There's one guy like this in every office.



His desk is always clean, he can always find what he's looking for, his computer desktop has folders for all of his files and he always knows what's on his schedule. And, except for his boss, everyone else in the office would like to Fed Ex him to Siberia.



The reason we all hate that guy is because we all secretly wish we could be.



He drives us crazy, only because we don't know how he does it. The thing is, we can be like him - even better - if we simply adjust some of our primary assumptions about how we work. If we can look at our business lives from a slightly different perspective, it will not only get us organized, but enable us to get more done in less time.



Stop "doing the work." The reason a successful business owner or department manager can work a few hours a week, or take an extended vacation without stress, is because he or she has created systems, implemented written procedures, and has learned to delegate. Successful people don't work harder; they work smarter, so focus on what needs to be done to make your business grow. Automate or delegate the rest.



Use your "prime" time wisely. Understand this: "Biological prime time" is when your brainpower is at peak capacity. People function at maximum effectiveness only about six hours out of a 24-hour day. It is important to determine precisely when your personal prime time occurs, and then use that time period wisely. Six hours each day is not much, so, presuming you wish to reach your goals sooner rather than later, it is best you perform the tasks that contribute most to your success during your prime time hours, and that you protect those hours from interruption.



Create written documentation. More than 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first year, and 80 percent fail within the first five years, according to the U.S. Small Business Association. Boring but true, the single, major difference between a small, floundering company and a large, successful company is this: The large, successful business employs documentation. It's a simple equation: Documented procedures equal freedom and profit. If you already own a small business, and you don't have documentation, carve out time today, sit down, and develop a Strategic Objective for your business. It's like a mission statement, but punchier and more specific. Next, move on to your General Operating Principles, a 2-4 page collection of "guidelines for decision-making." Third, you need written Working Procedures - instructions describing how the individual systems of the company or the job are to operate.



Eliminate Mole-whacking. If you own a business, your mission is to work hard but not long, to reduce the workweek by 95 percent, and to make more money than you require. If you have a job, the goal is to quickly ascend the management ranks until you can call your own shots. But no matter what your situation, if you are going to work, then work! Turn the radio off, get your feet off the desk, stop the pointless babbling with a coworker, and put your head down. Get in, do the work, and get out. Suggest polite ways for keeping a conversation moving along, especially if a long-winded coworker comes into your office for a "quick question," then starts recapping last night's episode of American Idol from start to finish. And, what about staff meetings? Are they a waste of time? Yes, if you don't have an agenda.



"Focus and concentration are enhanced, work gets done faster and productivity soars when we can adjust what we do and how we do it to a new perspective that cuts the fat out of our work day," Carpenter added.



With a background in engineering, publishing and journalism, Sam Carpenter is a telephone answering service industry consultant, writer and speaker and has served as president of several regional and national answering service organizations. As CEO and general manager of Centratel, with a simple change in perspective, he quickly cut his workweek from 80 hours to 2 hours, while increasing his income by a factor of 20. His book, Work the System, published in April 2008, is in its second soft-cover printing and is available at www.workthesystem.com. It will be available in bookstores in hard cover in May 2009.