If you didn't get a chance to do this before, would you shoot me back a quick note through the email button at the top of the page? I'd like to hear from you…
How are things going for your business right now?
I'd like to get just a few sentences about what you are working on right now, and any immediate challenges you are facing. There might be some things we can do to help, if needed (or traps we can help you avoid if things are going well).
And before I get into what I'm writing about today, a quick tax-related item: the payroll tax "holiday" (deferral) does not (as of this writing) come with guidance attached from the IRS. This means that your payroll company, whomever that might be, won't have set up your system to implement it.
And without a plan for forgiveness of these deferred taxes, it's unlikely that your employees would benefit from it … so, I'd be surprised if any of them want it.
We'll keep you posted, and should have more answers next week. That said, these days, no timeline is terribly certain.
Now … I recently wrote about the "why" for applying a kind of 80/20 framework for you and your team's work time.
Today, I'll offer some ideas for how you can make these kinds of changes actually stick.
Because you can take off more time, and make no other changes, and … and just get less done. Maybe that's even a good thing for you and your team.
But with some simple shifts, you might find that you really can do more with less.
How Your Company Can Do More With Less Time
To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult." -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Many businesses find themselves continually in "scramble mode", taking no chances to slow down and think of ways to get OUT of it.
As is often the case with money, it takes time to make more time.
And it takes the willpower to allow certain other things to (perhaps) fester, while you and your team focus on the most-important tasks.
So, I'm taking some of MY time to give you ideas for how YOU can take more of YOUR time … to save more time. Got that? Here we go…
1. Choose Your "Focus Times"
Every employee, yourself included, has a different style they like to work in — we all also have times of the day when we work best. Only your team will know when "focus times" should occur, but I highly recommend intentionally setting these blocks of time in place.
Discuss with your team about which blocks of time, throughout the week, can be blocked off for individual work and individual work ONLY. No meetings, just focus time.
2. Time Tracking
Your business might already have a time-tracking system in play.
There are simple tools like Toggl or Nutcache to help you and your team examine where time is going throughout the day. And rather than using these tools as a way to shame others for how they might be spending (wasting) time … use time tracking as a way to GET BETTER.
The goal is to see week-by-week gains in an area we all need help with. Time tracking will help expose what needs to go, and how you can improve productivity.
3. Don't Accept Pointless Meetings
According to research from the University of California, it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain focus after your first distraction.
Unfortunately, meetings tend to cause that initial distraction for you and employees.
Research abounds about the ramifications of unimportant meetings. An Inc. Magazine article I saw recently (highlighting a survey from Doodle.com — which is also a great team scheduling app, by the way), cites the following survey responses:
- "Poorly organized meetings mean I don't have enough time to do the rest of my work (44 percent)"
- "Unclear actions lead to confusion (43 percent)"
- "Bad organization results in a loss of focus on projects (38 percent)"
- "Irrelevant attendees slow progress (31 percent)"
If your team is guilty of time-costly meetings, start a routine of saying "no" if you think it is unimportant to success. Not only will shedding meetings help your productivity, it will inevitably help the whole team save time as well.
4. Accept Help From Others
As for myself, I've learned to trust the people around me and their input instead of constantly spending my energy and attention on tiny details.
It's easy to think of delegation as burdening others. But this is why you work alongside others in the first place. Even solopreneurs can seek outside help — through contracted workers or volunteers — all to increase productivity.
You have people that care about you, and the best productivity sometimes looks like not doing it all on your own.
5. Small Breaks
Social media is NOT what I mean by "small breaks" here.
Working a few, "non-work" breaks into your business routine can greatly increase productivity. AS LONG AS the breaks are purposeful and consistent.
Maybe every day at 10AM your team takes a walk outside around the block. Maybe everyday at 2PM you water the office plants. Something to keep your mind sharp without mindlessly drifting into cyberspace — only you will know the perfect activities to fill these breaks, but I highly encourage a regular mind refresh so that you're as productive as possible.
There are many ways to optimize our team's time, and not all of these will work for every team.
But this is a start … and I hope you'll think about implementing at least a couple.
And let me know how things go for your business when you do.
The Business Advisors
Feel free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.