Guest Post by Corina Ludwig, President, FunctionFox
Finding more time is the ultimate New Business Year resolution for anyone in the creative industry. In our fast-paced, deadline-driven world, it is hard to find an extra minute for anything but the next white-hot challenge. But to be successful long-term you need more time than that. You need time to reflect on past successes and failures, time to plan for current and future clients and to understand staff productivity, as well as time to keep on top of new markets and technology, get a feel for emerging trends, and develop better ways of doing business.
When you resolve to save more money, you start by recording every cent you spend, and when you resolve to lose weight, you begin by recording exactly what you put into your mouth each day. It is the same with finding more time at work. You first need to record exactly where every minute goes. To do that, you need an effective time tracking and project management system.
Here are 6 steps to help you find the right system for your company:
1. Scribble, Ponder, and List.
Every time you think of something you need in a time and project management product or system, scribble it down. Think about the specific pain points, and make a list of must-have and nice-to-have capabilities, as well as features you definitely don’t need or want. A system that is too complex can be worse than one that is too simple.
2. Search and Select.
Familiarize yourself with the options, and think about the way your particular business works. Look for a system that has a reasonable cost/benefit ratio, that is quick and simple to set up and that doesn’t have an overwhelming learning curve for your team.
3. Read and Review.
Schedule time to review your research, add new information, collate your findings and fine-tune your list of requirements.
4. Shortlist, Delegate, and Test.
Build a shortlist of the systems that seem most suited to your needs. You can delegate in-depth research to others, or delegate some of your usual tasks so you can do software and systems research yourself. Look for demo versions of your shortlist systems and put them through their paces to see if they do what they claim.
Call your shortlist of time and project management suppliers to ask any questions you may have. This is a crucial step because it gives you insight not only into the product or system itself, but also into the kind of support and service you will get if you buy. You should be able to talk with a real person – someone who knows the product inside out, and who can answer your questions quickly and knowledgeably.
6. Decide and Buy.
Don’t put it off. Once you’ve done your research and settled on a system, keep the momentum going by making a decision, purchasing and getting it up and running. The sooner you decide, the sooner you’ll start to find more time.
Implementing an effective time and project management system will not only find you more time to focus on building your business, but will also lead to better planning and estimating for every project you undertake, simplify workflow, increase transparency and improve relationships with clients, and ultimately increase both profitability and productivity.
Where to start? Right here, right now. This post is sponsored by FunctionFox, the leading provider of time and project tracking for small creative companies. TimeFox, its web-based timesheet and project management software, is the number one ranked time-tracking system in North America. Try a free TimeFox demo today and take advantage of our terrific end-of-the-year sale.