How many times have you had a feeling that your business stopped moving in the right direction? Or just stopped growing?
Of the whole variety of reasons why this is happening, time and productivity are probably one of the most pressing issues. They’re closely intertwined with each other. While most of us think that having more time automatically means getting more things done, this is rarely true.
An entrepreneur can work 7 days a week for 24 hours each day (everybody can, in fact). But is it really possible? Below are some handy tips to consider if you are to successfully master the science of doing business and stop exhausting yourself with fruitless attempts to keep up with everything.
The never-ending problem with working longer hours
As obvious as this may sound, working longer doesn’t mean working smarter. Some stats indicate that as much as 70 percent of people worldwide don’t get enough sleep and so fail to work productively during their work hours.
Forty hours week is not accidental, by the way. Henry Ford was the first to realize the impact of duration of the working day on productivity. The truth is that working longer hours inevitably leads to a poorer performance already in the short run. In which case businesses have to figure out how employees can make the most of their work hours in order not to stay overtime.
Does one really need to make everything perfect?
Perfectionism is a real evil to any business. More often than not, trying to make every last thing perfect means not accomplishing it at all. Here’re just several examples of how perfectionism can damage your business:
- numerous time lags emerge. While in reality the task takes two hours, checking, double-checking and final checking extends it for the whole day;
- you can miss crucial moments for real action. You wait and wait saying that it’s not the right time yet and it all ends without even starting because in business the perfect moments mean that you’re already late;
- you can overlook broader, global things while focusing on small details.
The negative effect of perfectionism on any business is backed by science too. In particular, studies showed that similarly to working longer hours it leads to decreased productivity.
So part of your business strategy should be making sure that all your activities are geared toward action, not ephemeral standards of perfection your employees and target audience might not even realize.
Automate repeated processes
Think about how many tiny (and not very tiny) things you still do manually, although you know they can be automated (often at no cost at all). Well, they all take lots of time. Your employees can spare time for much more challenging activities that can lead to your business growth.
Whether it’s about managing your social media or tracking expenses, typical and repetitive tasks should be eliminated. It just doesn’t make sense to perform them manually when you can automate them, forget about them and move ahead.
Optimize your performance for productivity
Substantiating your decisions with real facts always works best. These days there are so many studies on everything concerning work and productivity that it’d be simply a huge waste not to apply them to help your team work smarter.
For example, did you know that it takes 20 mins on average to get back to the task once it was interrupted? Now think about how many times you or your employees get distracted during the day?
Keeping asking yourself how else you can measure everything that deals with your business is a good way to spot gaps and bridge them timely. You can even make little tests on your own – just discuss the most troubling issues with your team to figure out what slows you down and how it can be done faster.
Make your projects manageable
Nothing eats your most productive time as much as long projects the end of which is only distantly visible. A way better strategy would be simply breaking it into mini-projects. In which case the goals are achieved faster and the progress is visible to every member on the team.
Confidence, sense of achievement, clear metrics of costs for every interim phase of the project – these are just a few benefits of avoiding large-scale projects and optimizing your productivity.
And track your progress
This is a stage that might be both painful and inspiring. For various reasons people tend to avoid feedback on their performance. More fundamentally, this refers to the Ostrich problem. But in order to scale what works one has to be open to discussion on what went wrong, why and how to fix it.
As a matter of fact, almost any important business activity can be measured. Whether it’s time, productivity or costs part of your strategy should be making them as tangible as possible (you can do this with the help of various apps and software to speed things up. This way you receive a solid background for further decision-making.
For example, time tracking app will allow to measure employee productivity, who work at the computer. You will see where their time goes, if they use all apps, you are paying for and workload of each team member. A good example of automatic time tracking app is Yaware.TimeTracker, it saves you a lot of time and generates accurate reports on employee performance.
Protect your time to spur your business performance
Time is the only asset one can never get back. That’s why it should be protected with all means possible. Above there were some most troubling issues with the time any business faces. Being able to solve them quickly and at relatively low cost guarantees you a completely different approach to your time – effective and actionable.