We all subscribe to the philosophy that time management can help improve effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, particularly in the business world. The conscious act of giving specific tasks a given time frame to be completed sounds obvious but what may not be so obvious are the sub-conscious distractions that can scupper any well laid plans.
In the short time it takes you to read this article the chances are you will pause to check your messages, click to read your latest email hitting the inbox or even have a sneaky glance at one of the numerous social media sites you have subscribed too. These are just a few examples of the distractions that can occur on screen. Off screen you may overhear a conversation about your neighbours strange dream, be approached by a colleague with a quick query or just have to come away to pick up the phone even if it is to enjoy a little FaceTime with a loved one.
Whatever the reason may be, you will find that distractions are literally everywhere and in today’s technology lead society they have dramatically increased.
What does this mean for your business?
This means that you and your employees are being constantly distracted from their work therefore having a direct impact on your businesses productivity. Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, has been quoted as saying ‘If you’re in the middle of a task and distracted by any means it can take some up to 23 minutes to get back to the mindset that you were at before the distraction’. If you were to try and calculate this, assuming that you have 1 employee who is distracted once an hour in an 8 hour day this would mean that you are losing 3 hours and 4 minutes a day, 15 hours and 20 minutes a week and a whopping 797 hours a year!
With this in mind most employers would automatically start to think of ways to ensure their employees are able to go on with their working day with no distractions, unfortunately for most, this is just impossible to accomplish. However, there are certain steps you can take to eliminate some of the distractions which will help reduce the amount of hours that get wasted to distraction every day.
Here are some handy tips that will help towards increasing your businesses productivity:
As a business owner, organisation is the key to being successful. Astute and forward thinking organisation along with recognising your business priorities plays a massive part in increasing productivity as it provides your employees with a solid structure and enables you to set achievable goals and targets more easily.
Allocate a set time for looking at emails
Businesses and individuals working within that business will receive a huge number of emails during a given working day. Most will also have them open on their desktop all day, dealing with them as and when they come in. This is a constant distraction and not an optimum use of time. The best way to eliminate this is to open up emails at defined times in the day, clear the inbox and then close it up again until the next time slot.
Dealing with email communication in batches in this way will allow you to get through tasks much more quickly and give you more quiet time to work on other things.
Outsource incoming phone calls
How many times have you picked up the phone and wished you’d just let it go to voicemail? Outsourcing your calls will free up endless amounts of time. All of your calls will go through to a professional team of virtual assistants who will not only deal with your callers queries but they can also field out sales callers and pass on calls to different departments within your business.
When it comes to outsourcing, the amount of work that you pass on to a third party is entirely up to you. It could be anything from basic message taking to complex call handling and call out accounts. They can even be used to reply to your emails!
Encourage employee feedback
Asking your employees for their opinions can also help you gain tips to save time. Are there any meetings that could be eliminated? What reports are people spending time collating that don’t really need to be done? Are there any steps in certain processes that can be removed or streamlined?
Just make sure that everyone is aware that suggestions won’t be considered as a complaint but as a creative idea that could potentially improve productivity.
Effectiveness, efficiency and productivity
So there you have it, following these simple steps could bring back that wasted business time which means that you and your employees can make the most out of your working day and therefore increase your overall business effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.