10 Creative Ways to Save Time

10 Creative Ways to Save Time

Time is the most precious commodity we have, mostly because we have so little of it. Even the wealthiest of people can’t buy more time, and we can’t replace time that has been lost. This makes it important to make as much of your time as possible because wasted time is time that you will never get back again. 

The chances are that all of us are wasting time in some ways, even if we don’t realize it. Take watching TV shows, for example. Now, watching a TV show is not necessarily a waste of time per se – we all need our downtime. But how much time have you spent watching intros that you’ve already seen numerous times before? Last week, Netflix revealed that in the 5 years since introduction, the Skip Intro button had cumulatively saved it’s users a 195 years! 

Here, we look at ten creative ways to help you avoid wasting your precious time. 

1. Time Tracking

Many of us will be wasting time without even realizing it or not realizing how much we are spending on unproductive tasks. However, investing in time tracking software like the PK4 TimeTracker can help you recognize where your time is being spent. Using time tracking tools makes it easier to know how to make adjustments to your day so you become more productive in project management.

2. Avoid Multitasking

Many people believe doing more than one thing at once is a great way to get more done to save time. However, quite the opposite is usually true. Indeed, studies have shown that we can lose up to 40% of our productivity if we try multitasking. Instead, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time, moving on to the next task as soon as the previous task is done.

3. Make the Most of Waiting Time

We all need to wait sometimes. Whether it’s in a waiting room for an interview or on a train on the way to work, there are moments when we are essentially doing nothing productive. However, you can even use these moments to get something done. Some tasks can be completed with a laptop or even a smartphone, leaving you free for other tasks later on. 

4. Delegate

Many tasks are time-consuming and unproductive, but they still need to be done. If you have such tasks on your itinerary, you could consider delegating accountability to somebody else. Delegating unproductive tasks will give you more time to focus on what matter most, boosting your productivity overall and making for good project management.

5. Avoid Pointless Meetings

A common issue that affects team management is calling meetings for no good reason. For example, some will want to call meetings to distribute work management reports that could otherwise be shared and discussed by email. If you are called to a meeting that you feel isn’t necessary, politely decline if you can. It’s important to be tactful because refusing to go to too many meetings could give the wrong impression, but it’s something to consider when you’re busy.

6. Learn To Say NO

Learning to say no is one of the most important skills to master when it comes to time management. Too many people will gladly disturb you when you’re already doing something, hindering your performance in the process. When it comes to team management, it’s important to draw lines and say no when people are disrupting your working day. It’s OK to allocate some time in the day to other people, but they need to know to leave you alone when you’re working. This includes friends and family as well as colleagues and employees. 

7. Plan Your Day

Planning your day ahead will help give your performance a boost. You will be able to see what needs to be done and when, making it easy to identify potential issues before you get started. Making to-do-lists will help you plan your day, while you can also use online calendars with staff and colleagues so they know what you have planned. 

8. Prioritize Your Tasks

A key tip to effective product management is to focus on your most important and most productive work priorities, and tools like the timeboxing technique will help you achieve this. Make sure to do the most important and most productive first, leaving the rest for last. Even better, delegate the least important tasks to give you more time to focus on important things, including essential downtime.

9. Automate

Many menial tasks will take a long time, but one of the advantages of menial tasks is that you can automate many of them. Some tasks like processing emails and replying with messages can be automated, potentially reducing wasted time and boosting your productivity. Another advantage of using automation tools is that they give you access to feedback data, which can empower you to make impactful decisions.

10. Look After Yourself

Taking accountability for your well-being is one of the most important time management skills you could learn. Eat well, sleep well, get a reasonable amount of exercise and give yourself time to relax. When you look after yourself, you are better prepared to handle whatever comes at you, making you more efficient. You will get through tasks quickly and accurately, helping to save time overall.

Summary

This is just a small selection of creative ways you can save time. In many cases, we aren’t even aware of how much time we are wasting, and time tracker tools can help highlight areas for improvement. Planning your day and avoiding unnecessary tasks and meetings can also help, while automation tools are also beneficial. But, perhaps most importantly of all, make sure to look after yourself so you’re firing on all cylinders. 

If you have other effective ways to save time, do share it with us in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

 

5 Tips to Stay Focused at Work During a Personal Crisis

5 Tips to Stay Focused at Work During a Personal Crisis

 A personal crisis could strike any person at any time, and it doesn’t matter how stable or happy your life might otherwise be – the effects can be devastating. A personal crisis will be on your mind almost constantly, no matter how much you might want a break from it. You are also likely to take the problem to work with you no matter how hard you try to put on a brave face.

No matter how hard you might try to get your work done, it can be all but impossible to prevent other thoughts from creeping in and harming your productivity. Your performance at work can begin to suffer as you lose focus, potentially causing harm to your professional life. It’s a fairly common issue, and around 47% of employees say their performance at work is sometimes affected by their personal commitments.

If your professional life also takes a hit, then things will only get worse for you, making it essential for you to remain focused at work as much as possible. You can take steps to help you maintain your productivity at work as much as possible. 

Create a Schedule

 If you’re working without a specific goal in mind, it can be easy for your thoughts to distract you. Creating a schedule will help you keep focused on your work, helping you to work towards a goal rather than just working through the motions. 

To help keep your productivity on target, consider using time tracking software like the one from PK4 Tech to monitor your time. Time tracking software will help make it easier to tell when you are being productive and help you avoid wasting time. Knowing that you’re monitoring yourself can also help you focus on your work. 

Speak With Other People

Anybody going through a personal crisis should speak with other people. Meet up with somebody close to you and explain the situation and how it affects you. Also, listen for their feedback and advice and be prepared to hear some things you may not like.

However, this doesn’t mean you should speak with everybody about your problems. When at work, it’s best to limit what you say to other people. For one thing, telling colleagues about your situation keeps your head in the issue instead of giving you a chance to focus on something else.

Treat Going to Work as an Escape

When things are difficult in your personal life, going to work can be the ideal escape. Even the journey to and from work can help give your mind a break from what is upsetting you, and your mind will become even more occupied when you have a job to do.

There is also a social aspect to working with other people, making your job a convenient getaway. You can get involved with discussions not related to your personal commitments, whether they’re work-related or not. It can also be great to arrange a social outing with work colleagues although you should be careful not to overdo it, especially if you must work the following day.

Don’t Push Yourself Hard

You’re only human, so don’t put too much work pressure on yourself if you struggle sometimes. Instead, give yourself some space occasionally and don’t be hard on yourself if your productivity does take a hit.

It may take you a bit longer than usual to perform tasks, and things won’t improve for you overnight. However, beating yourself up about it won’t improve the situation and can make matters worse. Things will likely improve after a while, but you just have to let them through your system naturally. 

Limit Personal Contact

With a personal crisis going on, some people will likely want to call you regularly to get updates. Instead, it’s a good idea to set some limits and let people know that you’re at work and need to focus on your job.

Having people call you regularly to talk about your problem will cause you to keep thinking about it and perhaps even remind you about it when your mind has taken a break for a while. Unfortunately, it will also distract you from your work, potentially upsetting management and colleagues and increasing work pressure.

Try to limit calls to urgent matters only and, if needed, limit who has access to your number. You might need to turn your mobile phone off if the calls you’re receiving is harming your productivity.

Summary

Although most people will recover in time, there is no way to take away the pain and anguish of a personal crisis. In the meantime, it is essential to look after yourself, including looking after your professional prospects.

When going through a personal crisis, it’s important to focus on your work so your job is not adversely affected to the point where work pressure also becomes difficult to cope with. But, on the other hand, you will also need to acknowledge that you’re going through a difficult time and that you should not expect yourself to be firing on all cylinders.

Give yourself breathing space and time, use time tracking software, create a schedule, and set limitations on disturbances to help keep you focused. By focusing on your work, you’re helping to ensure you’re still in great condition when your crisis finally subsides.

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

See Your Productivity Soar with the Eisenhower Matrix

See Your Productivity Soar with the Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower matrix is named after the USA’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not only was Eisenhower a president, but he was also a five-star general, Supreme Commander of Allied forces in WWII, and he even created NASA. He was a busy guy who got a lot done in his life, so he knew a thing or two about work productivity.

Eisenhower had the incredible ability to sustain his productivity not just for weeks or months, but for decades on end. So it’s no surprise that his methods for task management, time management and productivity have been studied and copied by scores of people.

During WWII, the then general was quite busy with many tasks on his plate. After all, work management when commanding the forces of several nations during a fierce war will be a demanding job. So, to help him improve his work management, he devised the system now known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The Mere-Urgency Effect

The mere-urgency effect is a common phenomenon. The phenomenon is that people tend to prioritize urgent tasks rather than how important they are. So, for example, you might prioritize a Zoom call over more serious matters for no other reason than the appointment is quickly approaching. The result is that the less important tasks become neglected, thus impacting your work productivity.

The Eisenhower Matrix is also based on the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle says that 20% of input can achieve 80% of output if you practice efficient task management. However, most people and businesses tend to spend 80% of their input to achieve just 20% of their output. The Eisenhower Matrix helps overcome this by prioritizing the tasks that help you get the most important tasks done first.

How The Eisenhower Matrix Works

The Eisenhower Matrix works by diving tasks into four categories.

⦁ Urgent and important

Tasks that fall into this category are prioritized to be done before anything else.

 ⦁ Not urgent but important

 You should schedule these tasks for before the deadline approaches, but after urgent and important categories.

  ⦁ Urgent but not important

 Tasks that fall into this category should be delegated to somebody else. 

 ⦁ Not urgent and not important

In most cases, these tasks should be deleted. They will only take valuable time and give little to nothing back in return. 

One of the great things about the Eisenhower Matrix is that it can be used for broad productivity plans (“What should I accomplish this month?”) and for smaller, daily plans (“What should I do today?”).

One of the key advantages of the Eisenhower Matrix is that it helps you to stop wasting time on unproductive tasks, leaving you with more time to focus on more productive tasks instead. Such tasks tend to be menial and time-consuming, making for poor time management.

Another advantage of the Eisenhower Matrix is that it helps you visualize which of your tasks is more important and encourages you to work out how important each task is. For example, if you need to know where to place a particular account, you may be encouraged to work out how much you are profiting from that account. If the account is not earning you enough money, it can be delegated to somebody in a junior position or closed altogether.

The monetary value of a particular task is not the only thing to consider – time tends to be a far more valuable commodity. However, tracking time spent on tasks can be time-consuming, which would make it counter-productive considering we’re trying to improve your time management. One solution is to use time tracking software like the PK4 TimeTracker that will help track your time automatically. Not only will the software make it easy for you to track how long you spend working on particular tasks, but it also gives you comprehensive reports that tell you exactly what you are spending your time on. 

Easy to Use

The Eisenhower Matrix is also very easy to use. All you need is paper, a pen, a ruler, and your to-do list. Alternatively, you can find an app that will help you to create a matrix electronically.

Using pen and paper, start by drawing a box and splitting it into four separate sections. Then, label the two columns with ‘Urgent’ for the left column and ‘Not Urgent’ for the right column. Next, label the two rows with ‘Important’ on the top row and ‘Not Important’ below.

The top left-hand box should be titled ‘Do’, with ‘Decide’ in the top right-hand box. Give the bottom left-hand box the title ‘Delegate’ and the bottom right-hand box ‘Delete’.

All you need to do now is place your tasks in the appropriate box, and you have an efficient task management structure in place. 

Try the Eisenhower Matrix for yourself

Dwight Eisenhower once said “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.

The Eisenhower Matrix  helps you view both your long-term goals and your to-do lists through this prism. This will help you prioritize your days, weeks and even your longer timeframes more strategically and effectively. So if you have a growing list of goals and tasks, drawing an Eisenhower Matrix is a great place to start. Try it as you start the New Year and see if you get a better handle on things.

 

How To Stop Employee Time Theft

How To Stop Employee Time Theft

Most employers would probably like to think that they can trust their employees and employees will be honest for the most part. However, we can never be entirely sure that the people working for us won’t take advantage if given the opportunity. Indeed, a study showed that 43% of employees who have filled in timesheets had exaggerated the length of time they worked. Studies have also shown that around $400 billion is lost every year in lost productivity in the United States, further highlighting the need to address the problem.

Employee time theft comes in several types, and not all of them are necessarily deliberate. Some of the most common include: 

  • Charging for time spent on personal tasks
  • Buddy punching is a practice that involves an employee’s co-worker punching in for them despite the employee not being at work. Buddy punching alone is thought to cost approximately $373 million alone every year
  • Employees deliberately adding extra time to their worksheets
  • Employees not clocking out for breaks
  • Field employees claiming to have been working but performing other tasks, or even staying at home instead
  • Accidentally overestimating time worked.

Time theft is a real problem for many companies, especially in times of uncertainty. However, one of the most significant difficulties companies face regarding employee theft is that it’s challenging to detect. Managers cannot monitor all employees at all times, especially where field workers are concerned, and honest errors can be particularly difficult to identify. However, you can take some steps to overcome the issue.

Establish Clear Policies

One way you can help overcome some of the issues is to put a deterrent in place. Your managers can let employees know that they’re aware of problems like buddy punching and that employees will be reprimanded if caught doing so. The act of bringing up the topic alone can avoid complacency among employees and deter them from punching in for friends. Make sure to be polite and respectful when reminding your employees about your policies, but also make sure that you’re firm. Acting on indiscretions will help to send the message that you will not tolerate time theft.  

Educate Management

Quite often, the signs of time theft are right in front of us, but we won’t spot them if we don’t know what we’re looking for. For example, what might appear to be a case of an employee working later than others could easily mean that they’re not being honest about their time sheet. After all, it’s a lot easier to be dishonest on your time sheets when there’s nobody around because they’ve already gone home for the day.

Educate Employees

In many cases, time theft might be down to misunderstandings that you can easily clear up with simple communication. You should also make it clear to employees when it’s reasonable for them to record to add time and when it isn’t. You can also educate your employees on the potential harm that time theft can cause businesses, potentially even placing their jobs and their colleagues’ jobs at risk.

Use Time Tracking Software

Software like the PK4 TimeTracker will help to ensure that time is tracked accurately and fairly. For example, the buddy punching system won’t work with time tracking software because employees have to be logged into their computers or on their own mobile devices to track time. The system also helps prevent forms from being filled in erroneously, while it also helps management see which tasks their employees have been working on.

Time tracking software will also help ensure time is recorded accurately for field workers. The time tracking app can record an employee’s location through GPS, so you know they were in the right place. The software is also easy for employees and managers to use, while reviewing and approving timesheets is also made simple, further helping to ensure accurately recorded time. 

Overall, time tracker software will help to empower teams to work better and be more productive. Time sheets will more accurately reflect work that has been done while also giving management access to helpful information such as how much time employees spent on particular tasks. Such information will help management see if time is being spent effectively, helping them make their teams more productive while also helping to reduce frustrations.

 

 

6 Reasons Why Time Tracking Is Important For Your Business

6 Reasons Why Time Tracking Is Important For Your Business

Let’s face it – time tracking isn’t easy. It doesn’t come naturally for most people, and you may be afraid that your employees won’t be open to the idea. But even if it looks tedious at first, it’s a habit that, once enforced, will bring tremendous benefits for your business.

Time tracking is more than just checking on individual employees – it creates a complex picture of how your projects are doing, and it even helps you determine whether you’re charging what your business is worth.

Here are 6 reasons why adopting time tracking is important in most lines of work:

1. Time tracking helps spot productivity issues.

Tracking your employees’ time is the best way to track their behavior and spot potential problems. With the help of a simple product like the  Time Tracker, you can identify who’s late, who’s going on breaks more than they should, or taking too many sick days.

Going into the specifics, you can easily check how much time your employees spend on their assigned tasks and make sure that they’re actually doing something productive.

Which leads us to our next point: measuring time is just the first step – it’s how your employees spend that time that matters.

2. Time tracking helps management find employees who are open to new tasks.

So your employees have come into the office, they’ve punched their virtual cards – but are they really there to do the work? It’s easy to waste time and hide behind easy tasks instead of tackling challenging projects.

This is where your task management skills come in. It’s your job to discover those employees with light workloads, and time tracking software will allow you to see what your workers are doing. With one glance, you can get an idea of who is working on essential tasks and who isn’t and reprioritize to fit your new goals.

3. Time tracking ensures fair payroll.

When handling payroll, you have to be careful about many things: overtime, paid leave, paid or unpaid breaks, etc. Nobody likes to be exploited, and without time tracking in place, it’s nearly impossible to pay your employees fairly: either them or your business will suffer.

Time tracking software takes a lot of the guesswork out of payroll and streamlines many management and HR processes.

4. With time tracking in place, you can bill clients accurately.

Is your business strategy based on “guesstimations”? When charging their clients, many business owners scratch their heads and estimate a value that would be good for the company and satisfactory for the client.

But is this number based on actual data?

With time tracking, you’ll have a detailed record of your work. Based on this record, you can accurately bill your client with an invoice that reflects your efforts. Should any arguments arise, you can show your client the actual work that went into the project.

5. Time tracking helps you make better estimates for future projects.

Estimating how much time and effort should go into specific projects is a tricky business. Even if you have solid work experience, you might still end up overloading your team with extra work and exceeding the costs and hours assigned for a project.

Clients change their minds, and unexpected problems derail projects all the time. However, you can still significantly improve your project estimates and learn from your mistakes by tracking the time spent on specific tasks and projects and making adjustments for future similar work.

6. Time tracking will enable you to quote fair prices.

Once you go through all the steps above and analyze your company’s budget and expenses, you may realize that you’re charging far too little for your company’s products or services.

That may sting at first – but it’s for the best. Your employees’ time is costing you, so why not have better rates that reflect your company’s efforts? With time tracking, you’ll find that charging more is evidence-based, rather than just covering black holes intuitively.

More profit and happy employees? Yes, please.

Conclusion 

At the end of the day, time tracking is all about creating new opportunities. When areas that need improvement are staring you right in the face, it’s easy to take steps for better productivity.

Enabling your employees to log their time may need some troubleshooting at first, but rest assured that you can always make the necessary adjustments inside our Time Tracker for when workers forget to log in or enter the wrong data. So embrace the process, and watch how time tracking transforms your business.