How Inefficient Time Management is Robbing Your Bottom Line

In a world of multitasking, most business owners don’t realize that the average person loses 28 percent of their time due to interruption. Just think what this waste from both their own process and their employees’ practices is doing to their bottom line! Fortunately, there are easy ways to fix this problem.

The main issue to tackle is the incorrect assumption most people (and business owners) have about multi-tasking. Multi-tasking has gotten such a positive reputation that it is regularly a qualification that is requested on job postings and a skill that is listed on resumes.

If one tip stands out after reading this article, make sure it is this one: multi-tasking is damaging your bottom line. According to Basex Research, interruptions create a cost of $588 billion in the U.S. in lost productivity.

The type of interruption we want to focus on is called “active.” These are the sorts of interruptions that are initiated by the person interrupted. This means that the person working on a task chooses to interrupt himself before completing it. What does that translate to? Multi-tasking: talking on the phone and then switching to check e-mail, checking a text on a cell phone while in the midst of writing a document, answering the phone in mid-conversation with someone in the office.

All of these things create sinkholes for time, as the average amount of time it takes to get back in the flow of a task once interrupted is a staggering 15 minutes.

So, what is the solution to this problem?

Here are the Top Three Tips to Take Your Time Back:
Do one thing at a time. Learning the discipline to focus on one task, start to finish, or to break larger tasks into segments that can be completed the same way, will allow for far more to be completed with less stress and higher quality output in a shorter about of time.

Do related things in chunks of scheduled time. Capitalize on your own, and your employees’, ability to do similar things well in a chunk of time: schedule all your phone calls for certain times of the day instead of jumping on and off the phone; have employees do filing all at once, keeping things to be filed in a tray until that time arrives. Efficiency goes up when people are able to get into the flow of a task, as was first shown by the incredible efficiency that Henry Ford was able to create with the assembly line.

Use an inbox. Having a simple wire legal-sized inbox by your desk, and your employees’ desks, can be a huge step towards new levels of efficiency. Get into the habit of jotting a short note on a task or call you remember when in the middle of other work and put it in your inbox instead of changing direction. Have employees leave you, or each other, notes in their inboxes instead of interrupting each other for “quick questions” while working. Then, take an hour a day to go through your inbox and attend to scheduling each item you’ve thought of on the calendar (if it’s urgent or will take more than 15 minutes) or put it on a task list (if it’s under 15 minutes and not time-sensitive).

These tips will put time back on your clock and make sure you get the maximum value out of each day and each hour you pay others to work for you and your company.

There is no limit to what can be accomplished with wise use of time and a powerful passionate vision. Use these tips to ensure you are moving forward with both!

Caroline Donahue is the founder and CEO of Remabulous Coaching. As a business and certified productivity coach, Caroline’s work focuses on helping business owners reclaim their relationship to time, while making room to create bigger vision and success for their companies. She works both by telephone and in-person in the Los Angeles area. To contact her, e-mail [email protected].

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Richard Blanchard
Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.