How to Get More Done with the Elimination Technique

Most of us are familiar with the infamous “to do” list.

We dutifully populate the list with task after task that needs to get done. But we’re never sure where to start. There are only so many hours in a day, and all the tasks need to get done. We can’t fit a square peg in a round hole, and even if we stayed awake 24 hours, we wouldn’t be able to finish all the tasks on our list.

When faced with this dilemma, most of us are ready to tear up the task list and just wing it. A better option might be to use the Elimination Technique instead. What is the Elimination Technique? It’s a method to help narrow your focus. It starts with a series of questions to ask to begin eliminating options to get to what is most important.

Take a look at your current task list and ask the following questions:

  • What tasks take more time than I have available?
  • Are there tasks that don’t have to be done today?
  • Are there tasks that can be automated?
  • What tasks can be delegated to someone else?

Your task list should now be shortened. Reduce your list further by asking these questions:

  • What tasks are most important for this day to be considered a success?
  • What tasks don’t generate results that move you along your major goals?
  • What tasks are required to move forward with a project?
  • What tasks don’t facilitate some sort of growth, profit, or sales?

Your goal is to eliminate as many of the non-essential tasks as possible. Remember that the goal is to narrow your focus into a laser beam. By asking these questions, you should begin to see which tasks are truly important and must be prioritized and which tasks can be pushed down the list or better yet simply eliminated from your day. Less is more in this case.

For some, eliminating tasks may feel painful. We live in a society that seems to be constantly on the go. A long to do list must equal someone of substance. But having lots of activity doesn’t necessarily lead to fulfillment. Some struggle with the concept of elimination because there may be a sense of loss. (If I don’t do it, it will never get done.) But if all that extra non-essential activity gets in the way of doing what is most important, wouldn’t it be better for it to be eliminated?

Start today by ruthlessly eliminating tasks so you can reveal to yourself the truly important things in your life. With elimination comes focus. With focus comes efficiency. Efficiency leads to doing more while actually working less. Working less allows you to enjoy more freedom to accomplish what gives you real fulfillment and happiness in life.

Print & Copy Factory’s Green Solutions

We were recently asked by the Ferndale Chamber, to write an article about what Print & Copy Factory has been doing to go “green”. We have been busy at Print & Copy Factory – always looking for solutions that work for our community and customers. Going green is can be related in many different aspects and I would like to visit three of the top green things we have been focusing on.

For one, we have been working on creating a “Lean Manufacturing Culture.”  Which is so powerful in many ways, as less is more, and production is smoother. And the customer of course benefits because less time is less money!! If you have not heard about going Lean, you can check in with our buddy down the street from us, Paul Akers of Fastcap, www.fastcap.com. <http://www.fastcap.com.> He has been implementing LEAN for over a decade and even provides tours of his shop. He is selling a book on his website that explains it very powerfully. We have started this in January, and it is a process. The most powerful benefit that we have seen so far is that the employees are empowered to improve processes with less, and more importantly, take on generating themselves as leaders, which permantes to their home and community.

We are also part of the “going paperless” movement, which for a printshop to say is almost sacrilegious! So not only is it a mind twister, but, it is thinking outside the box for us as a business and for products for our customers businesses. Even though we feel that there is still a major importance on printed materials, we have recognized the importance of us providing websites for our customers as well. If you think about it, websites are like a moving and growing brochure on the internet. The benefit of having us help with your website is it matches the marketing of all your printed materials too! One stop shopping is green isn’t it?

Also, we jumped in fully with the social media aspect of relationship building, by providing classes for our customers. When the economy went down, people’s marketing budgets did too, and so creating ways to help our customers find and build relationships was key for their success. We also have developed services of providing and creating email blasts (marketing) and setting up facebook business pages for our clients.

As a printshop we find the technical advances are a benefit to going greener, but mostly when people think of going green in a printshop they think of recycled paper, and the printed process so let’s discuss that.

One of the most misleading conceptions about recycled paper is that you think you are saving the environment by using them. It is important to know the whole story so you can make wise choices.

When we started our business 20 years ago, recycled papers were just being introduced into the marketplace, and we saw many problems with the products. Recycled paper was not only very expensive, but it was hard to print on and create a sellable product that customers would be happy with and used to, compared to virgin papers. Recycled paper has to go through more lengthy processes, such as bleaching and chemical baths to get the pulp back into a sellable product. This in fact, is more harmful for our environment. And the chemicals, the acidity of recycled papers, the broken down paper fibers caused many printing inconsistencies. The chemistry needed to create the right levels of ink (oil) and water to imprint a beautiful image was difficult to count on reliablity from order to order and even during a print run.  This caused a great deal of waste, running extra paper to get the colors up to quality. Also, recycled papers tend to have more paper powder on the sheets causing build up on rollers, creating more machine jams.

The good news is however, over the years, we have seen the recycled paper be developed to a better product that is consistent and easier to run on the machines, and now have become a main staple of our printshop. Most papers we use have a percentage of recycled content in them.  Because things have drastically improved with the recycling processes and paper manufacturing techniques, we also have generated a new line of digital presses that are more acceptable to running these papers. We mostly use digital printing presses, that allow us very little setup, and very small, short runs and very inexpensive pricing, compared to the traditional printing setup costs.  With traditional printing, we used to have a press room full of machines, that included printing inks, chemistry and film and plates, not to mention large amounts of set-up.  Now, we run a large percentage of our business on our digital presses, providing our customers can get beautiful full color printing, on high quality paper, for just very small runs and with less chemicals! Even though Digital printing may be more expensive in the larger runs, it is being green, because none of those chemicals, film/plates and setups are needed.

With this technology, it even creates more products that we offer such as VDP (variable data printing) creates “Green – Direct Mail” meaning, you are no longer needing to send out mass mailings, we can help you select and  generate specific leads with personalized mailings, at a smaller quantity, with major high ROI (return on investment) results.

One of the most frustrating mis-conceptions about print is that people are discounting/disconnecting with this valuable media in the way they market their business. The statistics still show that Print Drives Both On- And Off-Line Sales.
Print is a powerful media… and its power is multiplied when used as part of a multi-channel
campaign. Print enhances the impact of television, telemarketing and the internet by providing an extra dimension that’s warm, inviting and highly personable. Use it to reinforce your brand’s message, introduce new products or services and drive traffic to your website.

From printed ads in magazines and newspapers to postcards, direct mail packages, catalogs, door hangers, newsletters, billboards and more, companies everywhere are using print to effectively Increase their sales. They understand that:

Print Gets Read – 80% of households either read or scan advertising mail sent to their household.[1]

Print Gets Response – 2.24% direct order response rate for printed catalogs, compared with just 0.48% from emails. In fact, catalogs have the second highest response as a marketing option, after telemarketing.[2]

Print Influences Decisions – 76% of customers have been directly influenced to purchase by direct mail.[3]

Print Drives New Business – 70% of customers renewed a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion.[4]

Print Leads to Repeat Business – 70% of customers renewed a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion.[5]

Print Increases Online Search – 67% of online search is driven by offline messages; 39% ultimately make a purchase.[6]

Print Increases Online Sales – 76% of internet users surveyed have been directly influenced to purchase an item or service thanks to a direct mail piece.[7]

With results like these, it’s no wonder so many successful organizations choose print.

[1]United States Postal Service (2007). Household Diary Study.
[2]DMA Response Rate Report (2008).
[3]2009 Channel Preference Study.
[4]2008 DMA /Pitney Bowes Direct Mail Survey.
[6]iProspect Offline Channel Influence on Online Search Behavior Study (2007).
[7]Exact Target, 2009 Channel Preference Study

The environmental impact of print on paper
90% of the paper consumed in the United States is produced in the United States [source <http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
33% of papermaking material in the United States comes from recycled paper; 33 percent comes from wood chips and scrap from sawmills; and 33% comes from virgin trees [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
90% of the wood harvested in the United States comes from private “tree farms” [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
56% of forests in the United States are private ownership; the remaining 44 percent are public ownership [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
87% of Americans (268 million) had access to curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling programs in 2010[source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> .
63.5% of the paper consumed in the Unites States was recycled in 2010 [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
This website is a clearinghouse which brings together in one place information and links to other websites that tell the story about the effectiveness and environmental credentials of print on paper.


http://www.tappi.org/paperu/all_about_paper/earth_answers/earthAnswers.htm <http://www.tappi.org/paperu/all_about_paper/earth_answers/earthAnswers.htm>
http://www.printcopyfactory.com/resources/green-solutions.html <http://www.printcopyfactory.com/resources/green-solutions.html>

Six Steps to Handling Mistakes at Work

Mistakes are a natural part of life… and business. How you handle those mistakes will go a long way in turning a dissatisfied customer around. Here are a few things you can do when mistakes occur at your company to help resolve the issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again:
Acknowledge the mistake. When someone brings an error to your attention, own up to it. Apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused, and get to work (with the customer) to resolve the situation. We at Print & Copy Factory, work very hard on procedures to avoid any mistakes at all.  But sometimes a misunderstanding or equipment will malfunction and we want to make it right. Our commitment is 100% satisfaction for our customers.

Act swiftly. As soon as a mistake comes to light, get to work fixing the problem. If it’s a quick fix, all that much better. However, if resolving the issue will take more time, let the customer know that, too, and set a realistic timetable for reaching a resolution.

Keep the customer involved. Ask the customer what you can do to make things right, and keep in close touch with them until the issue is resolved. This will help the customer see how seriously you take the situation… and their business.

Follow up and follow through. After the situation has been resolved, follow up with the customer to make sure everything is now okay. Follow through on any promises you made, and let the customer know how much you appreciate their feedback.

Schedule a postmortem. Once you’ve had a little time to breathe, gather together the key members of your team who worked on resolving the problem. Figure out what caused the initial error, and decide what can be done differently in the future to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Shore up your processes. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous step. With the team’s recommendations now in hand, start implementing the changes you think will help your company move forward into the future.

We at Print & Copy Factory for 2012, have started the LEAN manufacturing program, where daily, we work on improving our processes.  Stay tuned, we hope to add more information as we progress, using videos as well as blogs.