Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “you may delay, but time will not.” Often, we are considering this in our own lives, but it also applies to business. In a 24-hour and global world, where business doesn’t stop at 5pm, it has become essential for companies to become more aware of time as well as the best allocation of it. This doesn’t mean that it is time to check your watch and start doing 10 different things instead of reading the rest of today’s word and it could be time very well spent.
Overall, time management is nothing new and even in our earliest hunter/gatherer days, if we didn’t manage our time wisely, there was the risk of starvation, the lack of adequate shelter, or worse. While the phrase itself, meaning ‘the fact or process of using one’s time more effectively or productively,’ is purely a product of the modern world, the words involved are a product of the late Medieval/early Renaissance world, with the abstract concept of time first recorded in the late 14 century and management (or the act of managing) first used in the late 1500s.
The first known usage of the phrase comes from 1913, in the Secretary’s Representative Harvard Class of 1907, which writes that: “This department is auxiliary to the time management, and its work is investigation of processes, systems of routine, organization, and systematizing.” Applying this strictly to business needs in 1926, Walter S. Hayward, in his work, Sales Administration, notes that: “The factors which determine the degree of time management of the sales force are mainly the type of product and the method of payment.” Showing a genesis with the previous quotes, perhaps the most applicable quote to modern business can be found in Philip Augar and Joy Palmer’s 2002 book, Rise of the Player Manager, which ties it all together by saying: “The demands of doing research, writing to a tight timetable, delivering reports back to clients, thinking coolly about product marketing decisions and managing the team required time management and prioritization skills that I had never needed before.”
In the business world, whether we realize it or not, we spend a lot of time wasting time. On an individual employee level, studies show that taking 10 minutes to plan a workday can save 2 hours of wasted time and effort. On an organisation-wide level, a scant 20% of time is spent on work of primary importance, while, on average, 80% of time is wasted on tasks that are of little value.
Outside of the organisation itself, businesses are forced to rely on the efficiency of third-party service providers, such as law offices, shipping service providers, and translation companies. And a trusted and efficient translation service will be able to aid in your company’s time management – instead of hindering it- and assure that the processes with other organisations – at least as far as communication is concerned – flow smoothly.