Mentoring

10 Time Wasters for Entrepreneurs

As an Entrepreneur, I’ve come across a lot of habits that individuals do that hinder their personal productivity. These are the top 10 ‘Time Wasting’ activities I’ve discovered that once eradicated, will BOOST your productivity greatly, check it out:

1. Meetings

Meetings can be a waste of time. Before organising a meeting or agreeing to attend someone else’s meeting, consider if you could resolve the issues some other way. Equally, it’s important to let employees own their roles and make decisions, when appropriate. For example, would an email be more efficient?

It would be easier if you ask yourself this question: Do your really need to be there? Or are you failing to delegate? When you must attend, strictly stick to the agenda. No chit-chat.

2. Online Distractions

Undeniably the internet is a huge temptation while you’re at work. Salary.com, according to their survey, state that only 20% of workers claim they don’t visit any non-work related websites while they’re on the clock (in other words: 80% of people look at non-work related stuff at work). A further study discovered that between 60-80% of the time employees spend on the internet at work has nothing to do with their jobs. Personally, I don’t know how true this is – if it is true, that’s some real bad management right there!

Only use the first 10 minutes of your lunch break to check all of your personal social media accounts, missed calls and non-work-related interests. Allow yourself a proper lunch break. Only check your social accounts once a day in the evening otherwise.

3. Routine Tasks

Delegating tasks to your employees can have numerous benefits. Many entrepreneurs waste enormous amounts of time doing routine tasks they could be delegating. To establish the scale of the problem, note down all the tasks you do at work over a week or a month.

The next step is to identify, every morning, the most important three tasks on your to-do list and mark them as priority. I mark mine with the number ‘1’ in RED on my notepad. These are the things no one else can do, the ones where I can bring the most growth to the business. You should gradually refocus your efforts as much as possible on your priority tasks. Delegate your other tasks, I mark these with the number ‘2’ in BLUE, or shrink the time I spend on them.

4. Outdated Tools

When you try to accomplish work with inadequate equipment and software, you spend more time working to overcome your limited resources and less time on your ‘real’ work. This can be frustrating if you have a priority task that is due for completion. Make sure your tech is up to speed.

5. Listening
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen R. Covey.

I really do think that listening to the wrong people or taking too much advice can be confusing and will simply detract you from your objectives. Listening to the wrong people can be considerably detrimental to your progress and waste valuable time. Eliminate information overload that will distract you from achieving your goals. Ask yourself the question: is this person giving me the advice an expert in their field? If they’re not, just how valuable is their advice really?

6. Lacking a Solid Action Plan

Even if you’re clear on what you want to achieve, if you don’t have a concrete plan of action, you could still be wasting valuable time on things that don’t bring results or value to your table.

Similar to #3, try sitting down and mapping out all the steps you need to take in order to reach your goals then prioritise and schedule each of them in the correct order in your calendar. I do mine and then work backwards. Make it a habit to plan your day first thing Monday morning or set aside Sunday night to map out the following week.

7. Legal Issues

I wouldn’t tell a chef how to prepare a ‘Baked Lobster Fideo Pasta’ because that’s not my forte…

Legal issues are best left to solicitors who understand the law comprehensively. End of story. The more you try to ‘do it yourself’ – the more you’ll put you and your business at risk. Leave the legal issues to the people who know business law and can guide you in the right direction while you do what you do best……run your business.

8. Hesitation

This might sound trivial but agonising over decisions will rob you off much needed time. Learn to make choices quickly while carefully considering the pros and cons. This will save you time in the long run as it will prevent pursuing a project that is not worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to bench failing projects.

9. Learning Over Application

Apart from Knowledge, reading a book also keeps you mentally stimulated. If you study successful founders, CEOs and entrepreneurs, you’ll notice that almost every single one commits a considerable amount of time each week for reading and personal growth. The problem manifests when you spend all of your time learning and no time applying that knowledge to your business. This evidently results in book-smarts with no practical skills.

Parkinson’s Law states that work expands so as to fill the time allotted for its completion.

I wake up and read for at least 20 minutes, every single morning without fail. I have done for years. It really starts off my day the right way.

10. Repetitive Tasks

Repeating a task day in day out can be monotonous. If you find yourself doing the same tasks over and over, you’re throwing time out the window. Instead, you need to set standard operating procedures in place – standardise your processes. This can be achieved by creating master copies, templates, or a workflow to eliminate unnecessary repeated work. Asana, Trello, Basecamp, or other project management softwares are a few tools you can use.

I hope this list will help you in optimising your workflow and achieve the best results in your business venture.

Until next time, be great.