position as I once was, allow me to enlighten you with my wisdom and strategies I used to get my time management issue in shape.

  1.  Organize: this is the most important and first thing you need to do. When you organize your tasks you will know how much you need to get done with. When you have goals of completing something by a particular time you will go ahead with it. Same is the case for managing other aspects of your life such as health and finances.
  2. Prioritize: once you have organized your tasks set a priority level for each. When you do thisyou realize the importance they hold. If it is a high priority goal you will know that you just have to get done with it by hook or by crook.
  3. Give your time value: if you value your time in terms of money you will be surprised at how much time you are wasting for no reason. If you give a particular amount for each hour you will realize your productivity level. If you complete your tasks on time you will feel good about it when you actually consider it in terms of how much you managed to earn.
  4. Give yourself hard deadlines: if you think that you need an hour to complete a particular task, give yourself just 30 minutes for it. Set a timer. Work under pressure. You will realize how quickly you will get used to it and your work speed will improve drastically for good.
  5. Delegate: if there is something that others can do it, go ahead and assign them the task. Your time is precious; you should use it only for things that others cannot do. Outsource your work.
  6. Split up big projects into smaller tasks: when you do this the big project will not seem as daunting. Thesmaller tasks will take less time to complete and you will feel that you have accomplished more in less. And you will also be done with the project.
  7. Learn to say no: do not take more tasks than you can humanly complete in the given time. It will just stress you out. Avoid outside work and distractions. Just plainly refuse them or defer them for later.
  8. Do not procrastinate: you have to get the task done, now or later, so why not just do it right away and get done with it.
You have no idea how these tips have helped me get my life together. I remember during the last days of my high school I had joined guitar classes and with that and studies together I hardly used to find time for anything else. Whenit was time for me to start applying to collegesI kept procrastinating. So much so that, before I knew it,the deadlines of some had already passed and others were on the verge of saying goodbye. And that’s when my brother sat me down and gave me a talk. I hurriedly evaluated my college choices but obviously the last minute essays, that are a requirement when applying, turned out to be not as good as I believe I could write. That was a big lesson for me but once I got in one college I shrugged it off and started all over again. It was during my job when I had to turn over a new leaf for the sake for professionalism.

It is never too late for you to change. Again, the earlier the better. Save your time, complete your tasks and you will realize how much more you can achieve than what you are at the moment.

Guest Author Bio:
Batool Ali is a passionate blogger who loves to write on finance and education.  Her writings are inclined towards student welfare making students self-reliant.