Create more time in your day by eliminating these time-wasting activities
No one pays you for downtime. No one pays you to sit around.
To say a business owner’s time is valuable is an understatement, because time is often the only resource an entrepreneur has. It must be spent wisely if you plan to advance on your goals, remain true to your priorities, and make money.
Wasting time is all too easy because every little task seems both important and urgent. It can be extremely difficult to know which tasks deserve our attention. Plus, left unchecked, social media can be an unwelcome source of constant distraction.
Free your schedule and your mind by tackling these 3 common time-wasters.
- Conference calls
Conference calls may seem like a good idea, but most end up wasting your time. It’s easy to burn through one, two, three or more hours a day on ineffective and unimportant conference calls.
You can eliminate or reduce the amount of your time spend on conference calls by:
- Asking the person organizing the conference to send an email agenda. Review it to see if you can answer their questions or address their issues without a conference.
- Limiting the call to 20 minutes – and sticking to it. If people think they have an hour of your time, they will fill it with useless banter. A short time limit forces conference participants to get to the point and prepare for the meeting in advance.
- Refusing to schedule conference calls. Opt instead to communicate with your team by email or via collaboration platforms such as Basecamp or Huddle.
- Answering every email
In general, emails are an important and effective mode of communication. An email can contain a lot of information that the recipient can consume when they wish, and can contain helpful links or attachments. Email threads help us to keep track of replies. We can view the same email from multiple devices. Emails can be easily shared with select team members and easily archived for future reference.
However, not every email is valuable to your business. Replying to every email may not be practical for a couple of reasons.
- Depending on the nature of your business, you might receive 200 or more emails per day – too many for any normal person to thoughtfully respond.
- The emails you receive may be wasting your time because they don’t advance your business objectives. It’s just noise.
- A task associated with an email can divert your attention from the important work you’re doing right now.
What can you do about emails?
- Check emails only three times a day. Minimize distractions associated with email by checking mail in the morning, midday and late afternoon only.
- Hit the delete key. You may not need to address an email at all.
- If you believe it is necessary to reply to all emails, consider delegating that responsibility to a virtual assistant or employee so you are free to work on building your business.
- Use folders. It’s easy to set up email folders to help you organize your email traffic in to actionable files. For example, a “reading” file of emails may be something you can handle during a quieter moment.
- Unplanned social media and online content
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media networks are designed to engage you as long as possible. A short online visit easily turns into an hour or more as you consume fascinating articles, browse Twitter feeds or watch online videos.
Unless you are using social media to promote your business (and you should), get ruthless about the time you spend there. Login and do what you intended to do (such as tweet a link to an article on your blog) and log out. Use a timer to limit your social media time and designate a certain amount of time every day to be on social media networks.
Or, delegate the responsibility to someone else.
Time and priority management is a huge concern for all business owners. There will always be distractions and competing demands for your time. Embrace any apps or services that can help you to do more with less time.