As a chief financial officer (CFO), your work day is filled with various meetings and tasks that can be daunting at times. Indeed, CFO roles and responsibilities are no piece of cake.
For this reason, we put together a short list on what you can do to help you breeze through a difficult day at work. Be prepared to face any CFO challenges and get things done by following these tips:
Plan your day ahead
Starting your day with a plan in mind keeps you productive. When you allot respective time for your tasks, distractions are kept at a minimum since you’re fixated at work.
Scheduling is also an effective way to make sure your deadlines are met. This work approach prevents you from jumping from one task to another, which often results in lapses.
If the work-from-home arrangement is not working for you, you can try the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. GTD is designed to help you reach your optimum productivity level through a comprehensive system of lists and calendars.
Keep your workplace clutter-free
Get rid of the clutter on your desk. By clearing your space and creating a paperless working environment, you’ll be able to focus more on the tasks at hand.
Working from home, you might find yourself surrounded by unnecessary materials and clutter such as papers, pens, and sometimes, food. While it is okay to be lenient in terms of workspace organization, productivity is still achieved when your desk is clean.
These can be challenging, but once you’re done, you’ll feel a lot better and a lot less anxious over the amount of work you have to do.
Open your communication lines
Keeping your communication lines open is a must. One of the CFO’s roles and responsibilities is to seamlessly manage a team amid a remote work scheme.
Establish a personal workflow that will allow you to focus on individual tasks at a given time. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the number of tasks and reports that you have to work on by knowing which ones to prioritize.
According to a study conducted by researchers from Microsoft, our brain requires about 15 minutes to refocus on a given task after being interrupted. This means that if you constantly switch between tasks, it will take you a lot longer to get anything done. So if you’re constantly getting distracted by your emails and phone calls, you’ll have to deliberately carve out time to have several minutes of uninterrupted work.
Work smart and work fast
The work of a CFO involves working smart and fast. Aside from managing your time, you should also find ways to manage your workload. It’s important that you keep an inventory of the tasks that you have to accomplish each day so that you’ll know what to work on first. Know which tasks you can delegate to your direct reports, and which do not have to be prioritized.
The work of a CFO is constantly at risk of decision fatigue. One way to overcome decision fatigue is by making decisions fast and sticking with it. This way, you’ll have more time focusing on tasks that are more important than wringing your hands or fretting over over-complicated issues.
Use the latest tools and software
Find ways for your team to work smarter without increasing overhead costs. Sometimes, this can be done by implementing new technologies such as cloud-based finance and accounting tools and tools that boost productivity.
In addition, you may also look into automating some of your digital bookkeeping and financial accounting tasks. Consider adopting advanced solutions such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. (Learn more about this technology by downloading our primer on robotic process automation.)
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This post was first published 15 August 2017 and edited 02 June 2020