The vast majority of small business owners will readily admit that they need far more hours in the day to manage the full range of work flow that is required to keep their businesses up and running. If you feel there is no way to catch up and manage your productivity, then you may need to look at your day-to-day activities to see if you can eliminate the time wasters that lurk in everyone’s schedule.
As any business owner will quickly point out, remaining on task is a difficult prospect in an office environment that is not organized. Anyone who has ever sat at their desk filtering through the debris of paperwork in search of a very specific document knows that randomly searching through paperwork is a waste of valuable time. More importantly, without an identifiable organizational system to manage your workflow, there is a fair chance that the document you are desperately searching for is not even in the pile in front of you. Every single piece of paper that you rifle through in search of your elusive quarry is a drain on your time and energy.
Happily, of the many time-wasters that impact business productivity, maintaining a clean, efficient work station is easily accomplished. The primary impulse that needs to be mastered in the notion that taking the time to clean up that mess will take too much time and thus negatively impact productivity. Actually, scheduling a cleaning session will pay off with dramatic results moving forward. The notion of “a place for everything, and everything in its place” should be the guiding principle of office organization. Once implemented, the fifteen minutes that went towards searching for an item can now be used more productively analyzing the document and moving on.
What’s the point of owning a calculator when you still do the majority of your adding and subtracting on your fingers? Failing to harness available technology has the potential to stymie business productivity in a host of ways, and understanding how available technologies can help streamline your process will dramatically increase business productivity.
Typically speaking, harnessing the power of technology to help streamline your business processes is one of the best ways to garner the time you need to move your business model forward. Whether that technology points to cloud-based document storage methods, or simply maximizing the labor saving devices of programs that you are already utilizing on a daily basis, it's vital to understand how available technology can lead to time saving measures. For instance, if you spend ten hours a week working in your accounting program, perhaps it’s time to utilize invoicing software to automate frequently recurring expenses like salaries, mortgage, electricity, office supplies and more.
It sounded like a good idea when you first developed it as a way of encouraging employee interaction and morale. Unfortunately, the open door policy you inaugurated has taken a serious toll on your ability to concentrate and your resultant productivity is in the basement. With unfettered access to your complete attention, the open door policy is proving counterproductive when it comes to getting things done.
Dialing back on your open door policy is the first step to reclaiming your schedule. You need not completely scrap the open door policy, but you can stake out a time period when the door is closed. Whether you work best in the morning, or the afternoon hours are your best time for reflection, give yourself the time you need to get the work you need done without interruptions.
Keith is a small business consultant and father of five from New York.
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