If you’ve ever read about using your time effectively and increasing your productivity, you’ve probably heard of the Eisenhower Method and seen a 2X2 matrix that looks like this:
Eisenhower famously said, "I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent."
In other words, it’s easy to spend too much time doing urgent things that are unimportant.
And never enough time doing the important things that aren’t urgent.
How This Applies to Your Back Office
Usually when you learn about this matrix, productivity experts recommend that you delegate the urgent stuff, so you can focus on the important things.
But when you really think about it, wouldn’t it be better if you could eliminate the urgent but not important work altogether? Wouldn’t it be better if you could free up your entire team from doing busy work and allow them to focus on the truly important stuff?
That’s what we do for transportation companies here at Microdea every day.
We use document management and automation software to get rid of the busy work altogether. Don’t just delegate urgent tasks, automate them away.
Examples of Urgent Tasks That Can Be Automated
In the back office there’s always a rush to get invoices out and drivers paid, so there’s a lot of urgent paperwork that needs to get done.
Some examples include things like:
- Getting trip documents back to the office
- Sorting, filing, indexing, checking in and organizing documents where they can be found
- Emailing out invoices and automatically attaching all proof of delivery documents and accessorials
- Posting transactions to your general ledger
- Indexing documents and validating information against what’s in your TMS
- Opening, downloading and filing email attachments
- Getting rate confirmations accepted and updating load statuses in your TMS
To be clear, a lot of these tasks are important in the sense that they need to get done for your business to keep trucking along. But they’re not important in the sense that they don’t need to be done by you personally or by a person at all. These are tasks where humans don’t add value, so a machine can do an equally good (or way better) job.
The Benefits of Automating the Urgent
The Eisenhower Method pops up time and time again because it works. If you spend your days doing important work, you get more important work done.
The quickest and easiest way to take advantage of this method in your transportation back office is to automate the urgent tasks.
When you do that, your staff can move from being reactive to being proactive, from always working in the business to sometimes working on the business, from working to not fall behind to finally getting ahead.
Automate the urgent and your whole team will work more efficiently and effectively. You’ll get more done in less time and finally be able to focus on the important work. The urgent stuff will take care of itself.
Steele Roddick is a Content Specialist at Microdea where he creates content that helps transportation companies drive their business forward. He’s endlessly fascinated by technology trends, chess, and discovering new places to travel with his wife.