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The Top 10 Time Wasters for Any Small Business Owner

Have you ever glanced at the clock and thought, “where did the time go?” There are only so many hours in each day. If your to-do list looks overwhelmingly impossible, you might be guilty of spending too much of your day on time wasting tasks.

Here are the top 10 time wasters for any small business owner.

The Top 10 Time Wasters for Any Small Business Owner

#1. Meetings

Meetings are a necessary evil. You need to keep your team on the same page. You need regular updates on what’s happening in each of your projects. But too often, meetings get drawn out, stealing away valuable minutes in your day.

Plan meetings carefully. If you just need a quick update, hold a stand up meeting for a maximum of ten minutes. Don’t give your team the chance to sit down. Instead, run through the room in rapid fire getting only the vital information that you need to keep everyone on the same page.

If you need a longer meeting, set an agenda. Don’t go in blind or you’re certain to get off track and waste time. Stick to the topics that you must cover and avoid veering too far off course with stories or brainstorming sessions.

#2. Legal Issues

Legal issues are best left to lawyers who understand the law inside and out. End of story. The more you try to DIY your legal documents and cases, the more you’ll put you and your business in hot water. Leave the legal issues to the people who know business law and can guide you in the right direction.

#3. Social Media

It’s tempting. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – they’re all so easily accessible to you while you’re on your computer during the day. Yet the moment you land on one of these websites, you’ve stolen away valuable minutes from your day.

Test yourself to see how much time you’re wasting on social media. Set a timer each time you head over to one of these websites. You might surprise yourself.

To avoid wasting excessive time on social media, set a time limit for each day. Promise yourself that you’ll only spend one hour a day on social media for work and personal tasks. When that hour is up, close the windows and stop your snooping until the next day.

#4. Email

Do you have automatic notifications that tell you when a new email arrives? One minute you’re laser focused on a task and the next you’re checking your email to see what update just popped into your inbox. It’s distracting.

Turn off automatic email updates to force yourself to stay focused.

Many business owners also make a rule for themselves that they will only check their email intermittently throughout the day. For example, set up a schedule where you only look at your inbox first thing in the morning, right after lunch, and just before you leave.

#5. Accounting

Invoicing, payroll, and chasing down bad debt suck away the hours in your day. These tasks are vital to running any business, but they’re also time consuming – not to mention boring.

Outsource these tasks to a professional. Hiring a bookkeeper will help you spend less time worrying about the financials in your business and spend more time building your profits.

If you’re not ready to hire a bookkeeper, use an online accounting tool. Wave Accounting, Freshbooks, and other apps will ease your invoicing burdens by following up with overdue invoices automatically. They’ll also give you a fast overview of your debits and credits, so you’re always in the know about what’s happening in your business bank account.

#6. Scheduling

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to your employee’s schedules. You must juggle time off requests while ensuring you have enough people at work to keep your business running smoothly. If you’re traveling, that task becomes even more difficult.

Wish you could make your life a little easier and stop draining time trying to figure out your schedule? There’s an app for that.

Employee scheduling software allows you to manage your schedule on the fly. You can track important details, such as vacation requests and available employees. This way, you spend less time trying to organize everyone’s personal agenda and more time running your business.

#7. Note Taking

You bounce between meetings throughout your workday. When you finally get a moment to sit down at your desk, you’re filled with papers, clutter, and an organizational nightmare.

Sorting through all your papers to try to find the tasks that you need to accomplish takes longer than finishing the work itself.

Hiring an assistant is one option, but it’s not always feasible for small businesses. Another option is to get a virtual assistant in the form of an app for your tablet or smartphone.

Applications like Evernote allow you to jot down ideas, tasks, and other notes about projects. When you’re ready to tackle your to-do list, everything is sorted and easy to find, so you waste less time searching and spend more time working.

#8. Shipping

Taking a trip to the post office can eat away at your day. If you work in a business where you have to ship items to your customers, work with a shipping company to find a cheaper, faster option. Many shipping companies these days will come to your office and pick up boxes. Setting up your account and printing labels on the fly will save you hours of time each week.

#9. IT

Small business owners are often tempted to try to fix problems themselves. Sound familiar?

IT problems are one of the first things owners try to fix and one of the last things people outsource. But there’s a problem with this. The more you try to bandage up a major IT problem, the worse it gets over time. Suddenly, you’re left with slow or dead computers.

Outsource your IT management before it gets too late. You’ll stay up and running longer and get more done in the long run for less money.

#10. Procurement

Looking for that perfect office space? Need a new vendor? Sifting through proposals can eat away at your valuable time.

To help, ask your network for recommendations. Often, you’ll find someone who has experience with a person they loved or hated. You can learn from their experience and move faster in the right direction toward hiring the perfect vendor for your company.

Takeaway

Don’t let your workday get away from you by wasting time on tasks that can easily be outsourced to another vendor or to an app. Make your life easier by organizing your workday. You’ll be amazed at how much time you save.

Images: ”Stop Wasting Time concept/Shutterstock.com

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Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine's Top 500 Software Companies 2004-2007 and again in 2010, 2013, 2014, and 2016. http://www.schedulebase.com

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Comments
  • Thanks for another great post Jon. I sometimes find meetings to be a waste of time as they are just a lot of talking and no “doing”. Your list is spot on so thanks for sharing it with the TYB readers. I look forward to your next post for us.

  • Thanks for the feedback Sian! Yes, meetings, if not managed properly, can be all talk and no action. Meetings without agendas, timelines and accountability can be informative, but will result in no real progress.

  • I hope I am not wasting my time, reading this post! 😉 Joking aside, as a former purchaser, I like your tip on procurement! 🙂

  • carry

    Love your post. Meetings and emails always cost lots of time. Never put emails checking in the mornings. Schedule is not a very difficult thing as using an organizer software.

  • Thanks for the comment Martin, and I sure hope not! 🙂

  • Claudia San

    team building raleigh nc is also way much important in this kind of regards.. and definitely its not a time wasting 🙂 worth reading post!

  • No time wasted! 😉 May I ask the story about your company name?




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