Making the Most of Your Time


Right next to your employees, your most valuable resource as a manager is time. However many squander this asset. This usually happens when management gets stuck in institutional ruts, following well-trodden procedures without considering whether there’s a more time-effective way. Here are three of the most significant areas where businesses waste time, along with suggestions for how to improve them.

#1. Meetings

Most of us hate meetings. They tend to be tedious and repetitive, and often run over time. At best a few things get covered in triple the necessary time, and at worst nothing is accomplished. For this reason, many companies are doing away with or completely re-structuring the way they run meetings.

If you wish to get rid of company meetings entirely, arrange some interoffice method for communicating necessary information. For example, you can email everyone memos with mandatory response prompts sprinkled throughout to ensure they’re being fully read and understood.

If you decide to keep meetings as a staple, consider creating a set order of operations that is posted and reviewed at the beginning of each session to help keep your staff on task. Allocate specific amounts of time to each item that needs to be discussed and appoint a timekeeper for accountability. Most importantly, make sure you stick to the allotted time, even if that means cutting things short. This will help reinforce that this new way of meeting is going to be your new standard and that the time slots should be respected.

#2. Online Distractions

Let’s face it: the internet is not only here to stay, but it’s vital for most businesses. At the same time, the reality is that the internet can be a colossal time drain. Filters, while they have some efficacy aren’t perfect, and many employees resent it when managers restrict sites. Cell phones as well are ubiquitous distractions in the workplace today.

Consider having an open discussion with your team to find ways to limit these distractions. Incentive programs might have some impact, as well as restricting internet except for the few employees who regularly need it. While there’s no perfect solution to online time-wastage, merely pointing out the fact that employees are being distracted and it’s hurting their sales could be enough to refocus attention.

#3. Misunderstood Directions

Believe it or not, miscommunication is one of the largest time-wasters in the workplace. Employers and managers often assume that once an order is given it will be understood and carried out. However, many times instructions are either related incorrectly or misinterpreted. This leads to valuable minutes, hours or even days spent on correcting the errors that result.

Combat this by having any instructions given repeated back so that all parties understand what the other is saying. If there’s a co-worker or employee who is especially prone to playing broken telephone with your words, consider having them write down what they believe you’ve said so you can check it over. While these steps themselves might seem like they take up too much time, in the long run, they’ll save you much more in time and profits.