I knew working for a start-up would mean tackling a lot of responsibilities, but I never really understood what these responsibilities entailed. Jarvis Services is a local start-up company providing dry-clean and shoe repair delivery service in the heart of Vancouver. As a start-up, human capital here is very limited which is why I am being trusted with great responsibilities and minimum supervision.
Following are the three main aspects of my work:
involves collecting, sorting and delivering customer orders. These operational tasks are foundational to run a business. These tasks are simple to perform but must be done daily. As the company grows, daily operations become more time consuming with an increasing number of orders.
involves dealing with customer inquiries or feedback via emails or phone. You never know when a customer might want to contact you and how elaborate their questions will be. Sometimes their problems are easily resolved, however, other times I may need to contact the dry-cleaner first before a particular question can be answered, which takes hours or even days. Regardless of what kind of questions the customers may have, they must be dealt with as soon as possible.
involves coming up with marketing ideas/strategies, creating graphics and posts for social media platforms, and designing marketing materials. Marketing can be fun at times but a pain in the neck when one runs out of ideas. Hours are spent on coming up with an idea and micro-adjusting the design to get the desired “look”. Thus, it often takes days to create graphics or other marketing materials from scratch.
To tackle all these tasks, how I manage my day becomes critical especially when minimum supervision is provided. Since I am the only one constantly watching after my own work progress, I have a few tips to keep myself on track:
1. Keep an agenda
Multiple projects with multiple deadlines, numerous emails to reply to, and last-minute tasks that pop-up randomly can be easily missed if the human brain is the only tool I use to keep track of them. Keeping an agenda does not only make sure that tasks are being completed on time, but also helps me keep track of my work progress.
2. Plan out the day/work but be flexible (prioritize!)
Planning out my day the beforehand is useful in helping me transition from task to task smoothly. A lot of the tasks are unpredictable as it is hard to ascertain how long they will take to complete. I found the best way to plan out the day is to prioritize the tasks clearly. Tasks that need to be done on a specific day, such as daily operations, events etc. will be marked clearly on the agenda, and assigned a portion of the day (plus given top priority depending on the level of urgency). Other tasks, such as creating marketing designs, will be added to the week’s to-do list with the deadline clearly mentioned. When the top priority tasks of the day are completed, I can choose which project to pick up next, depending on the amount of time I have left. This way, I can ensure my time is being used efficiently, while also have the flexibility to deal with sudden tasks like an email from a customer.
3. Sticky notes
As I have my own office, I love using sticky notes around. Unlike an agenda that keeps all my needs in a book, sticky notes are reminders placed strategically when I need them the most. I use sticky notes on customer orders, operation areas and other places where an agenda does not work well. It is almost impossible to miss a sticky note, and they save me from missing specific customer requests all the time.
By managing my time, I successfully keep up my work progress with the company’s growth. Staying organized and planning ahead not only helps me complete the given tasks in a timely manner, but I also have spare time to initiate new projects. The key is to always try and remain on top of things – and your work-life will be smoother than ever!
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