One of the factors that actively contribute to increasing business productivity is work planning, which necessarily involves proper time management. However, only by effectively organizing timetables, deadlines and priorities can this fundamental objective be achieved.
But what exactly does it mean to optimize? Time management intervenes at this precise juncture. Let’s see together what it is and how it affects business productivity
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Time Management: what Is It?
Time management consists of a careful planning process time and checking, to optimize business activities. The logical consequence lies in improved effectiveness and efficiency that will lead to an increase in productivity. Skills, tools, and particular techniques can help improve time management.
The first and fundamental step of time management is to discover through an analysis how time is used. To be successful in optimizing any activity, it is necessary to understand in detail how it is carried out. This argument is also valid for the time factor. In business processes, just like in individual activities, the first step is therefore to “photograph” time.
The Tools Of Time Management
In an era where digitalization now resides at every juncture of our daily life, digital tools are needed for correct time management. A careful analysis of how time is spent requires software that can monitor the various processes. Very often, tasks that would take only a few minutes to complete, end up taking a lot of time.
This, among other things, leads to subtracting time from other much more important activities which in any case already require greater use of time to be carried out. At this juncture, therefore, the implementation of an ERP management system can be very useful, which among the thousands of benefits it can bring to a company, also allows you to monitor the performance of activities in real-time.
Among other things, correct time management is part of the right to manage company resources in general, and the consequent optimization of costs. In any case, ERP software is used precisely for planning company resources. It is an advanced program that allows you to integrate almost all business processes, no longer treating them as watertight compartments.
On the contrary, a sort of IT backbone is introduced that can eliminate a lot of waste and errors. This is possible because an ERP allows to unify the flows related to materials and information, and consequently allows better coordination of the various decision-making processes. Among the processes analyzed by software of this type, we find sales, purchases, accounting, warehouse, and others.
How To Choose An ERP Management Software
We have said that one of the main tools that allow good planning of time and company resources, in general, is ERP management software. But how do choose it? Considering the importance of the tasks assigned to a program of this type, it is clear that the choice should not be left to chance but necessarily passes through careful analysis.
In the first instance, it would be advisable to consider the choice of cloud management software. A solution of this type allows a considerable economic saving because the organization will not be required to purchase all the hardware infrastructure necessary for the functioning of the program. The company that provides the cloud ERP makes its infrastructure available, providing access to the company.
The company will therefore only have to pay a monthly subscription or in any case periodically for the use of the software. Secondly, to choose an ERP it is necessary to think long-term, and therefore not pay attention only to the price factor. Cheaper software may over time be restricted to business needs.
This would risk not returning the investment within the set deadlines, nullifying any economic effort made. And it is precisely based on one’s own needs that it is necessary to choose the ERP. In circulation, for example, we can find solutions also available on mobile and multi-device, making it possible to monitor the time at any time wherever you are.
Time Management: The Techniques
In addition to the tools for correct time management, it is equally important to choose the techniques that allow you to manage time effectively and efficiently. To achieve this goal, it can be extremely useful to classify the different activities to be carried out in A, B, and C. In detail:
- A = Important and urgent activities.
- B = Important but not urgent activities.
- C = Activities considered not important and not urgent.
Secondly, the advice is to identify which are the activities that require less time to carry out and carry them out first. Taking the Pareto principle into consideration, it is possible to obtain 80% of what is the result using only 20% of the effort. Only at the end, therefore, will the activities that require more time have to be carried out.
But at that precise moment, according to the aforementioned principle, 80% of the work will have already been done.
The Tomato Technique
Among the main time management techniques we find that of the tomato. This technique is useful to actively counteract the instinct to procrastinate, and consequently, keep the attention high to increase productivity.
The tomato technique is based on the principle that each activity can be divided into many small-time sequences. Each of these can in turn be interspersed with a short break of a few minutes. It is physiological that the brain can get tired and need some breaks to recharge. These pauses do just that, which is to provide energy to the brain.
The tomato technique, therefore, requires a timer to be used that allows you to alternate 25 minutes dedicated to the activity using maximum concentration, with a 5-minute break that allows you to “catch your breath”.
The Eisenhower Matrix
In addition to the tomato technique, another particularly efficient and used one is the Eisenhower matrix. A famous phrase attributed to the former president of the United States reports:
What Is Important Is Rarely Urgent And What Is Urgent Is Rarely Important
This means that urgent activities are those that you think should be completed immediately. These include, for example, phone calls and e-mails. the important activities on the contrary are those that will become relevant, but only in the long term, and that will be able to bring a benefit in the growth of the value and to lead the company towards the set objectives.
Obviously, understanding which are the urgent activities and which are the important ones could not always be easy, and it is precisely at this juncture that the Eisenhower matrix intervenes. This matrix is divided into 4 different quadrants:
- Quadrant 1: Includes the activities to be completed immediately, which cannot be waived or delegated. These include phone calls to customers, expiring projects, and others.
- Quadrant 2: This quadrant includes all those activities deemed important, but which are not equally urgent. The main ones include training and refresher courses, or the definition of new strategies.
- Quadrant 3: Inside we find unimportant but still urgent activities. For example, a meeting in which you may not be present perhaps delegating another person falls into this quadrant.
- Quadrant 4: In this last quadrant, we find the superfluous activities, sometimes the cause of distractions, which could also be eliminated. In other words, these are situations that could become unconscious or even conscious excuses, therefore pretexts for not completing other more important and urgent activities.