Day to day we work with many different companies and speak to lots of QHSE Professionals. In doing so, and from our own experiences, we know that the pressures on QHSE teams can be significant. However, we also see inefficiency amongst teams or individuals which compound the issue - often with no end in sight. Firefighting all the time is not sustainable and productivity gurus have a knack for rising above it and focussing their activities on what is important.
Here’s what they do:
1. They Accept They Can’t do Everything
Juggling lots of balls in the air leads to one certainty. Sooner or later you are going to drop one. The reality is that very few people are good at juggling and the majority should focus on one task at a time. Focussing your energy into a single task will result in a better finished product. Completing several tasks simultaneously will inevitably will not be completed as well and you may have to revisit them later in any case.
2. They Delegate
It is quite often that a lot is dumped on QHSE compliance departments despite them generally having very small teams or consisting of just one person. Trying to do everything is not efficient and needs to be shared. This can be achieved regardless whether or not you have direct reports to delegate to. Inevitably there are tasks that only you can do but there will be other people in your organisation who can help. The most effective way is to work on empowering people within your organisation to take more QHSE responsibility and carry out some of the tasks that may have previously been carried out by the QHSE compliance manager.
3. They Communicate
Give thought to your communication. This means taking a little more time to provide proper advice and instructions and avoiding firing off a quick email to ‘get it off your plate’. The tone of communication should also be properly considered. It will result in less resistance and going backwards and forwards on issues. Thinking about what you want to achieve before you communicate will ensure it has proper purpose and can save you a lot of time in the long run.
4. Apply Discipline
This is probably the hardest for most people to achieve. There are plenty of systems available such as Mango QHSE software and office productivity tools that can help you. Creating routine and habits can take time to achieve but it is key to being efficient. You should be the master of your schedule. It should not own you.
5. Apply Order
Everything should have a place. Whether it is equipment, electronic QHSE files or physical documents. It sounds obvious but knowing where everything is will save you time tracking missing things.
6. Know how long things take
Do you know how much time you actually spend managing your emails versus carrying our QHSE audits? If you don’t know the answer to this, then try timing how long you spend on different tasks for 5 days. Once done your goal should be to identify where time is being wasted. Once you know this you can plan changes to help you focus on the more important tasks.
7. They Know when Enough is Enough
It is impossible to give 100% all of the time. If you try to burn the candle at both ends indefinitely you will crash and burn. Learning how to switch off will help you recover and keep your focus on the important things. Exercise, healthy eating, restful sleep and regularly using your holiday entitlement will also help you.
With the close of the year you will probably be setting both personal and professional goals for next year. Remember not to focus only on the end point and to properly plan the journey. Spending time working out how to get to where you want to be will increase your efficiency. It will also make reaching your goal far more likely.