New year, same story: another New Year’s resolution to “stop wasting time at work” that falls by the wayside come late January. The average American spends 8.7 hours physically in the office each day, reports the American Time Use Survey. But not all of these hours are productive. In fact, employees at large-size companies report spending only 45 percent of their time on primary job duties, according to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll and reported by Atlantic Monthly.
So what happens to the majority of their office time? It gets wasted on email, meetings, administrative tasks and interruptions. That doesn’t even include the time spent checking social media! Small business owners and entrepreneurs face similar time challenges. Most of us are hopping from job to job — consultant, accountant, designer, sales rep, marketer — while keeping up with emails and administrative tasks. It can be downright exhausting.
In 2016, resolve to make a permanent change with project tools and workflow solutions that eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline operations. Get started with four of my favorites:
1. Getting organized.
Today’s entrepreneurs need a dynamic, flexible approach to project management that includes real-time virtual workspace access for collaboration, discussion and document sharing. That’s why I love Wrike. The platform provides a birds-eye view of your team’s workload and upcoming deadlines that makes it easy to keep folks accountable, whether they’re in the cubicle next door or halfway across the country.
“Running a virtual team is tricky,” says Andrew Filev, CEO and founder at Wrike. “Mastering collaboration techniques doesn’t have to be impossible, however. We work with leading productivity gurus to provide our clients with a full range of dynamic resources for combating productivity killers and developing a more agile solution.”
Related: Get Organized With These 6 Tips That Lead to More Productive Days
2. Customer satisfaction.
If your problem is poor customer satisfaction hurting sales, your solution is NBRI customer service surveys.
When customer satisfaction isn’t up to par, surveys provide valuable insight into where things are going wrong and what your business can do better. Managing customer satisfaction surveys, yourself, however, can be a time-consuming, difficult process. That’s why I like the National Business Research Institute (NBRI)’s customer service surveys. NBRI’s surveys make identifying performance gaps and responding to customer service problems a snap. Plus, NBRI can collect data on an ongoing basis to help you better understand which response measures result in the biggest customer service improvements.
3. Upping your process management game.
Ineffective process management can hold back business growth but Comindware is the solution. Comindware develops innovative Business Process Management solutions enabling performance and efficiency optimization. Comindware BPMS allows for automation, management, and optimization of complex interconnected business processes.
“We built Comindware to make it easy for non-technical users to quickly build and modify business processes,” says CEO Max Tsypliaev. “We work with both businesses and IT to unlock company potential through a holistic approach dedicated to performance and efficiency optimization.”
Related: Debriefing Helps You Process Lessons Learned
4. Automating the books.
When manually tracking invoices and business expenses became a nightmare, the dream solution was Wave Accounting. Designed specifically for entrepreneurs, freelancers, consultants and small businesses, Wave’s accounting tools are completely free.
Connect Wave to your bank account, PayPal or other transaction sources to instantly balance the books and generate professional reports. Wave Accounting works with Wave’s suite of affordable small business tools, including seamless invoicing and payroll. With more than $50 billion in income/expense tracking over 95 million transactions for 2.5 million users in more than 200 countries, Wave is a must for running your small business better.
Not only are we working more hours than ever, but many of us are also working more inefficiently than ever before. Long hours don’t equal greater productivity. For startups and small business owners, a wasted minute is a precious time lost. Many of us fall victim to the 80/20 rule, where we waste time on $10/hour tasks (like buying office supplies) and miss out on the $1,000/hour tasks (like sending a perfectly timed marketing email).
Make 2016 the year you delegate non-essential, but time-consuming tasks to free or low-cost services, like Wave’s free accounting program or Wrike’s brilliant workflow management solution. You’ll save valuable time and sanity for tackling the bigger picture challenges that only you can do.
Related: 7 Tools That Can Help You Rapidly Grow and Automate Your Business