Both successful and every struggling startup have the same amount of time to get work done and succeed as a business. Most new startups are simply mismanaging their time with little or no result to show for it. All the things you need accomplished this quarter are likely to be done if you can treat time as money that could be wasted if you don’t manage it well.
Today’s worker is tempted by a bevy of distractions. In a survey, Salary.com reported that 89 percent of respondents admitted that they waste time at work each day. A small percentage even admitted they waste at least half of an eight-hour workday on non work-related tasks. For the 61 percent who admit to wasting 30 minutes to an hour, the lost productivity may not seem like a big deal but it’s a big deal for employers.
No amount of money can buy back a 24-hour day.
Time is money, you know that already but you are probably not treating it like that in your daily actions at the office. Phone calls, Instant messaging, emails and meetings are eating up most of your productive hours. In the end your business becomes bloated, bureaucratic, slow and your financials suffer. Instead of spending your time on customers, you blow it on unproductive meetings that cannot be accounted for.
Meetings are often cited as a top time-waster in businesses.
All the time you spend in meetings does not necessary reflect on your balance sheet. On a more serious note, you may be wasting most of your productive time in unnecessary meetings. Do you really have to meet about what needs to be done every week. If your meetings will not significantly increase your productivity, don’t do it. Stay synced as a team with collaborative tools that could track your progress as a team.
You can bring greater discipline to your time if you spend more time doing actual work rather than meeting about doing work. In all too many instances, meetings are called to discuss things that could be summed up with an email or quick phone call. Think about how much time that can be saved if you start tracking how much time you may be wasting on every other thing that does not directly contribute to the growth of your business.
Treat your time budget like your capital budget.
Start setting clear and measurable agenda for your meetings. Treat time like a resource that can be stolen. If you are just going in a meeting to plan what to do, you should know exactly what you expect from it and needs to be done to accomplish everything that will be discussed. Start using productive tools and apps that can significantly increase your productivity with the same amount of time you are currently using.
Here are a few ideas for managing your time at the office.
1. Dedicate time each week to prioritizing big picture goals for the coming week, month, and quarter and focus on getting them done not in meetings to find out how employees are doing. There are better ways to review progress; employees can submit progress reports on weekly basis.
2. A weekly status report from each department could provide the information necessary to keep business leaders aware of the activities throughout the company without wasting hundreds of work hours each month.
3. Change your default hour long meeting to just 20 minutes or less and focus on results.
4. In meetings, shift the conversation away from discussing the “what” (actions and activity) to the “how” (decisions, change of direction).
5. End every meeting with the question “What are you expecting to hear/see by the next time we meet?”
6. Use task tracking apps like Todoist, Wunderlist, or Asana to get generic tasks done throughout the day when you have a few free minutes.
7. Make it a priority to get everything done that you put on your list done each day. Be religious about not procrastinating.
8. Use your calendar as a “real time” diary of whom you call and what you do in time slots throughout the day. Makes it easier to remember in the future.
9. To increase productivity, turn off notifications for short periods of time during the day.
If you (or your employees) are wasting the company’s precious resource, pay attention to how you spend each minute of your workday and look for areas where you can improve.