Five Efficiency Hacks for Over-Worked Clerks

Some days you want to pull your hair out. Some days you may have put on an entire wardrobe of “hats” to wear in your job. And some days you may gaze at that tropical island themed wallpaper on your desktop and fall into a relaxing daydream of a place far from your office–and that’s ok! It happens to us all.

It’s at these moments when our eyes are tired, we have a headache, and we can’t remember what exactly we were doing two minutes before that we say to ourselves, “How can I make this better?”

That’s the first step towards efficiency salvation at work.

When you think you’ve done too much, and have worn too many hats, that’s the perfect time to take a look at your vendors, services, and processes for solutions.

Is there something you can cut? Is there a better way to do a task? Or, do you need more help? If the answer is yes, then here are five things to consider to help reduce the load on your over-worked self.

1. Define “Must-Do’s” versus “Should-Do’s.” It may seem like everything is a must-do, but when you take a good look at the entire picture, there are often a handful of small, unnecessary tasks we do that could free up your day, little by little. Go over your daily routine and determine which tasks have little to do with the end-goals of your office. Maybe it’s time to ask, “Why do we do this?” or “Is it really necessary we do this so often?”

Asking these questions can help you determine what is a “must” versus a “suggestion” which will help you prioritize or delegate your tasks.

2. Determine if there is a more efficient way to do something. You may be very efficient, but are your processes? How many people are involved, and how many processes are required to accomplish a task?

There may be an opportunity to reduce the number of people and processes involved with better software. Having the appropriate tools to accomplish your tasks can help you with better and more accurate data collection, faster turnaround, less stress and more seamless management of the process. If you are finding that you are logging in and out of numerous software platforms, having to remember multiple logins, and uploading and downloading data from one service provider to another, maybe it’s time to find software that can alleviate that work load.

3. Determine if you are the correct person to be completing a task. Sometimes, we realize that we have inherited a task and it really has very little to do with the goals of our job. Or, maybe you are duplicating someone else’s efforts by repeating a task that is already being done by someone else, somewhere else. Thoroughly investigate your daily tasks to see if there are any tasks and job functions that seem better suited with another person, department, or even integrated into another system.

4. Take a look at what you do daily and weekly and look for opportunities to streamline. Sometimes, we get so used to doing a particular task, we don’t stop and ask ourselves “is this really the best way?” Maybe you have been using a clunky old Excel sheet for reporting instead of using auto-generated reports through specialty software. Or, maybe you spend 15-20 minutes a day trying to find items in computer folders that have never been maintained, sorted through, or deleted. In the end, a few minutes of maintenance can prevent hours of accumulative hassle.

5. Network with others to determine if there is a “better way.” Finally, talk to other clerks and departments to determine what tools and processes they use to create a more seamless and efficient work environment. They may know of tools, software and processes that can seriously cut down on your workload.

By taking a holistic look at the tasks you complete everyday, you may find that you are producing work that is no longer necessary, completing tasks that are better suited for someone else, or more importantly, using outdated processes and software to complete tasks in a less efficient way. That’s when you need to ask yourself, “Wouldn’t it be great if my software wore as many hats as I do?”

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