Some business owners save time while others kill time. Some lose time while some may have all the time in the world.
But none of them can slow down time or stop it from flowing. While business owners cannot influence the flow of time, they can optimize their time to get the most out of it.
This is easier said than done! Why?
Everyone has the same 24-hours to spend in a day, but still, some businesses are more successful than others. This is because some business owners are efficient at utilizing every minute of the day while others are not.
Running a business is an uphill battle. Between managing employees, chasing leads, administrative tasks, marketing, and myriad other activities, business owners have no time to spend on business-related activities.
Successful business owners are those who make each day as productive as the previous one. As time is both a scarce and valuable resource, business owners like you must learn the art of time management to optimize their business success.
In this article, we will show how you can master time management.
Let’s dive in!
5 Ways to Optimize Your Time in Your Business
As rightly said by William Penn, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” If these lines resonate with you and your business, you’re probably at the right place. Here are five ways to optimize your time in your business.
1. Build a knowledge base
Is your customer support team buried under the overwhelming amount of support tickets? Are your employees wasting too much time searching for relevant information?
According to research, a knowledge worker spends 2.5 hours per day or 30% of their workday searching for information. With 30% of the workday going in searching, your business needs to invest in solutions that reduce these bottlenecks.
The solution? A knowledge base software. It’s an online library of information about your products, services, and departments and contains information like FAQs, troubleshooting guides, and product tutorials, among other topics. This serves as a source for self-service for employees, including the customer service team. Your employees have to search for their questions in the knowledge base and immediately solve their problems.
The customer support representative can redirect customers to their knowledge base and reduce the number of tickets they handle. Furthermore, it allows your support team to handle complex queries instead of wasting time answering standard questions. Building a solid knowledge base helps optimize your time and proves fruitful in the long run.
Benefits of knowledge base software
- Keeps your customers happy
- Increases customer retention rates
- Reduces time spent on searching for information
- Decreases customer support phone calls and support tickets
- Provides access to helpful information in one place
2. Automate your business processes
Are you feeling bogged down because of never-ending emails, faxes, and phone calls from your customer or employees? Are you unable to keep track of your projects, payroll, finance, and marketing due to lack of time?
If so, you’re not the only one! Thousands of business owners experience workplace stress that comes with using outdated manual workflow systems. Manual systems are not only difficult to track but highly also time-consuming.
To ensure your workflows are consistent and predictable, you cannot shy away from automating business processes. The more processes and tasks you automate, the more time you will save. Automating processes like accounting, payroll, marketing, and social media activities helps save time that you can use for growing your business.
Implementing automation tools helps in simplifying repetitive tasks and ensuring your business never misses a deadline. For example, when you automate your bookkeeping process, you practically eliminate piles of paper receipts and invoices. When you invest in accounting software, it takes care of all your bookkeeping with a single click of a button. The software usually works in the background while you focus on your customers.
Benefits of automating business processes
- Reduces inefficiency and manual errors
- Saves and optimize time
- Enhances business workflow
- Removes scope of confusion
- Increases business and employee productivity
- Reduces cost of operation
3. Prioritize tasks based on urgency
Getting time free from your to-do list is a beautiful feeling, but it’s easier said than done. One way businesses can optimize their time is by ruthlessly prioritizing tasks. It means deciding and choosing between a list of tasks on your to-do list when everything seems crucial.
Businesses that focus on prioritization are the ones that are successful in changing the arc of their workday and make the most out of their time.
According to McKinsey, only 9% of employees are satisfied with their time allocation, and 52% spend time that matches their company’s priority. This makes prioritizing tasks even more critical. To taste success, businesses must prioritize tasks and push all distraction-causing activities to a time when employees are least productive.
Use the following proven methods to prioritize tasks for your business:
This method involves ranking all the pending tasks with letters A, B, C in order of importance. You can number all the subcategories of the tasks as 1, 2, and 3. Prioritization starts with finishing task A-1, followed by A-2 and A-3 before jumping on to B-1. Task A is your top priority in this method, task B is the secondary task, and task C is nice to complete but doesn’t result in any business consequences. Such tasks can be taking a coffee break or talking to a friend on the phone.
As business owners juggle between different activities, they must understand Paretothe’s principle to prioritize tasks and make the most out of their time. Pareto principle is known as the ’80/20 rule, which states that 20% of an employee’s effort produces 80% of the result.
Therefore, use the Pareto analysis to identify tasks that contribute to 20% and prioritize them over tasks that contribute to 80% in a business.
Benefits of prioritizing tasks
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases productivity and efficiency
- Ensure you work smarter instead of longer
- Give time to focus on more important work
4. Outsource extremely time-consuming tasks
In a business, specific tasks may result in potential business delays and problems. Tasks like filing taxes may be one such task, especially if you have multiple business segments. While outsourcing tasks is a little challenging initially, once you outsource time-consuming activities, your business can optimize time, and employees can use it for other productive activities.
Specialized outsourcing companies have all tools and techniques required to meet such demands specifically.
Benefits of outsourcing business processes
- Cheaper than growing a team internally
- Easy to manage projects
- Access to a global talent pool
- Give time to focus on business’s core competencies
- Improves flexibility and efficiency by delegating complex processes
5. Limit your distractions
Staying focused on your work is a large part of staying productive at the workplace. To ensure maximum productivity, you need to avoid things that distract you unnecessarily. This may include keeping unnecessary meetings, using social media apps at the workplace, replying to emails, or any other potential distraction that shifts your focus away from work.
According to research, it takes an employee an average of 25 minutes to get back on track after facing interruptions like meetings and responding to emails. It makes sense to isolate yourself, switch off your phone, and uninstall social media apps.
If possible, create a mobile usage policy and limit regular meetings to less than half an hour. If you conduct daily update meetings, try using asynchronous or standup meetings to save your employees time.
The more you limit distractions for yourself and your employees, the better you will be at achieving your business goal.
Benefits of limiting distractions at your workplace
- Results in longer attention span
- Improves memory
- Decreases stress and anxiety
- Builds stronger workplace relationship
- Increases productivity and efficiency
- Give you more time to complete other tasks
Not every day will be 100% productive, don’t stress yourself over it. Instead, focus your energy on implementing these five ways to optimize time in your business. When you religiously follow even one of these suggestions, you’re likely to save one or two hours more each day.
Apart from the suggestion mentioned above, you can create a weekly schedule or calendar for your business, set hard deadlines, limit meetings, use time management software,and allocate critical work during your employees’ most productive hours. When taken in the right direction, even these small steps can help save and optimize your time.
Effectively managing your time has a positive impact on your business. You learn to get important things done first, make better business decisions and gain control over your priorities.
Time is the infinite source, and it takes time to make more time.
Which time management technique are you using to optimize your time in your business?
Do tell us in the comments section!