7 Ways to Maximise Your Productivity for IPs

Task Management

We've Collated the Best Time Management Tips and Hacks to Empower IPs to Boost Their Productivity and Get More Done.

Insolvency Practitioners, we know you're busy and in the wake of the pandemic, your workload hasn't lessened. To make sure you're getting the most out of your time each day, we have put together some practical advice to help you manage your workload and get more done in less time without risking the dreaded burnout. If you can carve out the time to read this article, then you just might be able to save yourself a whole lot of your valuable time going forward.

1. The Eisenhower Method

Case management is no joke with the snowball effect of corporate insolvency rates showing no signs of slowing. The Eisenhower Method can help you prioritise your workload and delegate efficiently so you can get back to what’s important. Created by the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Eisenhower method or matrix is one way to help you prioritise your tasks and manage your workload effectively. The theory is that by using a grid method you can assign a level of urgency and priority to all your business tasks, so you then know which to do, defer, delegate, or delete. Here's how it works.

Creating an Eisenhower Matrix

  • Firstly write down everything you can think of that you need to do in the near future. Let's say, by the end of the week. You can keep this business-related or add in your personal goals too, it's your list.
Eisenhower matrix
  • Now draw a grid of four blocks, so there are two in each direction. Label the top left one 'Important and Urgent', the top right one 'not urgent' and the bottom left 'not important, but urgent'. This would make the bottom right box 'neither urgent nor important'.
  • If tasks are important and urgent, then input them in the corresponding 'do' box. These are your priorities for today and perhaps tomorrow too. If tasks are important but not urgent then these go in the 'defer' box (top right) for tomorrow or whenever you've finished your 'do' tasks. The 'delegate' box is the bottom left one and the 'delete' box (or the 'don't worry about yet' box, if you prefer) is the bottom right one.

This enables you to order your tasks by priority and also forces you to consider if everything on your metaphorical plate is genuinely time-efficient for you to deal with or whether it could be handed to someone more appropriate. You might not have quite as many avenues through which to delegate as President Eisenhower did, but you get the picture. Using the Eisenhower Matrix to designate priorities for tasks means you can appropriately order them in the best way and get through them in the most efficient order.

2. Go Digital

As a business recovery expert, your diary is probably choc-a-block. One of the best things you can do for the smooth running of your day is to make your scheduling or diary system digital. This means you never again have to utter the words “let me check my diary and get back to you”. You’ll have it with you wherever you are so there's no chance of error. Making sure you have one source of truth for your appointments across all your devices means that you never double book yourself, it also means you know exactly how much time you have available outside of meetings and appointments in which to complete your other tasks.

Ensuring that your phone calendar and computer calendar are linked up will mean you only have to input information once and you can check it from wherever you are, even when out of the office. If you're already fully digital in your time planning, kudos to you, but for those of you who might describe yourselves as "old-school", we think that this is the time to ditch your old paper diary or Filofax and embrace what digital technology can do for you.

3. Get Tech-savvy

There are brilliant solutions out there to make Insolvency and restructuring specialists' lives easier. If you’re a licensed Insolvency Practitioner then you’ll very likely know about the wonders ofTurnkey IPS, but you may not know that we’re their preferred document management system to integrate with IPS. Our powerful integration takes your efficiency from nought to a hundred in no time as we automate your filing from inside Turnkey IPS Case Management System. Manage your cases and documents from one place with zero adoption stress and no need to duplicate data.

Having the right tech to support you, is vital for streamlining your business processes and maximising your time efficiency, so make sure you've got the right tech tools under your belt to support your team. For more information on building a strong, united tech stack to boost your business workflows, read our article here.

4. The 2-Minute Rule

When your caseload seems insurmountable, you can use the 2-minute rule to clear a path to better working and clarity. The 2-minute rule is simply this: If there are any tasks that take you two minutes or less on your to-do list, do them now. After that, you will benefit from much better clarity over the remaining items on your task list. Progress announcements for creditors ready to go? Get them sent through the creditor portal now. Client signoffs, quick responses to emails and information requests. Get them done and crossed off your list. Now you're free to silence your notifications for a while and get really stuck into that case file. Gather some momentum and de-clutter your agenda with the 2-minute rule before you start your day and you'll be unstoppable.

5. Go Paperless

Digitalising your personal and professional scheduling is one thing you can do to improve your efficiency as an IP, but why stop there? Virtual Cabinet helps even the most paper-stubborn industries go paperless, including insolvency. So, make a choice to go paperless and say goodbye to wasted admin and filing time. A paperless insolvency practice is a more productive and more agile one, as your business processes are no longer tied to hard copies of paper documents. Rule out human filing errors with automated case document filing and email communication capture. Never waste time looking for a misfiled document again, with intelligent indexing that makes sure everything is in the right place and effortlessly accessible.

6. Perform a Time Tracking Audit

You might be surprised by how much time you are wasting on some high-effort, low-value tasks over the course of your week and the only way to find out the truth about what you're truly using your time for is to track it. You might already be using a time tracker, if so, try utilising it for a week or two to accurately record your day-to-day tasks. This will give you enough data on how to improve your time management skills and see where automation and tech could give you back a considerable amount of time.

Time tracking graphic

How long did you really spend replying to emails? Too much? Then, you could try setting up some adaptable templates to answer common queries and save the time it takes to type out ten emails all on a similar subject. Did you spend an absurd amount of time looking for a misfiled case document? Never again, with the powerful VC and IPS integration. The first step to knowing how to manage your time is to know how you're using it now. We tend to have some fairly warped assumptions about what we are spending our time on, so time tracking is definitely worth a trial.

7. Schedule Focus Time

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but scheduling blocks of time for focused work can be extremely beneficial to your productivity. Silencing email notifications during this time and planning ahead what you’re going to spend it on, will cut out the temptation for procrastination and responding to distractions. There are even some apps out there that can help you stay focused on the project you've carved out this time for. Apps such as Freedom and Forest help you stay on task during your focus time. So, try to schedule it in between your other important tasks such as creditor communication, filing voluntary arrangement paperwork and preparation of subsequent legislation needed to assist companies in financial distress. Your day-to-day activities should make up around seventy per cent of your work time and the other thirty per cent could be kept aside for focused work. That way you can get a variety of tasks completed each day.

Final Thoughts

We know that IPs in the restructuring and business rescue service need all the help they can get to balance their workloads right now. Every time a huge financial event hits the national and international economies it can take a while for the results to filter down, but the eventual spike in bankruptcies is all too inevitable. The pandemic, followed by the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis in quick succession means there's not going to be such a thing as an Insolvency Practitioner with a light caseload for some time to come.

That's why we want to help. Together with Turnkey IPS, Virtual Cabinet has set out to give IPs the resources and support they need to keep on being the company rescuers that they always have been, even with an increased workload. The powerful integration between VC and IPS means that you never have to duplicate information or waste time trying to retrieve lost files. Manage your cases, client communications and documents from one central, secure location. VC + IPS = your productivity superpower.Learn more about how VC can help IPs become more time efficient and work smarter, not harder.


Does Virtual Cabinet Integrate With Turnkey IPS Case Management?

Not only do we integrate with IPS Cloud and IPS SQL, but the way in which the two platforms work together and talk to each other means we are Turnkey IPS' preferred document management system for their customers. VC speeds up your work processes alongside IPS, because the data, information and contact details are automatically pulled through to VC from IPS so your digital documents are automatically filed against the right case, client or project without having to be specifically input by you. We make document management effortless, with the help of IPS because you don't have to duplicate information or even learn your way around a new system because Virtual Cabinet works from inside IPS.

Which Types of Technology Do Insolvency Practitioners Need?

Insolvency practitioner professionals typically use a case management system to keep their insolvency cases organised. They also often use a secure portal to send documents out to multiple creditors or contacts at once. For regulatory purposes and to keep sensitive data private, most IPs also use some form of document management system, such as Virtual Cabinet. IPs have to deal with such a wide range of documents and data belonging to companies facing bankruptcy so whatever tech helps them to divide and conquer their case files into a manageable format, that is GDPR compliant, will help them to work smarter.

Making sure your tech stack is built to support your expert team's efficiency is vital to getting through your caseload. If your case management software doesn't talk to your document management system in a way that automates the mundane admin of filing then is it even saving you any time? When choosing the elements of your technology pack, the best guidance we can give is to check the integration strength between the new platform and your other existing ones. That way you can be sure that clunky integrations aren't going to slow your experienced team down.

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