They say time still equals money in the modern world of business.

Time can be wasted in many ways. Social media, online news updates and various mediums of distraction like tablets and phones can easily drain time. Statistics released last year showed that 13% of total productivity loss is down to social media use at work, and employees use a massive 32% of their time for personal work.

This results in a lack of productivity  and can put projects back, delay goals and even put a startup at risk if a lot of time used on the wrong task.

Managers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, business owners – every kind of person trying to earn money cannot afford to waste time.  Yet, many of us do, chucking money down the drain.

Those with teams to manage and workflows to streamline especially need to ensure every minute of work is used effectively. Stakeholders and clients, along with senior management are always waiting for results.

So how do you ensure your productivity and systems are tight, and set up in a way that ensures every single minute is holding its worth?

These 7 tips will help you get your workflow tightened, streamlined and working at a speed that ensures every minute is being used as it should:

1. Look A The Systems Already In Place

How can you know what to improve if you don’t take an honest look at the processes that are already in place? Ask project members for honest feedback and look at projects gone by for signs of weakness. Don’t be afraid to look at everything from software to morning meetings for indications that improvements need to be made. As you gather this information you can analyse it and become much more aware of where improvements need to be made, rather than making assumptions.

2. Help Your Team

You might already use systems like the Tomato Timer or Self Control App to ensure your working hours are as productive as possible, but are you passing these tips on to your team? Where do they struggle with time management? With productivity? Distraction? Find out and offer them solutions.

This could involve productivity apps, setting up accountability buddies, or helping their working environment to be more productive.

3. Look To Agile Project Management Methodology For Structure

There are many different agile PM methodologies but those most commonly used are Lean, Scrum and Kanban project management. The defining quality of an agile project is that the work is produced and delivered in very quick sections of intense work which continue until the project is done. This way of working can be applied to almost any way of working, even if you’re just planning a party. The point of it is to ensure a workflow is as productive as possible so although you’ll have to take some time to learn how the methodology works, it could payoff in streamlining your working processes. Take a look at this TED talk by David Allen to learn about Getting Things Done, his methodology that can easily incorporate PM methods alongside it to create an effective and productive working process.

4. Consistently Look For Ways To Improve

Becoming complacent is a death sentence for productivity because there are always ways to improve any aspect of the way a team works. By taking stock of your processes regularly you can continually tighten your working processes, ensuring maximum productivity.

5. Make Communication More Effective

Emails, phone calls and meetings can be streamlined by ensuring that the correct information is communicated quickly and effectively. They can be even more productive by ensuring that there is no need for a follow up email or phonecall. For example: a rushed email may result in points being clarified and so what could have been one email exchange turns into several emails being exchanged which takes up more time. If every communication you have is ineffective it results in a lot of time and energy being wasted. Be clear and concise first time round for maximum efficiency.

6. Have Quick Problem-Solving Meetings

Although workflow apps and tools help with communication they don’t create the same buzz a group can get from working together. Plan short daily meetings to troubleshoot as a team and quickly sort out issues that are slowing down progress.

7. Communicate In Every Way

Communication is a key issue with projects that fail. Communication breakdowns can happen on so many levels and so many mix ups can occur which result in lots of time being wasted.

Use tools, words, meetings, phone calls, Skype – anything you need to communicate effectively so everybody knows what is expected of them. If possible, try and keep communication through one system so that all the information is in one place.

Looking For Improvement Will Yield Results Eventually

It pays to have a bulletproof workflow and effective productivity if you want to succeed in an increasingly competitive world. There are many ways to improve your processes, and your key to success will be through consistently seeking new ways to improve. The rewards will start to come thick and fast very quickly once every minute is being used as efficiently as possible.

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