You only have so much time in the day, right?
You know this, especially when you have a mounting workload on your desk and you are fighting the clock to get everything done. The last thing you need to be doing then is wasting time.
And yet here’s the thing.
Many of us do waste time within our working day.
We aren’t talking about those obvious time wasters either. You know the ones we mean. It might be that temptation to check our Facebook messages. Or it might be taking phone calls from friends and family members. We lose vital minutes of our day when falling prey to such activities, and we only regret them later when we are forced to work overtime.
However, there are hidden time wasters that can affect our productivity levels too, and we will be focussing on some of those within this article. Take a look below, and if any of them are relatable to you, reclaim your time back by eliminating them from your business.
Time Waster #1: Working for an increased number of clients
You need clients for your business, of course. Without them, you wouldn’t get paid, and that wouldn’t bode well for you on a personal or a business level. But the more clients you take on, the more work you have to do. And this could create problems for your business.
When you have too many clients, you consequently have more deadlines to meet. When you have more deadlines to meet, you will be tempted to rush through work to meet them. When you rush through work, you lose the quality factor in what you produce. And as a result of all of that, you will probably lose clients as they won’t be happy when they see the work you hand in to them.
The upshot of all this? You have wasted time working for them because your business has suffered rather than profited.
Of course, if you have employees in your care, then you might have the scope to take on more clients. But if you work alone or if you don’t have the employees to take on extra workloads, then think carefully before taking on new clients. We appreciate the need to grow your business, and you might regret having to turn people down, but the quality of your work is paramount.
The same clients will return to you again and again if you impress them, so focus on them, rather than risking your business by taking on increased workloads. As your business profits, you might then be able to take on more staff, and consequently, you will then have the capacity to take on new clients down the line.
Time Waster #2: Using inefficient working methods
As time moves on, so do the working methods we use.
We no longer need to rely on manual processes to schedule our workloads or our employees, as with visual planning software, we now have a resource management &scheduling solution.
We don’t need to sit down with a piece of paper and a calculator when trying to stay on top of our finances, as there are hundreds of accountancy apps available to us that can be downloaded straight onto our smartphones.
And we don’t need to waste time looking for customer information when talking to them on the phone, as with CRM software, we can have the info we need at the click of a button.
And these are just a few examples, as with the latest advances in technology, we don’t have to be reliant on the way we worked just a few short years ago. Today, there are pieces of software and downloadable apps that can make light work of any time-consuming tasks, so if you are still stuck in the 20th century (get with it Grandad), you need to know that you are wasting time each day as a result.
Therefore, research the tools available to you. We have linked you to a few examples, but there are many others, each one designed to help you be more productive and efficient in the way you carry out your work.
Time Waster #3: Attending unnecessary meetings
Meetings don’t have to be time-wasting activities.
If there is a meaning behind them, with an outcome that benefits your business in some way, then you shouldn’t neglect them.
However, if you meet with your employees on a daily basis, perhaps because that’s what you have always done, then you might be wasting time, especially if there isn’t a lot on your agenda. The same applies to meetings with your clients, investors, and any other persons who might be related to your business. If there’s no point in getting together, then don’t; at least, not on a too-regular basis.
And if you do need to communicate with your employees or clients, you don’t have to rule out a huge chunk of your day to hold meetings with them. You could convey what you needed to say through email or Skype, or through communication software apps using the Cloud to pass on data and other information. This way, you wouldn’t have to rely on people to attend your workplace on time to meet with you, and you wouldn’t have to waste time commuting to others.
So, don’t let meetings become time wasters. Find ways to convey information to others in different ways, or schedule a meeting only when it is appropriate to do so. Check our infographic for more.
Time Waster #4: Failing to delegate properly
If you do have employees working for you, then it makes sense to delegate work to them occasionally. You will then get more work done as you can concentrate on the pressing tasks that befit your remit, and you won’t have to waste time working on tasks that don’t need your attention.
However, you need to delegate the right way.
Don’t assign your employees tasks at random. If they don’t have the skills to take them on, then you are wasting both your time and theirs. Your employees might only make mistakes with the tasks given to them, and either you or they will then have to spend extra time putting right whatever has been done incorrectly.
Don’t delegate anything to employees who are already overworked. You will affect their productivity if you do, as not only are they in danger of making mistakes if you overload their minds with more work, but they will have to leave their other duties behind when they take new tasks on.
And when delegating, allow your employees to ask you questions, as they might be unsure of what is being asked of them. If you leave them to their own devices, they might struggle to successfully complete what you have given them, and they might make mistakes. Again, time will be wasted.
Think carefully when delegating then. Make sure you relay information to your employees if delegating, and only pass tasks on to those staff members who a) have the time to take them on, and b) have the talents to do so. Alternatively, consider outsourcing, as this might be the better option if delegating to your staff has the potential to be another time waster in your business.
Time Waster #5: Your disorganized workspace
Is your desk a mess of random scraps of paper and unorganized stationery? Are the files on your computer desktop haphazardly placed? Is your filing cabinet stuffed with documents that are placed in a random fashion? If so, you are going to waste time in your working day, as you will struggle to get your hands on the info you need.
Having to wade through the clutter on your desk, the chaotic folders on your desktop, and the explosion of paperwork in your filing cabinet, you are going to waste more than a few minutes of your time. Therefore, make every effort to declutter your workspace.
Go through everything on your desk, and find an organized home in your drawer space. Use these tips to declutter your computer desktop. And when it comes to your filing cabinet, ask yourself if you really need any paperwork at all. It might be worth your while scanning your paper documents and then placing them in the newly ordered folders you have created on your desktop.
After taking these small but necessary steps, you should never have to spend an age looking for something you desperately need again.
So, say no to any hidden time wasters that might be intruding upon your working day. Follow our suggestions to get on top of them, and if there are any time wasters that we haven’t mentioned, be they obvious or hidden, look for ways to eliminate them from your day as well.
After taking steps to reclaim time, you should work more productively, have the opportunity to commit to quality work for your customers and clients, and get to go home at a decent time so you can spend time with your family and friends. In the end then, by eliminating those blasted time wasters, everybody wins!