Time can be wasted unintentionally by anyone without realizing it. It happens to everyone, but do entrepreneurs waste time?
After years in the business world, I’ve come to realize that it’s a resounding yes. We often find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of tasks that seem important but are actually draining our productivity.
From my experience and expertise, I’ve identified five common time killers that entrepreneurs, including myself, often fall victim to.
In this article, I’ll share these pitfalls and provide practical advice on how to avoid them, ensuring that you, like me, can focus on what truly matters for your business.
UPDATED: JULY 15, 2023
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Entrepreneurs’ top time killers: How do we deal with it?
Regardless of whether you’re distracted or not delegating your tasks, you can take action now. Moreover, I’m going to give some of my best tips for entrepreneurs to get the most out of their time.
- Failing To Prioritize Your Tasks
- Ineffective Communication With Your Team
- Getting Distracted By The Internet & Technology
- Not Delegating Repetitive Work
- Lack Of Organization Or Structure
Do Entrepreneurs Waste Time?
Entrepreneurs can often waste time on tasks that don’t directly contribute to their business growth. This includes getting distracted by technology, failing to delegate repetitive tasks, and not prioritizing their work effectively. By recognizing these time killers and implementing strategies to combat them, entrepreneurs can use their time more efficiently and focus on tasks that truly matter to their business.
Failing to prioritize your tasks
One of the most important things an entrepreneur needs to do is prioritize their work tasks.
If they don’t do it, it can be difficult to figure out what needs to get done first.
It can lead you to fall behind on deadlines or scramble up work at the last minute.
Working on things at the last minute can lead to poor work (or a sense of feeling rushed). Especially if it’s work that needs attention, it’s not the best practice for entrepreneurs.
When there’s a sense of urgency, prioritization is key to knocking out work that needs to get done. Everything else can be saved for later.
Best Tip: Write out a list of three priorities to fulfill daily
It may sound like an extra step, but writing out your tasks can be very helpful.
Planning out your day (or an entire week) helps give you figure out what has to get done sooner than later.
Without a list of tasks, some people will just work on what’s convenient or the easiest task to work on.
One thing I do most days is write a shortlist of the priorities I need to get done. I usually write out 2-3 things that I have to get done in moving my business forward.
There are some days when I want to do more, but I can only do so much in one day.
If I can manage to get three things accomplished, I’ll be satisfied. This approach has helped me out a lot when writing effective to-do lists.
Ineffective communication with your team
Regardless of the type of business, communication is necessary to get things straight across the board. Without it, any business can easily break down and fail.
It’s best to keep it moderate, rather than too much or very little of it.
But it does matter when your business is not growing or making significant revenue.
When you don’t communicate well with your employees, you end up wasting time explaining things over again.
Or if you do communicate with them, make sure to clarify questions or concerns your team may not understand.
It’s good practice to explain things clearly. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but getting straight to the point is necessary.
Why Do Most Entrepreneurs Quit?
Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey filled with ups and downs. Many entrepreneurs quit because they face obstacles such as financial difficulties, lack of market demand, or personal issues. However, it’s important to remember that these challenges are part of the journey. Persistence, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from mistakes are key traits that can help entrepreneurs overcome these hurdles and succeed.
Best Tip: Determine what works best for your business
Determine what kind of message will work best for your business.
For example, is it better to have regular meetings each week? Or is email a better approach?
It can vary, but anything simple such as email announcements is all you may need.
As for myself, I prefer to communicate in writing since I have a strong work ethic.
The majority of the time, I find things to be explained clearly when I see emails about a specific topic.
Also, one-on-one meetings work well because I ask a lot of questions, and maybe clarify what an individual is communicating to me.
I do my best to understand what’s expected between myself and a group of employees.
It may be easier said than done, but self-monitoring is critical to time management. It is always good to make it a regular habit to check in on your time spend on some activities. It’s worth the challenge to put in the effort, as it can make a difference down the road.Eric T. Seil (Site Owner of notimekillers.com)
Getting distracted by the internet & technology
Like any other person, an entrepreneur can get easily distracted through the web or an electronic device.
Technology is essential to business, but it does not do what it’s supposed to: assist us with our work. People’s behavior is too often controlled by it.
Business owners are not exempt from distractions either. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole when you’re bombarded with text messages or email notifications from your computer.
The same applies to checking social media, where your time might not be best spent.
Sure, you can be online for business and marketing purposes. But you might get taken away by the news or checking out personal stuff once in a while.
Best Tip: Self-monitor your personal time
It may be easier said than done, but self-monitoring is critical to time management. It’s always good to make it a regular habit to check in on your time spend on some activities.
It’s worth the challenge to put in the effort, as it can make a difference down the road.
Some simple things you can try out include timers that are set up on your computer or smartphone.
It’s not that hard to set a timer for 15-20 minutes to check your social media accounts.
Without it, you might end up scrolling through Facebook for more than an hour (which has happened to me before!).
Other things you can check out include time management apps.
The ones that I’ve used include Rescuetime and Freedom, which help monitor your time spent on websites.
They can be very helpful and limits your time on distracting websites when you intend to be doing productive work.
Not delegating repetitive work
Delegating is very important to execute as you scale your business. If you don’t do it properly, you’ll spend more time on tasks that don’t add value to your business.
In other words, doing more routine work that does not get your business to grow.
By not delegating your tasks, you’ll have more work to do that can take up your day.
In some cases, even an entire week if not planned out can have an impact on your work.
Going back to the deadline point, it may be more challenging to get things done in a short period of time.
Also, it’s harder to balance your time spent working “in” the business and “on” the business.
Those are phrases that entrepreneurs think about all the time while growing their businesses.
Best Tip: When the time is right, delegate and outsource whenever possible
When you have more work responsibilities, don’t overwhelm yourself when you need help. If there’s work you’re not really good at (but necessary for the business), assign those tasks to people that do very well with that workload.
Or simply put, assign tasks to others that can do a better job at it than you.
Common tasks include administrative work and basic customer support. Those types of tasks should be left to others instead of you as a business owner.
Especially if you hate grunt work, you want to give that to someone else to do. If you can’t do it, try automating it whenever possible.
What Is The Hardest Thing For Entrepreneurs?
The hardest thing for entrepreneurs often varies depending on their individual circumstances and the nature of their business. However, common challenges include raising capital, finding the right team, dealing with uncertainty, and maintaining a work-life balance. Perhaps the most difficult aspect is managing time effectively, which is why it’s crucial to identify and avoid common time killers.
Lack of organization or structure
Here’s a scenario: You walk into your messy office and find papers and files scattered all over.
There are still a lot of things you need to tackle. Workplaces and offices that are cluttered can cause frustration and headaches.
Consequently, you end up spending more time looking for things (and rearranging them as well).
When that happens, you lose time getting straight to your priorities. More so, it’s unintentionally putting off your important work until later in the day.
Best Tip: Leave out things that need to get done the day before
To make things easier, it’s always good to put out work that needs to get done the day before.
Before calling it a day, lay out any paperwork or things you’ll need when you start your day tomorrow.
When the next day comes, you’ll know what needs to get done first thing in the morning (or whenever you start working).
For me, this practice helps me tremendously as I get to work right away.
Also, it is simple for anyone to do whether you work in an office or a workspace at home.
The last thing you need is papers piled all over your desk (unorganized). As I mentioned, it’s less frustrating and stressful when you’re more organized this way.
A relevant article from notimekillers.com
Read next on “What Do You Do To Effectively Manage Your Time? Top 7 Tips”, to learn some effective tips to manage your time better.
Any type of entrepreneur can waste time on things that don’t matter. Especially when they’re not prioritizing their work, they can end up working more than they should.
By laying out these common time killers, it can be easier to recognize why that happens. Hopefully, these can solutions can help any entrepreneur manage their time efficiently.
Also, these tips can help anyone grow their business and take it to the next level. It’s all about making an effort and making them good habits.
Your Turn: How do you tackle common business problems?
Does time management pose a problem for you as a business owner? Do you engage in any of the time killers mentioned earlier? What are you going to do to address these problems?
Your feedback and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. If you have a comment you would like to leave, I’ll gladly respond back to you as soon as possible.
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Eric is the owner and chief editor of notimekillers.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.