How to Stop Wasting Time

November 29, 2012 · 2 comments

How to Stop Wasting Time

I’ve come to the conclusion that wasting time is the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs in getting things done.

You don’t get results from things you don’t implement – and these four time wasters are the biggest culprits.

We all react to them and they fill the time we could be doing other things that are more productive and valuable.

Now I’m not bashing the usefulness of the four time-wasters below. But, consider it from the point of view that these are interruptions that not only take away our time from being productive and implementing, but also distract us where it adds even more time to get back on task and focused.

Here goes:

Email

You guessed it. We all fall for the trap. First thing in the morning you login and check email. Then, next thing you know one email pops up after the other and you’re in there for hours. Plus, if you’re using a browser-based email program like gMail, it’s always open. And here come all the different emails with different ideas, messages, videos, etc. Most of them lead us to the Internet where we go further and further into wasting time. It gets you into reacting to all the other email related items.

Kick the habit strategy: Check at planned times each day and only spend allocated time like 30 minutes at 9am 1pm and 5pm. Use an online tool for managing email like http://emailga.me/.

Telephone

It starts ringing and it can never stop. But, most often it’s checking messages and returning phone calls. It’s the same idea as email (reacting, not being proactive) and usually not accomplishing much. If you have pre-arranged phone appointments but other than that – why would you ever answer an unplanned telephone call? Maybe it’s a referral – but schedule it so you’re not interrupted.

Kick the habit strategy: Don’t answer the phone unless it’s scheduled and have someone else check voice messages and send you the summary. Ask them to schedule a time-block on your calendar where you make return phone calls each day.

People

This especially applies if you work in an office environment. People “just popping in” with questions, conversation or ongoing chitchat that can drag on for quite some time that constantly interrupts you. Often times we get caught up in about talking about things that are not really valuable conversation. It doesn’t mean be a hermit – but it is a major distraction.

Kick the habit strategy: If you’re working with other co-workers, implement “quiet-time” hours each day in the office where say from 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm is just for quiet productive time. The time outside that block is for meetings, discussions, talking, etc.

Thoughts

Your mind runs all over the place as entrepreneurs. Let’s face it – we’re all guilty of loving the “bright shiny object” and it always distracts us. We’re always thinking of something “else” and that leads into some other different thoughts and ideas that carry you on and on. Focus time is essential.

Kick the habit strategy: Create an environment where you can minimize the “thought distractions.” Perhaps it’s removing all the clutter and stuff in your office or work in a space that has very little distractions where you can sit and really focus without your mind wandering from one idea to the other.

So, it’s time to focus!

Put some of these simple “anti time-wasting” strategies in place and get back to working on the stuff that really matters.

Listen, more of the same is just more of the same – so if you want to change, you’ve got to make a change. It sounds trivial – but it works – and will allow you to focus more and accomplish what you’re truly meant here to do!

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ShannonNo Gravatar November 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

And who can forget social media! You sign on to check tweets or messages and can easily get sucked in with liking status updates, sharing icons, etc. Any suggestions for how to manage social media as a solopreneur?

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Siedah MitchumNo Gravatar November 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

So many distractions around. Self-control is key. I have to control myself and stop myself from responding to so many things that call for my attention at any given time of the day.

I will take your advice Derek about answering e-mails and phone calls. I usually respond as it comes in and that can a bit overwhelming. I know not every message is an emergency.

@shannon I use hootesuite to schedule my posts out on social media. I agreed to check in at 8am, Noon, and 5pm before I close up shop to respond to comments and messages. It’s an awesome tool to have!

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