Here are 17 of the top time wasters of entrepreneurs. Check yourself against this list and make an action plan to make some deliberate changes that will deliver you back some time.
- Multi-tasking Mayhem – Just stop! Unless you want to do everything poorly focus on one action at a time.
- Email and Notification Playbook – Checking an email or a notification now and then doesn’t hurt anyone, but if you are not careful your whole day’s playbook will be dictated by responding to your notifications. Don’t look at email each day until 10:00 am so you have a chance to get things done right from the start. Then turn off your notifications and block time to check email and other necessary portals.
- All Work and No Play – Believe it or not, working too much is a waste of time. After a certain even the best of the best become unproductive in the final hours. In addition to that someone who has no life outside of work can become quickly agitated and even demanding of others in their spiral of diminishing returns on their time.
- Action Without Strategy – Jumping into action before a strategy is set can be a huge time waster. For example, running out to put up a new website without having a marketing strategy could result in lots of rewrites, lower results than desired and back to the drawing board to achieve your objectives.
- Disorganized Resources – How much time do you spend looking for things? That vendor you met at the last trade show, the sample price increase letter you wanted to mimic or the document you started with goal ideas for your next strategic meeting…If you are like many business owners you have a lot of balls in the air and keeping all of your resources organized can be a struggle. A worthwhile investment would be to take a Saturday and decide on an organizational system, and get your resources in order.
- Too Much Social Butterfly – Being friendly and communicating with your workmates is an important part of building a strong team. But, there comes a point overly chatty and too much socializing is not only a time waster, but also sets the tone for others to keep pace with the socializing. To break this habit be mindful of the time you are spending being social and be selective about when to speak.
- Treating “No” Like a Four Letter Word – If you have trouble turning down opportunities or saying “no” to people then my guess is that you have a lot on your plate. For one week try to say “no” to a few more things than you usually would, write it down and keep track of how much time you are saving.
- Fretting and Hand-Wringing – Be aware when you belaboring an issue and over-analyzing. Sometimes taking a break from an issue will give you a different perspective and often you will come back with a swifter decision. The first step I being aware of when you have thought circles around an issue, and it’s time to take a break.
- Avoiding the Important – Do you spend your time on the “urgent” items in your business or on the “important”? Well, ideally you spend time on both, but definitely more of your time is being spent on the “important”. Overload of “urgent” issues will probably do very little towards helping you achieve your goals. Kickstart your “important” things by mapping out your short term and long term goals, break them into small chunks, prioritizing them and print and post the plan in a place you will see them every morning. Then you will know what “important” things to do.
- Wasting Your Magic Hour – The first hour of your day when your brain is fresh and awake is often your most productive, creative energy of the whole day. Dedicate your magic hour to the really big, important things in your business that move things forward, innovate or inspire and motivate great team movement.
- Online Distractions – Eliminate the urge for online distractions. Some CEO’s find it helpful to dedicate separate devices for different types of activity. For example use a family email for all of the notices from the kids lacrosse team, or vow to online research your family vacation from your home device.
- Planned Speedbumps – Filling your work day full of yoga classes, errands, long lunches and personal appointments is a good way to enjoy your entrepreneur life, but if you are trying to make major clicks on your business roadmap having all of these scattered throughout your work day will really slow you down. Try working 4 days a week and loading all of your appointments onto your day off, so you can have solid productive time.
- Not Compartmentalizing Time – Lots of entrepreneurs have more than one business or non-profit interest that they are juggling. To manage everything make a routine that divides your week up into chunks of time and dedicate like items together into time compartments for maximum efficiency. This will be your proactive plan to get you away from your reactive business activity.
- Iron Grip – If you are an owner hanging onto to every detail with an iron grip I guarantee you that you don’t have much time. You need solid people that you can count on to follow through like you would. If you don’t have those people get busy getting them, so you can release the death grip on your business.
- Not Culling the List – To Do List management is like home organization…you have a items keep pile, a donate pile, a trash pile and a keepsake pile. Review your list daily and identify what items you want to keep on there, which are valuable but you will donate or delegate to others, which items you will trash because the value you will get from them is not worth the time to do them, and what items you will save – meaning moving items you would like to do someday to another list to save for another time.
- Calendar-Abuse – Are you getting the most out of your calendar? Get in the habits of making and keeping appointments that are grouped together for maximum efficiency. Set some rules for yourself for the length of appointment types. 10 Minute quick calls, 15 minute standup huddles with team, 30 minute face to face meetings, 1 hour out of office meeting slots (includes 30 minutes for travel), and 1 and 2 hour time blocks for your projects…put them on the calendar and keep your dates with yourself.
- Handing Over Your Schedule to Others – People want your time, and to maintain great relationships we want to give it to them…well at least a little. Be on alert for people stealing your time. You dictate your schedule and how you will spend your time. Allowing people to drop into your schedule at their leisure can be a deal killer to your productivity, so be the boss of your schedule.
Taking control of your time can make you a happier and more productive business owner. Get started with your time remodel today!