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Last modified date

Aug 11, 2022

6 Simple Ways To Save Time At Work

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Erin Wagner

Blog average read time

6 min

Last modified date

August 11, 2022

Which asset is the most valuable for people? Some would argue that it’s the money, and others say freedom and time. Since it’s not renewable, I’d say time—those who learn this sooner than later manage better in all aspects of life, including work.

For employees, learning how to save time at work is the key to their career advancement and to being productive and working smart. For freelancers and business owners, on the other hand, these time management skills are crucial for profitability and scaling.

We’ve gathered several great tips to help you save time at work and become more productive no matter which group you belong to. Let’s take a look at some practical tips you can implement right away:

1. Audit And Align Departments

First and foremost, start by auditing different departments within your organization. Freelancers or solopreneurs can probably skip this step, but larger organizations should definitely do it.

For instance, you need your content, design, and social departments to work synchronized if you have a digital marketing agency. This point is vital for SMEs with a manufacturing capacity since they often need to align production and maintenance.

Aligning departments is crucial for SaaS or B2B companies. Often, they have a marketing team that works digitally and a sales team in charge of call acquisition. The best results are achieved when the marketing and sales departments work transparently, hand-in-hand.

How do you align departments?

Your first step is to define each department’s roles and activities and explain how they complement each other. If we go over the example of a SaaS company that has a marketing and a sales department, their roles could be defined as follows:

Marketing roles:

  • Brand awareness
  • Lead generation
  • Defining the target customer
  • Conducting market research
  • Shaping and defining the products or services
  • Pricing products or services
  • Strategizing and implementing campaigns
  • Digital marketing activities (social media, email marketing, SEO, video marketing, etc.)

Sales roles:

  • Brand ambassadors for the company
  • Explaining the products or services
  • Closing sales and finalizing contracts
  • Determining sales goals and KPIs
  • Defining the sales process
  • Inbound selling
  • Cold call acquisition

Think of what strategies and actions apply to your departments and clearly outline their roles. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and work as a team.

2. Track Your Working Time

Time management is an underrated yet crucial skill to have and nurture, regardless of your industry. To become better at it, start by tracking your time working to better understand how much of your time is productive or not (also: billable or not, for invoicing purposes). You can use tried and tested time billing software in this respect.

According to 2021 research conducted by Acuity Training, only 20% or 1 in 5 employees carry out time audits to see how they spend their time. Additionally, just 18% out of 500 people polled used a proper time management system.

It’s essential to see where your time goes at the moment to learn how to allocate it better. You’ll be able to see the nonessential vs. essential tasks, allowing you to learn which tasks you can delegate or automate and which ones need more of your attention.

A time management tool is great for both freelancers and solo entrepreneurs who want to learn how they spend their time and business owners who want to track their employees’ working hours. All in all, this type of software saves you a lot of manual labor and time. If you’d like to read more on this topic, I recommend this complete guide to time tracking.

3. Automate Repetitive Tasks

Hopefully, after auditing and time-tracking processes within your organization, you can now differentiate your tasks and divide them into different categories.

Next, find those daily, repetitive, yet time-consuming tasks you can automate with the help of software or apps.

Aside from saving you time, automation tools will also make your entire organization more productive and agile. According to Gartner’s IT Automation Trends for 2022, companies will be able to lower their operational costs by 30% by combining hyper-automation and updated operational processes.

Some sample processes you can automate are:

  • Schedule your social media posts in advance
  • Email campaign drips (for new customers, onboarding, abandoned carts, purchase confirmation, etc.)
  • Set up your pixels and analytic tools
  • Segment your funnel into stages and set different activities for your leads
  • Take advantage of chatbots to save time instead of live chat
  • Set recurring reminders for daily/weekly repetitive tasks
  • Automate data collection, reporting, and billing

Apps like Zapier, Microsoft’s Power Automate, and ZigiOps are great to help you connect two or more platforms and set up workflows using different triggers. Tasks that you won’t be able to automate—and perhaps you shouldn’t—are the creative ones such as design, content writing, growth hacking, projecting business growth (scaling), etc.

4. Plan and Prioritize

Learning how to plan and prioritize your daily tasks is an invaluable skill regardless of the type of business your conduct. The first thing we recommend is always planning your days in advance. You can do that with the help of your calendar, a to-do list, project management tools, bullet journaling, or anything else that works for you.

When preparing your schedule for the next day, start prioritizing your tasks. You can do this in order of urgency or time sensitivity. If there are no deadlines, you can start by putting the most difficult or time-consuming tasks first at the beginning of your day.

Later in the day, you’ll be glad that’s done and behind you—you’ll only have your smaller or more enjoyable tasks left to finish. This “putting the worst behind” method has worked for many before, so give it a try.

You can try other specific time management methods to organize and work through your day effectively: Timeboxing, the Pomodoro technique, the Eisenhower matrix, the Action-Priority matrix, Eat that frog, etc.

To learn how to prioritize, you can try the Eisenhower or the Action-Priority matrix.

The Eisenhower matrix focuses on important vs. urgent tasks:

  • Important AND urgent tasks – you should do it now.
  • Important BUT not urgent – allocate a time to do it later on.
  • Not important BUT urgent – do it when the above is done or delegate it.
  • Not important AND not urgent – ignore it or postpone it.

Eisenhower Matrix

On the other hand, the Action-Priority matrix categorizes tasks according to their impact and effort:

  • Low impact/low effort—“fill-ins”. If possible, you should delegate these tasks or do them after you’ve finished the more important ones.
  • High impact/low effort—“quick wins”. This kind of task serves as a great motivator. You should do it at the beginning of your workday since you’ll get a lot of value with a bit of effort.
  • Low impact/high effort—“thankless tasks”. Revise if the task is really worth your time.
  • High impact/high effort—“major wins”. A task that will give a great value but should be second in priority since it takes a lot of your time and effort.

5. Avoid Distractions

This one sounds easier said than done—I know. However, it’s a crucial part of becoming and staying productive at your workplace. Technology is good for helping us automate and save time, but it can also cause us to waste time and procrastinate.

The average business owner or employee in the digital world is online and available on at least two devices at all times—your phone and laptop. We’re online on one or multiple social media accounts on each device. Often, the job requires this, such as in the case of social media managers. But, at other times, we simply use it as a procrastination tool.

According to 2022 Zippia research, the average employee wastes up to 32% of their time on social media, which equals 2.35 hours every day. The same research shows that 47% of employees agree that the largest discretion in the workplace is social media.

In fact, the damage that Facebook alone does to companies is estimated to be around $28 billion in productivity losses annually.

Here are some practical tips to help you avoid distractions at work:

  • Turn off non-work related notifications
  • Put your phone on silent mode (or airplane mode)
  • Set a timer (for instance, use a Pomodoro app and set working to 25 minutes with short, 5-minute breaks in between)
  • Close all unnecessary tabs
  • Find a quiet space to work

Pomodoro Process

6. Cut Down On Meetings

Are all the meetings you attend or conduct really necessary? Are these meetings productive?  Do they bring some benefit to the organization? Can you convey the same information through an email or on chat?

Here’s what you can do to cut down some unnecessary “meeting” time:

  • Always have a meeting agenda. What’s the purpose of the meeting?
  • Cut down the meeting time. Could you compress the same information into 15 minutes instead of 30?
  • Send an email instead of a meeting. Is it better to convey the message in writing?
  • Think of the meeting attendees. Whose input is really needed?
  • Face-to-face, in-office, or a virtual meeting. Which is the least time-consuming for participants?

A 2022 Dialpad survey shows that 83.13% of respondents spend a third of the week in meetings.

Dialpad survey

These long meetings might be necessary in some industries, such as advertising or marketing. However, in others, you don’t need them at all—for example, the energy industry—or you can at least cut them down to half. Think of how productive your meetings are and save time at work by attending only the most necessary ones.

Key Takeaways

Now, let’s sum up what we’ve learned in this guide:

  1. How to audit your current workflows and processes.
  2. Tracking how you spend your time at the moment
  3. Why you should isolate the repetitive, time-consuming tasks and how to automate them
  4. Learning to plan your days and prioritize your tasks
  5. How to avoid distractions in the workplace
  6. Why you should conduct and attend only necessary meetings

Although the digital workplace in 2022 is constantly changing and evolving, these tips should help you save time at work and learn how to become more productive, regardless of your schedule and location.

First published on June 7, 2022.

Erin Wagner

VP of Marketing

@Limble CMMS

After Erin Wagner (BA in Communications) built the custom social media analysis division for the world's largest PR measurement firm, she worked in computer vision startups on innovative products. Now, Erin and her team get to share with maintenance teams worldwide the good news that there is an easier way to manage—and get credit for—their amazing work.

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