It always amazes me how smart people can often be less than stellar in using their time well.
Studies done by Gallup have indicated that there are so many distractions in the workplace today that approximately three-quarters of what you pay a team member is wasted.
Not because they deliberately set out to do that, but the workplace sabotages them and their time.
In a meeting recently with a clients team, we highlighted some of the more effective wastes of time. These are in no particular order but tend to make you busy rather than productive...
Any of these ring a bell?
Before I tell you how these can be fixed and potentially save you hundreds of thousands in lost productivity, I will share some insight into what people actually want from their workplace.
A client of mine operates in workspaces and takes great care to ensure that the workspace offers a variety in the types of spaces it creates.
People can work very differently and the choices they are able to make as to where and how they work can be tremendously empowering for them.
Recently this client introduced flexible working.
A key to making this work is to ensure that everyone knows what the weekly outcomes need to be and all commit to getting it done. That way it's results-based rather than working for time.
Anyway, here are some tips to eradicate some of these business blights forever..
1. Meetings. We have all been there. Meetings that become one or two peoples forum who make a lot of noise and nothing gets accomplished. The solution is to have a 90-minute meeting where the point is to identify issues following an agenda that's the same each week. Some of that agenda may require the participants to complete certain information prior to the meeting to keep the meeting on pace. Get someone to time the sections of the agenda and ensure that everyone has a say. Then at the end of the meeting make sure that whatever issues have been smoked out, there is ownership on who is going to take the necessary action in the next 7 days. Finally, score the meeting on a scale of 1 to 10 for fun and productivity. Just doing this alone can be very useful. Having great meetings is a skill that needs to be developed. One good meeting every week should mean that you get a lot fewer interruptions during the week.
2. Email. Do yourself a favour and remove all notifications. On your phone too! There are reasons that people get addicted to email and it goes back millions of years but I won't get into that here. Try and block out times of the day where you attend to emails. That way you own the process rather than the process owning you. Also, consider adopting a 1,2 3 method. In the subject line of the email, if it requires a very quick response start the subject with a 1. If it's within 24 hours use a 2. If it's over the next day or two give it a 3. There are variations on this of course, but the idea is that you are able to quickly identify what needs your attention you open up your email client at the allotted time. Saves a lot of wasted time and effort this one.
3. Other people. Time vampires are everywhere! One way that you can rid yourself of interruptions is to inform everyone what your diary looks like that week and what your key accountabilities are. People only interrupt you because that's how you have trained them. You can always retrain them to be more respectful of your and their time.
4. Working inefficiently. With apps like Monday.com and Trello to name a couple, there are so many ways to streamline your working practices. With a bit of training and research, I am sure that you will find one that suits your environment. This is one of the greatest areas of productivity gain when it's used right.
Give one or some of them a go if you find that the weeks controlling you rather than the other way around.
We all get days where time runs away with us.
Just don't allow those days to turn into weeks or even years.
By the way, a wonderful by-product of this is that your team will achieve more and that goes straight to the bottom line!