Here are our top five productivity hacks for hospitality owners or managers struggling to find time.
1. Track your movements
It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m too busy” but when was the last time you actually reviewed what you're doing with your time? Many time management experts will tell you to start improving your productivity by keeping a time journal for the week, and you can start to see gaps or where you can improve your productivity.
Track every single thing you do from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed for seven days, and you'll begin to notice patterns in how you work. Are you at the computer for hours, but getting little work done due to emails and social media? Does your phone distract you when trying to work on the accounts? Do your staff meetings end up taking more time than they should? Finding these 'holes' in your work time is the beginning of managing it more productively.
2. Work to schedule
Once you do figure out what tasks are taking up your time, or simply taking too long, write out your 'dream schedule'. Breaking your day out into half-hour or hour blocks, map out what you would like to be working on, and when. If you legitimately don't have the time for everything, then you must delegate.
Otherwise, it's time to buckle down and stick to the schedule for at least a fortnight. Learning to put one task down and prioritise another can be extremely hard but it is crucial to keeping your day moving.
3. Make the most of smartphone apps
In the age of having our smartphone permanently glued to our hands, make it work for you…not against you! There are plenty of organisational apps that can help you with everything from tracking receipts to sending out rosters, all on the go from your phone.
You should also take the time to explore in-built features on your smartphone that can help with time management and reminders, too. For example, iPhone users have access to a little-known additional to iOS devices known as Location Aware Reminders1.
“This powerful little feature notifies you of your to-dos when you attach them to a physical location,” says Toast.2 “For example, if you set a reminder to call your supplier when you finish your shift, your phone will alert you the moment you clock-out for the day.” Brilliant!
4. Don't be afraid to delegate
We know your reasoning. By the time you finish explaining the task, you could have already had it done – right? Wrong. Learning to delegate will be one of your most important – and difficult – skills to learn as a manager. Being the sole point of responsibility for tasks not only creates a bottleneck, but it can also cause a lot of drama should you need to clock off for a few days.
Select the most time-intensive tasks and creating a training program for one or more of your managers. Whilst it may initially seem frightening to pass on the power of your accounts, rosters, or supplier management; it will ultimately free up time for you to work on the business – not in it.
5. Automate your processes
Many hospitality businesses choose to do things 'the old fashioned way' – and that's fine. However, when it comes to many of your administrative tasks, you would be foolish not to save yourself time and effort by automating many of the processes.
There are online programs and software that will allow you to automatically create:
• Staff rosters
• Email communications/newsletters
• Accounting processes
• Supplier ordering
• Customer communication
• Taking bookings
Being productive is not something that comes naturally to most people. It's something that you need to learn and master over time, being strict with yourself to stay focused, and stay on schedule. Start with our tips above, and we're sure that you'll already begin to better your time management.