The competitive nature of the business world today means professionals can’t afford to waste time. Every ineffective minute is a minute that could have been put towards growing their businesses. Over time, that lack of productivity adds up, causing companies to lag behind the competition.
The first step toward eliminating those inefficiencies is to identify them. Here are several time wasters that are common across many organizations.
1. Social Media
Businesses understand that to provide the best customer service, they need to monitor their social media accounts. This allows them to immediately catch any customer complaints and respond immediately. However, watching social media around the clock can be extremely distracting. Invest in small business software that automates as much as possible, including social media mentions. Make sure the tool you choose allows you to assign customer complaints to one of your skilled customer service representatives, who will then have accountability for following up.
You may not realize just how much time you waste each day reading, responding to, and forwarding emails. Take time to educate your team on efficient email practices, including cc’ing only those employees who truly need to know about an issue. Tools like instant messengers and collaboration software let teams communicate more efficiently. Instead of forwarding emails from one person to another, everyone can meet in one place. Team members can also see when someone’s online and initiate a chat instantly, which serves as a big help for businesses with employees working outside of the office.
3. Tech Problems
Technology is supposed to make your life easier, so it can be frustrating when you have to spend time troubleshooting issues. Be aware of the most common issues facing your specific device types and have someone you can contact if you need urgent assistance. Even if you’re a one-person operation, make sure you have a backup option for your laptop and smartphone in case you should find that you have to turn it over to a technician for a few days. Your business can’t shut down every time your hard drive dies or somehow becomes infected with malware.
Meetings top the list of time wasters in business today. This is another area where collaboration tools can be a much more effective alternative. Even if your meetings are conducted by telephone or video conference, you’re asking employees to take time out of a busy day to dial in. If meetings are a must, streamline as much as possible by creating an agenda and making a conscious effort to avoid straying from it throughout the meeting. Do what you can to keep meetings short, including only those employees who need the information you’re relaying.
Drama is an unavoidable part of dealing with people, whether it’s a client making a scene or two employees battling over personal issues. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple tool you can purchase to easily manage drama, but you can equip yourself with the knowledge you need to confront these issues when they arise. There are steps you can take to prevent drama, but there’s no guarantee that anything you do will stop it completely. When you see a problem occurring, pull each involved party aside separately and get as much information as possible. Let all involved people know that while you care about their concerns, the work has to come first. Try to come to a resolution or, if that isn’t possible, conduct disciplinary action against any employees who have gone against company policy.
Once you’re aware of the things you do each day that waste time, you can take steps to become more productive. Be honest with yourself as you identify time wasters and you’ll likely find that you’re getting more done each day, which will accelerate your business’s growth.