— December 8, 2017
We all waste time on occasion. However, there are likely some people in your business that waste other people’s time. These time-wasting people can be frustrating.
After all, do you really need to talk about their issue right this minute? And do you really need a meeting to go over every little thing?
Overall, some of these time-wasters might be productive and may even be valuable to your business. So it’s important to know how to handle them in a way that allows everyone to move on with the day and get even more done. Here are some suggestions for cutting down on the amount of time-wasting that goes on.
Know How to Delegate
Do you have people coming to you with unimportant tasks and matters they should be able to handle themselves?
That might be a sign that you haven’t been very good at delegating — or at least fostering a culture that encourages people to find their own solutions.
Do your best to empower your employees in trivial matters. Allow them to make decisions and do their jobs. Having a company culture that allows this can stop people from wasting your time with things they can handle on their own.
These time-wasting people aren’t doing it on purpose; they just aren’t sure what sort of authority they have. Learn how to effectively delegate, and you’ll have more time to work on the important big-picture items and everyone will get more done.
Set Times for Handling Questions and Issues
“This will just take two minutes.”
When was the last time that promise was ever fulfilled? When someone pops in with something that isn’t supposed to take any time at all, there’s a good chance that you’re about to be interrupted in your task for at least 15 or 20 minutes. That can through you off.
Instead, encourage your employees to come to you with these “short” issues at specific times. Maybe you can encourage them to come toward the end of the day, perhaps at 3:30 or 4:00. Making sure you have the ability to get done with your most important tasks earlier in the day, when you’re most effective, can lead to better outcomes.
Get your workers in the habit of knowing when you are most available for smaller questions and issues. Unless something is dire, you don’t want someone breaking in. Train your staff on what constitutes “dire” to avoid time-wasting people.
Rethink Your Meetings
Some people just like meetings. They aren’t time-wasting people in general, and they don’t feel like they are wasting time. But meetings can be a major time-suck. Before you agree to one more meeting, take a step back.
Do you really need to have the meeting? Could a quick call or email (handled when you are done with the most important tasks of the day) accomplish the same thing?
You can also set regular meeting times so that you don’t end up scrambling. Once a week, consider a meeting that can address housekeeping items, challenges, and other things. Have an agenda that your employees can add to beforehand, and stick to it. Encourage your different business units to do something similar for unit-specific items.
Hopefully, that will cut down on time spent in meetings and clear up time throughout the week for doing actual work.