- Find a way to document the tasks that are being done
- Time those tasks
- Look for waste
- Eliminate the waste
The quick and dirty solution to finding where the time is going, is journaling. Self reporting is, by far, the easiest and least intrusive method for coming up with a quick snapshot and usually will work for small businesses. A simple spreadsheet can quickly tell you where your spending most of your time and can, in most cases, bear a lot of low hanging fruit. If you and your employees do most of your work on your computer, then a very effective way to come up with a list of activities and probably give some estimate of time spent, is to use the number of files or documents modified and times for modification.
Measuring productivity can be as simple as capturing the number of tasks per day. The person that doesn't like measurements or to be held accountable will always find excuses for why any measurement is invalid, but if this is your first step toward having a more efficient business then ignore the skeptics and start simple.
One word of advise, is to try and make your definition of a task as simple as possible and try not to let it grow. If everyone has a common definition, then judging and getting feedback about productivity will be more effective. For most of my work, which usually involves project type of work, a task is less than 30 minutes, but more than 10 minutes. A line worker will have tasks that are considerably less in scope and therefore will have shorter task times. Generally speaking, they will have task times of 2 0r 3 minutes.
What kind of tasks do you have in your company?