Tips

How To Improve Efficiency by Cutting Out Time Waster Activities

April 18, 2022

Almost everyone we know would like to improve efficiency in their job. Yet the task can seem elusive and overwhelming. 

Helping admins and office managers become more efficient is one of the main reasons we created Office Otter. But task management alone won’t solve all of your efficiency problems. 

Another great way to see efficiency gains is to eliminate time-waster activities. Everyone has them. From getting caught in your Facebook newsfeed to manual processes that should be automated.

To eliminate time wasters, you have to first identify them. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you identify what’s slowing you down.

Journal Your Week

Get out some pen and paper or use a time tracking app to help you journal every moment of your day. From checking email to meetings to preparing a big report, make note of all the mundane and routine tasks you perform. Do this for an entire week. 

Look For Clues

Go back and review your journal. Look for tasks that take up a lot of time without a lot of benefits. A couple of examples might be one-off supply orders for your office or transcribing meeting notes. Make a list of these time-intensive, low-impact items.

 

Then, look for tasks that you repeat daily or weekly. An example might be posting for your executive on LinkedIn. Add these items to your list. 

Office Otter is also useful when looking for inefficiencies. Review your last week’s or month’s tasks to find items from the categories above. If you use labels, see which categories of tasks make up the bulk of your week. 

Office Otter User Tip: Dashboard reports are a great way to track time and effort on time-waster activities.

Create a Game Plan

Now that you have your list, it’s time to figure out how to remove those items from your plate or limit the effort required. 

First, sit down with your manager and get their help prioritizing your time for the tasks you’ve identified. Reviewing your list with them shows that you are taking the initiative to become more efficient. They may be able to coach you or rearrange your responsibilities. 

Once you have clarity around your manager’s expectations for each task, look at the solutions below. See how they might help you clear more time in your schedule.

Remove a task

It may be that you have an intern or someone else in the office who could handle a task. Reach out and get that item off your plate. 

Batch work

This is a great tool for repetitive tasks that can be done ahead of time. The idea behind batching work is that instead of taking 30 minutes each week, you take two hours a month all at one time. It helps you stay focused on one task, removing all of the wasted time and effort that comes with multitasking. Our example of posting to your executive’s LinkedIn is the perfect type of item you can batch work. Try to use a scheduling tool so that you can take a couple of hours once a month to batch schedule posts for the coming weeks. 

Office Otter User Tip: You can even batch your task management by setting aside time at the beginning of the month or week to create upcoming tasks.

Automate

Automation is your friend when it comes to efficiency. Taking our examples above, you may want to invest in an AI transcription service that does all of the heavy lifting for you. Plans are very affordable and several of the services output high-quality transcriptions. For office supplies, you might automate recurring office supply orders for staples you know you’ll need.

There are lots of theories and products around efficiency, but sometimes you can get bogged down implementing new systems or tools. Task and time tracking is a simple way to start improving your efficiency today. We’d love to hear from you once you give this method a try!