Saturday, April 12, 2008

Developing Time Management Skills Can Improve Productivity

Copyright © Michael Laleye

One of the most common complaints shared by owners of businesses of any size is the lack of time. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done in a day and tomorrow starts with a negative time balance the minute they walk in the door in the morning. However, one of the things many business owners seem to forget is that they own their time and if it is wasted, it can be blamed on no one but themselves.

Owners with employees have the opportunity to share some of the workload but for one reason or another are reluctant to do so. The easiest to determine if they are getting the most out of their effort is to calculate how much their time is worth and then look at the work they are performing to decide if they are overpaying to get many of the tasks completed. For example, a business paying themselves $50,000 a year, if calculated at 40 hours per week, would be paying $25 an hour for their labor.

Everyone knows they will probably make less and work many more hours when they first start their business, but for the sake of round numbers, $25 an hour will be used. If you are the one putting all the files away, writing letters and making trips to the post office you are paying a premium wage for someone to do basic clerical duties. Besides, would not the talents of the business owner be better served looking for new business prospects and working on developing new angles for the business?

Of course, business owners that have no employees will simply be doing everything anyway, and making the compatible earnings for all the tasks they perform, but this is just an example of how business owners sometimes allow routine jobs to get in the way of aggressively seeking new income streams. Other ways a business owner, or a supervisor allows themselves to be sidetracked is by allowing other people to delegate up within the organization.

For example, a subordinate or employee walks in and complains they are having trouble finding information on a certain subject, some supervisors simply tell them they'll find it and let them know when they have it. Now, the task assigned to this person now becomes the responsibility of the supervisor, added to their already filled plate. Additionally, that employee, being dedicated to their job with an understanding of follow up returns later to ask how the search for the information is coming along.

What should have happened, is the business owner or supervised should have made a suggestion on where to look for the information instead of allowing that responsibility to fall onto their back. Suggest places to look and have them get back to them on their continued progress. Asking for guidance of the boss is one thing, manipulating employees can often eat chunks of the boss's time by delegating upwards in the chain, freeing them to do other things they may be more comfortable performing.

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