We work with a lot of companies who are entrepreneurs with incredibly successful online marketing programs. As we continue to delve into the nitty gritty components of what makes a business tick, we have found that there are 5 major time wasters that every office seems to be affected by.
#1 – The Email
Hands down, this is the biggest waste of time and resources within any office. Across the board, it is easy to get sucked into an email rut, checking the inbox excessively to look for new projects. After all, the email is where the work comes in, right?
Unfortunately, email inboxes were designed to work as a digital mailbox, not a solution for task management and organization. Just as you would never stuff your important paperwork and “to-do” lists in your mailbox at home, it is a good idea to move any task-related emails into another hub – then file the email away for future reference. In doing so,
Setting a limit on the amount of time set aside for in-house emails is a great way to raise awareness on productivity and time management techniques. Challenge your employees to spend 20 minutes or less in the email inbox on a daily basis.
#2 – Task Organization
Speaking of task organization, does your office have a task management strategy in place to differentiate time-sensitive tasks from ongoing projects? A lack of adequate task management techniques contributes to a host of other problems, including email misuse, sloppy meetings, and dissatisfied customers.
There are so many different organization apps that are designed on the same basic principle: to provide a portable, time-stamped list that syncs across devices.
Here are the top three (free!) task organization apps (available in both desktop and mobile app versions) that I really enjoy using:
Asana – this program is both streamlined and complex, enabling you to create projects (and the subtasks/action steps within each project), assign individual tasks to different team members, and maintain a record of what has been accomplished on any given project.
Evernote – this app can be used in lieu of a notebook for those who are looking for a quick way to store ideas and upcoming projects electronically. A unique collaboration capability lets you share ideas with team members who can then give feedback.
Any.do – very similar to asana, this app enables you to add team members to projects, date stamp tasks and objectives, and keep an ongoing list of what needs to be done throughout your workday.
#3 – Communication & Scheduling
The task organization apps mentioned above may help with communication barriers between staff members and with your clients. However, communication and scheduling difficulties continue to frustrate offices all over the world.
Utilizing an online calendar like the one designed by Google gives you the ability to quickly see what other coworkers are up to, schedule meetings, and send out notifications.
Other communication problems may be solved by strategic planning meetings…
#4 – Meetings
Meetings are called to order for the purpose of arriving at a collaborative solution in a concise time frame…but how many of us truly experience them that way?
All too often, meetings are synonymous with a waste of time.
Don’t let this be the case with your office! Take time to prepare a list of topics and objectives to bring to the table before the meeting begins. Always assign the task of moderator to a team member who isn’t afraid to steer the conversation and keep everything running on track.
Meetings, when run properly and limited to a reasonable time, can be extremely beneficial for your company.
#5 – Lack of Direction
So many great projects are ruined because of a simple lack of direction. Office workers place projects “on hold” for no other reason than because they aren’t sure what the next step is…and have no idea who to ask.
Setting in place a hierarchical management system within your office, however small or large, gives you the ability to increase the rate of project completion and success. Each worker should have a manager to report to or ask questions of. Likewise, each project should have a manager to whom every collaborator reports and sends updates. By establishing a chain of direct management within your office, you empower your employees to never lack the resources they need to succeed.
Best Business Practices Start at the Top
The business office is only as good as the boss who runs the operation. Take time to refocus your efforts on creating an office environment that is destined for greatness.
Looking for ways to build trust with your clients? Check out our latest free resource!