Working with product compliance requires an understanding of important legal issues, and although product compliance officers don’t practice law, they must be able to navigate the regulatory framework. They are responsible for ensuring that a company’s products are compliant with all relevant laws, policies and regulations and that the company itself is up to date. All this can be very stressful and overwhelming for the CCOs, especially if no proper time-management skills are applied. As a product compliance professional, your time is valuable, and your work is essential for keeping your company safe and in compliance.
These time management hacks will help you spend your time as efficiently and effectively as possible. So, you can work smarter, not harder.
Product compliance professionals have a thousand things to do at any moment. Because of that, they need to know how to prioritise if they want to be productive. Otherwise, they’ll consistently add less value at work.
A good time management hack is to spend 10-20 minutes at the start of the workday identifying top priorities. List out all the tasks you have for the day and use a colour coding technique to separate the tasks by importance. For example, use a red colour to mark all the tasks that have hard compliance-related deadlines and must be accomplished that day. By doing so, you will manage your time more efficiently and have better clarity and a greater sense of accomplishment.
If you’re really into planning, take it a step further by identifying short-term and long-term compliance goals. E.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual goals.
#2. 2-minute rule
Remember what we said above about listing out all tasks? Well, if there is a task you can do in 2 minutes or less, don’t add it to the list… simply do it. Of course, if you have a more urgent job at that same moment, that one will win.
But in general, if you devote 30 minutes to getting 2-minute tasks done, you will complete 15 tasks at least. This simple time management hack will help you gain a degree of control and be less overwhelmed.
#3. Take short breaks
With increasing workloads, colleagues in multiple time zones, diverse work and various devices pinging all around them, it’s no wonder compliance officers are more stressed than ever before. They need to decompress to be able to do their job properly.
Taking a breather before diving into the next product compliance task can help you clear your head and bring your best. A quick walk around your office or simple stretching at your desk are just a few of the techniques you can use to get the few minutes you need to refresh and refocus.
#4. 8020 Rule
This rule states that across all industries and activities, 80% of results come from 20% of causes – e.g. 80% of legal issues are caused by 20% of missing documentation. When it comes to your work, target the 20% of compliance-related tasks that will get you 80% of your results. By doing so, you’ll turbocharge your effectiveness with less effort and minimize time wasted on low-yield activities.
#5. Streamline routine tasks
Compliance officers have dozens of routine projects and tasks that are often done manually. Instead, CCOs can use compliance management software that will allow them to automate such activities. They will get control over their compliance procedures and streamline compliance management workflows. Such a system can definitely make a CCO’s life easier and more efficient, whether it be delivering alerts for upcoming changes in relevant harmonized standards or providing an overview of a product’s compliance status. Digital automation allows for faster, error-free work. It takes the effort out of small, everyday tasks and pays off in huge dividends over time.
This time management hack makes in-house compliance more efficient and productive. As a result, companies save money, mitigate legal risk and increase revenue.
#6. Do single-tasking, not multitasking.
Product compliance professionals should do one thing at a time because research has shown that multitasking leads to decreased productivity. As a product compliance professional, your work must be as productive as possible because it is essential for keeping the company in compliance.
Try to stay focused on the task at hand by eliminating distractions. One of the main sources of distractions is technology. So, the simplest way to reduce multitasking is to unplug. For example, leave aside your phone or tablet when you’re in meetings. Instead of actively checking your phone or email every time you get a ping, schedule set times to reconnect.
Even if you get distracted, don’t beat yourself up too much. It happens to everyone. Just always try to be clear about what single compliance task you’re supposed to be doing so that you can get back to it asap post-distraction.
#7. Keep your workplace organized
Spending 10 minutes excavating the detritus on your desk as you desperately try to find a specific compliance document is not a good use of your time. Keeping piles of papers on your desk is also a distraction that will reduce your ability to focus and increase your stress levels.
A self-enforced clean desk policy is a good place to start. Take 30 minutes to organize your workplace and file that paperwork. Keeping an orderly workspace will help you find things more quickly and make you more efficient and calmer.
#8. Delegate and collaborate
Compliance officers often take more work than they can handle and try to get everything done without asking for help from their team. As a result, they are stressed and overwhelmed all the time. Not being a team player is actually one of the most common mistakes compliance officers make.
As a product compliance professional, you should only do the work that only you can, and delegate the rest of the tasks wherever possible. Create a timeline that includes specific deadlines for each task. Then, outsource any task or project to someone on your team who has relevant skills and can do it better and faster than you. Getting coordinated will reduce the stress on you and your team. It will empower your team, and free you up to do what you do best.
Overall, this simple time management hack will improve the collaboration and communication within the department and help you establish clear expectations.