Notorious time wasters derail your business and time management strategy at every turn.

Even if you spend a fair chunk of time on business critical tasks you never achieve optimal growth by wasting time on the below activities.

Focused, successful entrepreneurs review their business processes frequently to trim time wasting tasks.

Do the same to streamline your operation.

1: Email

Email may be the biggest of common time wasters at work for the sheer attention it grabs in the minds of most entrepreneurs. Checking email 20 or even 50 times daily is not unheard of in business circles. Every 2 to 5 seconds spent visiting your inbox adds up to hours over the course of months. Obsessively checking email eats up precious time you should spend on more business-critical, bottom line tasks.

time management

Decide to check email a few times daily. Unless you work in emergency services – where your phone would be the prime means of contact anyway – no email literally carries a life or death consequence based on reading and replying to the email within 5 minutes. Have posture by allowing for up to a 24 hour lag time in responding to emails. Everything can wait one business day and if someone is so filled with fear manifest as impatience that they complain about your slow response time, they’d be a terrible business partner, customer or client, anyway.

2: Meetings

Jeff Bezos of Amazon never invites more people to a meeting than he can feed with two pizzas. His two pizza rule ensures lean, mean, effective meetings free of time-wasting bloat common in most meetings. Bezos’ time management skills helped him build an iconic empire.

Business meetings seem to be a notorious time waster based on the sheer volume of people invited to attend in addition to a general lack of clarity around the meeting focus. Save your time and energy. Invite only a few people to meetings. Tighten up the get together by allowing only 20 or 30 minutes for the meeting, or less time. Expound on 2-3 basic talking points. Streamline meetings to save hours of time over months.

3: Non-Essential Business Tasks

Failing businesses give a lion’s share of attention and energy to non-essential business tasks. Growing your bottom line becomes impossible if you and your team give your time and energy predominantly to actions that do not grow your overall business.

Imagine running an online business. You advise your team to spend 8 hours daily commenting genuinely on top blogs in your niche. Although genuine blog commenting opens doors, you’d be better off engaging in a company-wide guest posting campaign to drive business. Caring for your current customers is another smart business-growing task you’d be wise engaging in, versus blindly pitching potential clients and customers via cold emails.

4: Poring Over Metrics

Engaging in a healthy analysis of your business metrics gives you clarity, focus and a sense of direction about your venture. But spending 5 hours daily frantically number crunching wastes your time on outcomes. The bulk of your business success rests on mindfully following processes, not worriedly obsessing over outcomes. Be about the process to build your business on a granite-like foundation. Business metrics may nudge you in a new direction or perhaps you move in a different direction on careful analysis. Never fall down the rabbit hole by wasting precious hours daily obsessing over numbers.

Crunch a little then create a lot. Success ultimately depends on generously serving your customers, not spending 4-6 hours daily trying to read the tea leaves inherent in your business metrics.

5: Obsessing over Competition

Does your business competition pay your bills? Do competitors grow your business? Stop obsessing over entrepreneurs in the same niche because doing so wastes your precious time on someone or some venture completely out of your control. Entrepreneurs fear competition eating into their market share but spending hours obsessing over this fear is a foolish use of critical time and energy. Learn a little bit from your competitor’s success then get busy building your business on rock solid fundamentals.

Observe competitors as how you’d watch a speed limit sign as you cruise by. Learn lessons quickly then move on. Never treat competition like a final business destination, fixating on their every move. Discern a few powerful lessons from their behavior and move on quickly to tending your own business shop.

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