Employees are wasting time to the tune of $100 billion per year, and many small businesses are suffering because of this!
That’s one of the lessons to be learned from the Harvard Business School (HBS), which said that idle time is costing American employers big bucks.
In their paper, The Downside of Downtime: The Prevalence and Work Pacing Consequences of Idle Time at Work, Teresa Amabile of HBS and Andrew Brodsky of the University of Texas at Austin said the problem is prevalent in many offices and can be as bad as stress from overwork.
The growing problem of idle time
The authors revealed that idle time affects 78% of employees and was experienced by 1,003 people surveyed across 29 occupations, including lawyers, managers, agricultural workers, and soldiers. Among its many causes are poor time management, equipment malfunction, or overstaffing.
Regardless of the reason, wasted time is bad news that hurts both the company and its employees since it hampers productivity. To avoid this, here are three time management techniques care of Capstone IT, a leading provider of IT support and managed IT services in West Palm Beach.
1. Pomodoro Technique – This popular method used by millions worldwide was invented by Francesco Cirillo who heads a consulting firm in Berlin. He developed this time management tool in the late 1980s to get more things done in less time.
The technique is named after the Italian word for tomatoes since Cirillo used a pomodoro-shaped kitchen timer to track his progress. Work is divided into 25-minute sessions separated by five-minute breaks.
To start, set the kitchen timer for 25 minutes and focus only on work during that time. Stop and take a five-minute break when you hear the alarm. Resume working for another 25 minutes after the break. After repeating these steps four times, take a 20-minute break and start again until you’re finished.
2. Eat that Frog – This was developed by Brian Tracy, chair and CEO of Brian Tracy International, and the author of the international bestseller Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time.
This time-management technique focuses on important tasks that you haven’t done because they’re either difficult or boring. It’s based on an old saying that if you can eat a live frog first thing in the morning, the rest of the day will be a breeze!
In Tracy’s book, eating the frog is used as a metaphor for prioritizing the most challenging task of the day that can make a difference in your life. By tackling critical tasks head-on, you can work faster and get the right things done before moving on to less important matters.
Tracey believes that successful people don’t do everything, but know what to do first. To classify tasks, he recommends labeling them as follows:
A – the most important thing to do
B – the second most important task
C – not as important and it wouldn’t hurt if you didn't do it immediately
D – things that can be assigned to another person
E – tasks that you don't have to do and can be ignored
3. The Seinfeld Method - This is named after the popular American television sitcom and was supposedly taken from the main character’s quote, "Don't break the chain".
To do this, you need a red marker and a big calendar. Each day you complete a specific task, you mark that day red until you form a chain of "red" days. Seeing the number of red days grow motivates you to continue working until you finish what you’re doing.
If you haven’t done anything, don’t mark the calendar red. This breaks the chain and reminds you to get back to work.
Make time for your business
Knowing how to use time can make or break your organization, so use it wisely. Don’t waste it on trivial pursuits, but concentrate on the things that will grow your business.
If time is not on your side and you need help with IT support or managed IT services, be sure to get in touch with the friendly experts of Capstone IT. Our highly responsive team is available in Treasure Coast, West Palm Beach, and Jupiter to help you achieve your business goals at a price you can afford. Contact us today to learn more!