“I don’t have enough time.” We’ve all said it or thought it at one point. But what is the truth behind this statement?
The problem is not needing more time, it is using the time you do have wisely. To do this, you must minimize or completely remove any time wasters that could be stealing your most precious commodity – your time.
The top 5 time wasters for business owners are:
1. Digital Distractions
It may seem harmless, but, a simple scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform can turn into hours of wasted time. A study revealed that the average person will spend nearly two hours on social media every day, which adds up to 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.
If you think about what you could accomplish for your business and in your personal life with an extra two hours every day, you would be more aware of mindless social media use throughout the day.
If you are a slave to the notification sound you hear every time you receive a new email, it may be costing you valuable time and attention. Each time you veer from your current task to address a new email, you are letting distractions dictate your focus.
Checking and responding to your emails can interrupt work, extend the workday, and intrude on family time. Release yourself from the bondage of constant communication by setting specific times to check your email. Reserve “shut down” times when you commit to turning your notifications off to focus on the task at hand, minimizing wasted time while increasing productivity.
Most business owners believe in the “more is less” mentality when it comes to time. In other words, the more they do at once, the less amount of time will be wasted.
Sending an email during a meeting, talking on the phone while completing paperwork, texting while driving – time saved, right?
While multitasking may sound effective, it is actually a deceptive time waster. According to recent neuroscience research, the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously. Multitasking actually works more like switch tasking.
Each time our focus shifts from one activity to the next, the brain is actually switch tasking. This wastes more time, is less efficient, causes us to make more mistakes, and can completely drain our energy.
3. Lack of Planning
Executives usually greet the morning with an already overwhelming task list. However, without a clear and detailed plan, their schedule will run them instead of them running their schedule.
Distractions are guaranteed in an unplanned day. Time that is unaccounted for will be easily spent on low- level priorities, causing missed deadlines and increased stress.
The time it takes to intricately plan out your day and set your priorities will be saved tenfold throughout the day. Your focus will remain clear, and you will be able to say “no” to distractions or surprises in your schedule that serve as potential time wasters.
They are essential, but when they aren’t properly planned or too frequent, they can be one of your biggest time wasters. When compared to how much time a CEO spends in meetings as opposed to interaction with his or her customers, the disparity is shocking.
A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that CEOs spent about 72% of their time in meetings and just 3% of their time with customers. Considering that many meetings are longer than they need to be and do not always require the CEO’s attendance, something needs to change.
Examine the length of meetings you’re holding to ensure the itinerary is time sensitive. Invite the right people who need to be in the meeting and excuse non-essential staff, including yourself. Before scheduling a meeting, determine whether the information can be communicated electronically or in a short briefing to save time.
5. Misplaced Priorities
Warren Buffet’s secret to success is intense focus. He believes in the “less is more” mentality, which forces him to strategically inventory his daily list of tasks.
In a conversation with his pilot, Buffet told him that in order to reach his goals, he needed to make a list of his tasks for the day and then circle the top 5 most important. Those top 5 then get transferred to a separate list.
The other tasks get put on a “not to do” list. The key is to ignore everything on the “not to do” list until he has achieved his top 5 list.
Without using this strategy, your time gets lost in the endless list of duties you have to accomplish each day. If you put this strategy in place, you will not only achieve more of your important tasks, but you will also save time and energy.
As a business owner, time is your most precious commodity. Stop working hard to find more time and start taking inventory of how you spend it in order to completely get rid of time wasters.