Avoid these 8 entrepreneurial time-wasters

Written on Nov 13, 2017

Here are eight time-wasters to avoid for a more productive and efficient workday:

1. Being unorganized
If you come into work every day without a clear plan, the hours will fly by without anything to show for it. At the end of each day, assess the items that must be accomplished tomorrow.

Assemble a list of priorities with the understanding that other urgent issues may come up later.

2. Procrastinating
Everyone has something they'd rather not do, but putting those tasks off for another time is the easy way out. Procrastination can easily become a persistent habit, resulting in overlooked items that should be addressed (until they grow into a full fledged crisis). Set aside a dedicated amount of time to accomplish tedious, but essential, tasks and then focus on other matters.

Ask any veteran entrepreneur for tips on starting a business and time management will likely be near the top of the list. Your energy and creativity may feel limitless, but your time isn't. If you waste time on activities that are either tangential or irrelevant to your enterprise, you can never get it back.

3. Multitasking
We're all guilty of switching our attention from one task to another within minutes (or even seconds), but studies show that pausing to check social media accounts requires more time to refocus on the task at hand. Train yourself to set aside blocks of time to attend to individual projects without distraction.

4. Micromanaging employees
Business owners who fail to hire wisely often end up sacrificing valuable time overseeing workers’ every move. If you find yourself in this situation, it's preferable to let go of employees who need hand-holding and recruit candidates with the experience and skills to work productively on their own, or get these employees the training needed to work autonomously. Micromanaging can also be a symptom of managerial inexperience; if an employee is up to the task and you’re still micromanaging, recognize that your approach is stifling both the business’ growth and the employee’s growth. In this case, it may be time to take a management training course.

5. Calling unnecessary meetings
Any list of time management tips usually includes an admonition to cut down on needless meetings or impromptu conversations when essential tasks need to get completed. It's hard to say no to hallway chats, but unless some tangible benefit comes of it, recognize that it’s wasted time.

6. Putting out fires
This time-waster is related to micromanaging, in that you're forever at the mercy of employees coming to you with urgent requests to fix a problem. Delegate these daily “emergencies” to the right people and reserve your time for focusing on strategic activities.

7. Checking social media
Maintaining an active social media presence is critically important to your brand, but that doesn't mean you have to be one responsible for making it happen. Assign a qualified employee to monitor and feed your social media accounts daily.

8. Overworking
Working around the clock is not an efficient use of your time. Long hours invariably result in sluggish, unfocused performance — and your health and your personal life will suffer as a result. Try not to bring work home with you, but when it’s unavoidable, set aside a few hours away from the phone and laptop to recharge your batteries for tomorrow.

Paychex, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business.

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