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Effective time management is key to a successful business at all levels in your organisation. If everyone in your business was say 10% more productive how much more profit could you generate in your company? It is easy to think that you are busy all the time but are you being productive or are you wasting your time?
Here are some ways in which you may be wasting your time at work or in your business:
Multitasking. You may think that you can multitask but very few people can multitask successfully. Trying to do too many things at once usually results in things not being done well, mistakes being made and time being wasted. Consider focusing on one thing at a time and see how much more effective you are.
Disorganisation. You can be disorganised in many ways including having a messy physical environment, having too many emails in your in box or not knowing what you are going to do next or what you have outstanding to do. Disorganisation will mean that things take longer than expected as you will probably waste a lot of time finding things or deciding what to do next. Allocate time to catch up, sort things out and tidy up and then introduce procedures to keep on top of things for more effective time management.
Crisis management and fire fighting. If you are always working on the day to day, crisis managing and fire fighting are you making the best use of your time? Not everything needs to be dealt with as it arises and not everything needs to be dealt with by you. Take control of your day, don't allow the day to take control of you!
Too many meetings. Are you wasting time having and being in too many meetings? Review which meetings are essential for you and your business to have and for you to attend and look at ways to improve the efficiency of the meetings. Less meetings and more efficient meetings will create time for you.
Using inefficient systems, processes and procedures. Are tasks taking too long due to inefficient systems, processes and procedures? Take time to focus on improving your processes and procedures and upgrading your systems and by making these changes you will reduce the time spent on tasks considerably.
Being easily distracted, allowing interruptions and others to control your time. A lot of time is wasted by how we react to outside influences, distractions and other people. Do you check your emails as soon as they come in, do you answer the phone during a meeting, are you checking social media when you should be doing something else and do you allow people to interrupt you whatever you are doing? Take control of distractions and interruptions and you will have time to fully focus on what you should be doing.
Lack of strategy, planning, prioritising and focus. If you don't have a business strategy and plan, don't prioritise and re-prioritise and don't stay focused you will find that you are wasting a lot of time not knowing what is the next priority and going from one thing to another. Having a clear business strategy and prioritised plan allows you to focus on the most important areas you need to action to achieve your business strategy.
Procrastinating. Procrastination is putting off doing things that are important and doing something more enjoyable or easier instead. How often do you waste time procrastinating? Understand the reason for your procrastination (e.g. a project is too large and you don't know where to start) and take action to stop procrastinating (e.g. break your project down into smaller more manageable tasks). Reducing procrastination will generate time for you and your business.
Doing things not in your area of expertise or that could be delegated. You can waste a lot of time trying to do things that are not in your area of expertise or that could be delegated. Review everything that you are doing to see if you really need to be doing it and whether it should be delegated or outsourced. This will generate you extra time for the areas you should be focusing on.
Perfectionism. How much time do you waste trying to do everything perfectly? You may be having a new website designed for your business and spend weeks or months trying to get it absolutely perfect. However you could have got it online much more quickly and started to sell from it if you allowed yourself to control your perfectionism.
Doing things when you are least effective. Time can be wasted by doing things at the wrong time of day or on the wrong day of the week (e.g. if you are a morning person, using the afternoon for your thinking and creative time may not be the best thing). Review the best time of day, day of the week etc. for your different activities and align them to when you are most effective.
Stress and worry. Are you spending time worrying and getting stressed? When you become very stressed you can become ineffective, indecisive and unproductive. Understand the cause of your stress and take action on the cause to move forward to feeling less stressed and being more productive.
Micro management. Time can be wasted in your business if you are trying to micro manage everything and everybody. Step back and allow others to step up into their roles so you can spend your time effectively managing the business.
Gossip and office politics. How much time do you waste each day gossiping, chatting, complaining about other people or getting involved in office politics? Limiting the time you spend on gossip and office politics will work wonders for your effectiveness at work.
No breaks or time off. When you are tired it is easy to waste time and be ineffective. Ensure you are not working too many hours and are taking holidays and breaks e.g. having a lunch break to improve your time management when you are in work.
As you can see there are many ways in which you may be wasting your time at work or in your business. Look at where you can be more effective, stop time wasting, take action and see the positive results on you and your business.
If you would like support with time management please call Liz Makin on 01780 765270 or email Liz to arrange a free consultation session.
You can also read other business and stress management tips articles that may help you be more effective at work or in your business.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: July 2014
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please call Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk
to arrange a FREE consultation session
to discuss our business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services for business owners, directors, managers and professionals.