No one is more aware of the adage ‘Time is Money’ than a Small Business Venture. With limited resources and a high tasks to people ratio, you want everyone to maximise their productivity and make sure they are making the best use of their time.
To achieve this, it is important to recognise that time management is a habit, not a singular one time task. However, there are tools and practices that can help you in this process.
The first step to managing time effectively and increasing productivity is to list down all the tasks that need to be done in a daily/weekly/monthly format; that’s right – the humble To-Do list. This can be simply written down in your daily planner, a note-pad diary on your computer or in one of the numerous apps available on the internet for your computer or phone.
Encourage this practice amongst everyone as it will give people a ready-reckoner of all the things they need to accomplish and enable them to prioritize work according to its importance and urgency.
Time Tracker & Schedulers
Once one is clear on the tasks to be completed, one can decide how much time is to be spent on every activity. Clear allocation of time and scheduling for particular tasks can help minimize time lost due to procrastination or wasted on unimportant activities.
Programs are also available to provide external control and limit the time you spend on activities that do not form a core content of your work. You can define what are productive activities and what are distractions and these programs will remind, restrict or redirect you accordingly.
Ex: Toggl, SelfControl, Freedom, Time Allocator
Establishing clear and quick flow of communication between employees can play a critical role in increasing your productivity. Time lags in providing information or giving feedback can create bottlenecks in the work flow and negatively impact efficiency.
Emails can now be augmented with instant messaging, group messaging, video chats etc to keep up with the challenges of a fast paced work environment.
Ex: Hipchat, Campfire
Project Management Systems
Project management tools help businesses keep track of all aspects of a project in one place. From ideas to task lists to time lines to budgets, every piece of information regarding the project is available at your fingertips. The entire team can keep updated with completed activities, upcoming requirements, concern areas, meeting schedules etc. Such programs encourage collaboration and real time communication and can have a direct impact on your productivity.
Ex: Basecamp, Active Collab, Nutcache
One very important and underappreciated tool for time management is delegation of responsibilities. Delegation helps free up time of the right resource person for the right job, instead of their expertise being wasted in tasks that can be handled by someone else.
If you do not delegate work, you can end up being too caught up in minor tasks with no time for the important things that require your focus. Encouraging delegation amongst all employees will also foster people development and generate further resources for your business.
Effective Time Management is not rocket science, but it requires commitment and consistency. Add a few apps that can help in streamlining efforts and you will surely see results.