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Time is Money – and Must Be Measured with the Same Diligence

With the arrival of fall comes the season of business planning and budgeting for many organizations. Not surprisingly, cost management is often the focus of these exercises. What should not be overlooked, however, is time management. Saving time through productivity improvement has numerous financial and non-financial benefits. In addition to having a financial cost, time has an opportunity cost. The cost of wasted or unnecessary time allocated to a task or process is the benefit of that time if it were applied to other tasks or processes. Commonly, specifically in finance and administrative functions, excess time is used in routine processes that reduces the capacity for strategic initiatives.

What is often overlooked in the area of time management and specifically time saving is the need for accurate measurement. Just as reliable, measurable financial results are critical to the implementation and evaluation of cost-saving initiatives, reliable and measurable time information is critical to identifying and implementing productivity improvement. Studies have consistently shown that how we spend our time can differ significantly from how we think we spend our time. Making the effort to accurately measure the use of time will ensure that time management efforts are focused in the right areas. Whether for a specific task/process or the day of an individual, try recording how time is spent in increments of 10 minutes or less – you will likely be surprised at the results, and it will help to identify where a productivity improvement initiative will add the most value.

By: Aaron Merkle