We’ve all seen it: The new entrepreneur who has a great idea but spends a year or more coming up with a business name, an expensive logo and a well-designed office space rather than grinding to get their products or services to market.
Many new business owners tend to waste a lot of time on work that can be delegated or even eliminated. And even though things like checking social media, replying to emails and browsing the internet may seem like a harmless waste of a few minutes, it is important to remember that time is money.
In order to be successful, entrepreneurs must learn how to manage their time well
, which will require addressing the top ways you might actually be wasting time. Here are six time-wasting activities every entrepreneur needs to watch out for, which can hinder their progress.
Not Delegating Routine Tasks
There are many reasons why entrepreneurs don’t delegate, from wanting to do everything themselves to not trusting their employees to accomplish the assigned tasks. However, they need to realize that they cannot run a company alone, and they must hire staff with the required skills and delegate certain tasks to them.
One way to identify which tasks can and should be delegated is to write down all the things you do at work over a defined period — for example, one month. The next step is to identify the top three tasks on the list — responsibilities where you bring the most value and that no one else can accomplish. Once you have these in order, delegate the other tasks — hire people our outsource, if you need to — or at least reduce the time you spend on them.
Spending Too Much Time Online
People waste surprising amounts of time surfing the web, often unrelated to work, especially social media. A study by Timothy Pychyl, a Carleton University psychologist, links spending time on the internet with procrastination — 47 percent of people’s time online is spent procrastinating, which Pychyl calls a conservative estimate since the study was conducted before such social networks as Facebook and Twitter became popular.
Therefore, it is crucial for business owners (and their employees) to disconnect from the internet for extended periods, unless absolutely necessary for work-related tasks.
Not Scheduling Time to Respond to Messages
Phone calls, emails, social media messages and texts can not only take up huge amounts of time, but they also distract people from other tasks. On average, office workers receive at least 200 messages a day and spend about two-and-a-half hours reading and replying to emails
. In addition, it takes up to 23 minutes to refocus efforts after just one interruption, according to a UC Irvine study
Therefore, instead of constantly checking email and other messages, block off three or four times during the day to respond to messages so you can increase your productivity.
Attending Useless Meetings
Senior executives, on average, spend more than two days a week in meetings, according to a 2014 study by Bain & Company
. The study also found that 15 percent of a firm’s time is spent on meetings, a number that has consistently gone up since 2008.
While meetings accomplish important tasks by keeping the lines of communication open, most meetings are a waste of time. So, before calling for a meeting or agreeing to attend one, ask yourself if the issue(s) at hand could be resolved some other way.
Always Trying to Innovate
Being creative, imaginative, innovative and passionate about solving problems can be great entrepreneurial qualities. But as you work on your company, dozens of random ideas and new directions will pop up, which will excite and distract you as well as pull your thoughts in different directions. It is important to remember that most of these ideas will end up wasting your time. Therefore, you must resist the urge to follow every instinct you have and instead, maintain your focus on why you started the business in the first place.
Unwillingness to Outsource
Every organization believes it can do everything on its own by keeping everything in-house. This, however, can cost them time, money and expertise. By outsourcing to the right company
, business owners can save time and money while gaining several other benefits, allowing them to focus solely on growing their bottom lines.