10 Top Time Wasters In Your Business & How To Stop Them

Episode 82


About The Show

Time is a precious resource that we all need more of, particularly in business.
If we waste it we can never get it back.
If we use it wisely, we can achieve many great results with it.
In today’s fast-paced world however, there can be a never-ending list of things all calling for our attention with never enough time to do them all.
In this episode, I share with you my top 10 time wasters in business and specifically what you can do to stop them.

What You'll Learn!

  • Why minimising time wastage is crucial to your business success.
  • Learn my top 10 time wasters in business.
  • Why they make the list of the top 10
  • Importantly how to stop them from eating up your precious time and start being more productive.

Links Mentioned

How To Overcome Confidence Blocks In Business

Join other business owners in our Free Facebook Community all sharing their trials, ideas and wins in business. It's a fantastic community of driven and supportive entrepreneurs.



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Full Episode Transcript

Good day, good day and welcome to the Business Made Easy Podcast, where we make business easy. Jason here for another week of the podcast that is all about growing your business, growing your bottom line profit and giving you a better life as a result. Thank you so much for joining me wherever you are in the world. I hope life is treating you well and, uh, yeah, things are going well in your business and- and pumping along nicely.

And, uh, this week, for me, has been an absolutely crazy week. We are going through some major IT changes in the accounting side of my business. We’re implementing some new digital state-of-the-art systems that are going to make life easier. But as with all these technologies, what seems like a good idea when you start, always when you start scratching the surface, you do tend to find that there’s a lot more to it than just turning a switch and it- and it’s all working.

But nonetheless, we’re getting there. We’re having a good time and we’re getting there. All the team were on-board and implementing it so it’s, um, it’s coming along nicely. So hopefully by the 30th of June, which is in three months time, we should be totally up-to-date with our technology and systems is good, not the way behind.

But you know, things just need an update in your business from time to time. One of the things that I like to do, I’m technology mad, I love technology and new gadgets but most importantly from a business perspective, uh, always try and not stay at the head of the game, but certainly- in terms of technology, but certainly I want to be one step back from where the latest is. Just so that it’s being tested and we know what’s gonna work and whether it’s right or not for us. But, uh, yeah, so that’s what we’re doing, we’re having a bit of an update and spring clean, so to speak. Which is always a good thing.

All right. I got a great episode today because we’re going to be talking about time wasting and the Top 10 time wasters that basically every- I see in a lot of businesses. So I’ve listed that 10 that I see as appropriate and important for you as a business owner and- and I want you to find this on the list today and hopefully, you’re not falling victim to what they are.

But before I get into it, if you haven’t already done so, join our free Facebook group. You can do so over at businessmadeeasypodcast.com/community. So that’s business madeeasypodcast.com/community. And join the free group over there and jump on-board with everybody who is sharing ideas around their businesses and helping each other out. Great community of people and all doing amazing things. And free to join, which is a great prize. I’m over there, helping you out wherever I can as well. So, uh, yeah, I’d love to see you over there in our Facebook group.

And also just so do know, if you don’t already, uh, that you can listen to the podcast now and grab the subscription on Spotify which is a great listening platform to listen to the show as well. So, um, uh, we’re now on Spotify which is going well.

All right. Let’s get into time wasters. So let’s stop wasting time and get in- get into time wasters, the Top 10 Time Wasters. And I’m gonna list this today, not in any particular order of priority but I will point out where things are more important than others.

But what sort of led me to this topic today was that we are- told on me that we are near end of March, that’s the first quarter of 2019 finished. And I know myself hand on hair, as I tell you, that I have not achieved all that I wanted to achieve in this first quarter yet. So I thought, “Wow, let’s do a bit of a drawdown and focus on, um, time wasting and areas that we can do to stop wasting time or where we can–” It’s that whole thing the time is- I have spoken about this before, is that time is one of those resources we can just not get back. If we waste today, that day is gone. There’s no more Wednesdays in that week. That Wednesday is gone if you waste it. So, you know, it’s so, so important that we use it and use our time as best as possible and remove distractions and wastage from that.

Because just imagine if you could– No, I don’t want you to dwell on this and get all depressed, ’cause I have to stop myself from doing this. But just imagine if you could get all the time you wasted in the year, and- and have that back again and do something constructive for your business, how different would your business be? How much more profitable would your business be if you implemented some of the much-needed strategies that you’ve been talking about doing for some time but have always claimed to not have the time but- or maybe you’re wasting the time?

So, really, really important area. So I want you to listen in good today and come with me on this journey as we explore time wasters in our respective businesses. And the very first one, I guess, forget about- or overlook the importance of, and that is the importance of having clear, actionable goals. Setting clear, actionable goals. So the first time wasters, it comes about from not setting clear, actionable goals. And by not having clear, actionable goals means that you’ve got no God, you’ve got no road to follow, you’ve got no boundaries and focus. Focus is, I guess, the- the keyword there. Focus. Without goals to focus on, um, you can sort of just do anything. Can you come in just through a day and– I don’t know you ever had a day at work where you come into the office and, you know, all that day is like it’s where I forget to do, uh, a to-do list or some sort of pre-plan for the day on what I want to get- I want to achieve for the day. But invariably, what happens is you achieve nothing. You achieve nothing for that day because you wander from this task to this task. And you get- you get- it’s one of those days you get home and you feel like you’ve really not achieved a lot. So lack of clear actionable goals is a huge, huge time out for people.

And we want to have smart goals. So when we’re talking about goals, actionable goals, we want goals that are specific. So the “S” in smart stands for specific, we want a specific goal. “I am going to achieve this.”

We want it measurable. What does it look like? What success of achieving that goal look like? How can you measure your success with that goal? So that’s the “M” for- in smart goals. M, measurable.

Attainable. Is it achievable? You know, is it something that we can be? Let’s just say I wake up today and I go, “Okay. I’ve got to go and I wanna be a, uh, a neurosurgeon by, um, by tomorrow or next week.” Well, that’s not really an attainable or achievable goal, is it? That’s not something that I can actually carry out. I need to do years of study and work and break it down that way. So make sure your goal is attainable or achievable.

The “R” inSMART goal stands for relevant. Make sure the goal is relevant to your big picture, to your business plan. Now if you haven’t got a business plan, I cannot urge you enough to have a business plan in place, get in touch with me if you don’t have one because you really should have one. And I’m more than happy to help you in getting one of those together. But you’re business plan’s gonna set the big picture for you as to where it is that you wanna go. And your goals fall within that. Um, they form part of that. So you wanna make sure that the goals are setting a relevant to your big picture vision and where you want to go with your business and with your life ultimately, as well. So make sure it’s a relevant goal.

And most importantly, make sure it’s time-bound by when. So we want to make sure that it’s measurable, so we’re going to do this. It’s attainable, within a, you know, reasonable time frame. But also, it’s time-bound. So it’s not endless, it’s not open. And you don’t say something back to my neurosurgery example, “I’m gonna be a neurosurgeon one day.” Or, “I’m gonna be a neurosurgeon, full stop.” You wanted to be- I wanna be a neurosurgeon by this time. And I don’t know why I pick neurosurgeon, but anyway, I did and clearly, I’m not doing neurosurgery because I’m- I’m a business coach and- and I can’t.

All right. So back to that. That’s lack of goals, number one. Point number one is we wanna make sure that we’ve got actionable goals and we’re not wasting our time without them. And if you haven’t got goals or you haven’t been setting goals for yourself and for your business, I really encourage you to do that.

Something that has been really valuable for me and, uh, and a tip that you might be able to help, and I do believe there’s a book on this that actually write about this. Well, I haven’t read the book, to be honest, but I do believe there is a book on this.

And it’s to break my year down into the sort of three monthly sort of blocks. Like 90 day blocks. And I’ve been setting my goals based around that. So I’ve got my master business plan which is my top level vision and goals of where I wanna go and what I want to achieve. It’s either– And I’ve broken that down into 90-day sort of blocks of, “Okay, this is the first lot of things that I need to do. First lot of goals that- and actionable goals I need to do. In this block, um, to move the needle to the next 90 days.”

And it’s quite good because it’s not- you’re not looking the year in such a big entirety, it’s actually breaking this down into smaller bite-size manageable pieces and doesn’t seem so daunting over things you got to do. So take that tip away if you’re not doing that and try it. I was trying to get the book and, um, and I’ll share it in the Facebook group so you can- you’ll be able to get it- get, um, more details about it over the businessmadeeasypodcast.com/community if you go over there.

All right. Number two. Now, this is a biggie and I think everybody suffers– Well, not everybody, I know there are people that are very- a lot more disciplined than myself. But the big one is social media consumption. And our love affair with our mobile phones and being on social media and just wasting time on distractions with social media.

Now, an interesting statistic for you with this, because everyone is, “I don’t do it very often, isn’t very often.” One of the things I’m actually doing in this space is going through and doing big deep cleanse on my mobile phone. Getting rid of any apps I don’t use, parking apps that I don’t need. And I’m gonna get rid of social media, actually, off my phone entirely anyway because I really find that you just filling time and waste time that they could be done spent doing something else.

But here’s an interesting thing, if we think that people don’t use their phones very often, now this statistic goes back a little bit so it is even bigger now I would think where the growth in mobile technology. But in the US in 2017, the average time spent on a mobile device was 2.3 hours a day. So you imagine what you could do with the additional 2.3 hours a day. Now let’s just say, of that 2.3 hours, let’s just say one hour of it was spent wasted on social media, and the other- we’ll give them the other 1.3 hours making business phone calls or whatever is in front. What’s all for work purposes? What– That’s an hour a day that is being wasted. And you times that by five days a week, that’s 5 hours. You multiply that by 45 working weeks in a year, or how many weeks you work in a year, that’s a swag of time that is just wasted and you can’t get that back. So really a big one.

You know, I love Facebook and Instagram and all those things as much as anybody, and you know, seeing what’s going in the world, but really, we need to look at how much time we’re wasting on those.

I really do like the, um, system on the Apple’s where they will- and I’m not sure if Android do it but I will give you the- your screen time that you wasted or that you’ve used in a week. And that’s quite alarming when you set that and see how much you have wasted on social media.

And there is also a lockout feature. So what you can do say, “If I go over my quota for the day, it will lock you out from certain apps as well. So that’s a pretty cool feature because- because you can set out a, “I wanna look at Facebook ’cause I want to catch up with my friends and family, etc.” which is it’s a great tool for doing that. “But hey, I don’t want to spend half an hour a day tops on doing that.” so you can set that. And if you finally going over that, well, you’re clearly sending- spending too much time. So that’s a great time-saving tip. That’s a focus area of lost time for sure. Absolutely.

All right. The third one, moving along, is procrastination and shifting your priorities. So procrastination, we spoke about this in the last episode. Actually, episode 81. So if you go to businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode81, you will hear more about this topic.

But I’m a firm believer that procrastination comes from a couple of things. One, lack of goals and lack of clear focus. But secondly, and what I suspect about in the last episode, comes down to us not having the confidence. So having this confidence blocks to achieve what are these we- the success that we’re looking for.

But procrastination is a huge time waster, ’cause if we’re not working on what we should be working on in the capacity that we should be working on, we’re not gonna get our vision, we’re not gonna get our goals, we’re just gonna waste time that we cannot get back. So that’s a huge one so plan your day carefully, stay focused and don’t deviate from your goals and what you set- say again to do. So show up and do what you say you’re gonna do and don’t procrastinate and enjoy that success. You know, share that success and- and I really do encourage that you listen to that last episode 81 if you haven’t done so already.

All right. Another big one. Number four– Coming in at number four is interruptions. So interruptions can come from a number of places. They can come from humans. [laughs] So work, colleagues, or people you’re working with. That can be a big-time zap. And technology can be a big-time zap of interruption or interruption time zap as well.

And I’ll deal with humans first. Basically, we need to get people respecting your time. And we’ve come across this a lot in the accounting space because basically, accounting is a very mind-intensive activity, it takes a lot of concentration and forth. So for that reason, we all have our individual offices.

But one of the rules that we have in our offices is that you don’t just go on walking and start talking to another colleague about whatever it is that you want to, uh, talk about. We actually respect that time and we go and, um, and we send them an email and say, “Hey, when you’ve got time, would I be able to catch up with you and sort this out?” Or talk about whatever it is.

Now, that those two things basically sets you up to reply when you are ready and with respect to your time, but also gives the person they want to talk to you your full attention and it stops interruptions in lots of things. So it’s really important to have policies in your business around interruptions and time.

Now, if you’re in a retail business and you’re working on a shop [inaudible] or something like that, in the public eye, on the public place, that can be a little bit difficult to achieve because you cannot say to your customer, “Hey, can you send me an email and I’ll talk to you when I want to.” obviously. So, uh, you just kinda have to manage through that.

The other one is- but that certainly have some policies to have time blocks. If you are– just a quick hint or tip, if you are in the public place quite often and the business owner set blocks of time that you are free from human interaction or away from that so that you can focus on deep work and deep task that need to be done. So that’s another great book that I’m in the process of getting holed up as well, which I believe is very good. But, yeah, make sure you set those human-free blocks of time away from humans to focus on better work.

And technology, turn off all the notifications on your phone. I’ve said this one before. But turn off all the notifications on your phone. It gives you those little red eye attraction dots that won’t- make you wanna go and click on and see what’s behind that red dot. Turn them off so Facebook’s not calling you in, so technology’s not calling you in. Turn your mobile off if you need time away from technology and just focus, free of distraction on what are these that you need to do. Email notifications are another big one. So make sure you turn those off as well, in the technology department.

Coming in at number five for our big time wasters in business are- is, I should say, ineffective delegation. Okay? And what we’re talking about there is not delegating to people and making people responsible for tasks to be done. That’s you becoming the roadblock, you know. You becoming the bottleneck in your business because you’re not delegating out those tasks to be done effectively.

And honestly, again, I’ve– It’s funny when I read through these when I was putting these notes together for you today, I suffer from all of these. So don’t worry, don’t be [inaudible] if you’re gonna reduce it, then I’ll do that as well. They are all things that we all do. And that’s why I wanna stay focused on them so when the- at the top, their mind and we don’t lose time and we achieve w-w-what it is we need to achieve.

So delegating for me, there are so many tasks in a day that come through on my desk that I’ll go all just quickly doing and it’s hardly a five-minute thing by the time I explain it to someone. But you know what? Here’s the thing, if I don’t actually teach and train someone to do that task for me, number one, I’m not investing in their goodwill in- in growing them. I’m not investing in helping them out. And number two, on becoming a bottleneck in my business, it’s not getting done fast enough. So delegate, delegate, delegate as best as you can. And we have done episodes on that before, but delegating a task is an absolute must if you wanna save time and not lose it.

All right. Number six. Coming in at number six is not having the appropriate systems in place. So we’re doing things repetitively. I have a rule in our organization that if we have to do a task more than once, let’s turn it into a procedure and get it systemized and autopilot. Better still, can we get some technology to actually do that task? And, um, while I get into the story now that we recently came across some technology that’s a game changer for us. That kinda saves the amount of filing that we have to do in our organization by so much.

And you know, I- I- I can now use that filing person skills and abilities to do bigger and deeper work, it’s gonna help move our business forward even further rather than having just these manuals of an analog system.

So think about your systems in your business. Are there systems there that you can improve, automate or proceduralise and get someone else to do them better? And the good thing with a good system too is I reduce mistakes in your business. You won’t have as many mistakes if you go down that path.

Now, on number seven. Here’s another one that I– [laughs] Oh God. This– I’m quite- actually quite embarrassed to be reading this out to you because, uh, they were all ones that I do suffer from, but the inability to say no to things and people. So we’ve all got people that come to you and say, “Hey, I want this. Hey, can you do this for me? Hey, have you got time to do this?” And, you know, you’re a nice person, you don’t wanna offend people, you wanna help mankind, you don’t wanna, uh, hinder it or slow people down. You know, I want people to succeed. So you know, that’s one of my driving purposes, it’s to help business owners succeed in their business. I want you to succeed in your business, that’s why I did this podcast.

But, if I don’t say no to some things, I’m basically, uh, I’m really just filling out my day with things- or wasting time that I don’t have. And doing the task that doesn’t align with my goals and my core purpose.

And just remember, when you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else. Time is one of those resources. We only have the same 24 hours in a day, so if we say yes to doing this today or yes to doing this now, if there’s something else where we- were saying no to something else that we potentially should be doing.

So think about that and work out a way to politely say no. It won’t hurt and people will respect you for it because you won’t let them down. But, you know, I had someone ask me the other day if I’d like to, um, help out with a charity organization. Now, I would love to help out with a charity organization, I would love to- to take that on board and- and I was, uh, you know, uh, an area of- that I’m quite passionate about.

But I know that if I say yes to taking that on, I’m going be chewing up a huge amount of time that won’t move me towards the goals that I need to achieve. It’s gonna let down the people that I’ve already promised things to because they’re already in my goal scope and my business scope, and you know, they’re banking on my business succeeding for them.

You know, I’m also then gonna be letting down the people- the charity because I won’t be able to do the job as effective and more lively as I could otherwise if that was my main purpose. I really, really think carefully about that and learn the ability to say no respectfully and make sure that you’re saying yes to the things that align with your goals and your greater vision. And that’s a really, really important time wasted that we all can’t fall- fall trap into.

But it’s if you got children and things like that, it’s very easy to get sucked into, um, you know, sporting associations and various things, and, um, and getting on committees and, all- you know, all those things can happen. So it- just make sure you’re saying no to the wrong things and yes to the right things.

All right. Number eight is ineffective meetings. Now, do you know what an ineffective meeting is? Well, basically, when we’re talking about ineffective meetings, we are talking about meetings with no agendas, without a clear agenda, I should say. Not sticking to the agenda can cause an ineffective meeting. Not turning up on time. Although if you have been to a meeting where people starts struggling in, you know, the meeting’s for 8:30 in the morning and people start struggling in at 8:32, 8:35. Looking at their phone, you know, still half engage in what they were doing prior to walking in the room. They’re not turned on- their mind is not turned on to the meeting and what’s about to take place.

So you really wanna make sure if you’re gonna run meetings, they are- they are effective meetings, there is an agenda. It circulated to people prior, to the attendees prior. Set the time for the meeting at five minutes before you want the meeting to actually start. So if the meeting is at 8:30, tell people, “You need to be in the room by 8:25. Ready to go, phone turned off, free from distraction.” That is non-negotiable.

So we wanna basically make sure that we’re running meetings effectively. Make sure that the outcomes of the meeting are documented. Make sure there are minutes of that meeting as to what’s everyone’s agreed upon and who’s going to do what and who’s responsible for what and by when. Again, coming back to those SMART top goals, we really want to make sure that happens because we wanna have effective meetings.

Meetings are probably one of the biggest time wasters in business and can be– depending on your business, of course. You know, if you’re a solo primitive type person and you’re- and you’re out on your own, a meeting for you might be, you know, discussions with various suppliers or stakeholders or the likes. So when I talk about meetings, I’m not talking about necessarily going and sitting in a board room somewhere. I’m talking about dealing with your bank, dealing with your, um, I don’t know, whoever. [laughs] You get the idea to that.

All right. So number eight- that was number eight, ineffective meetings. Number nine is ineffective email and being driven by your inbox. There is nothing worse than coming in to start your day, you’ve got your goals planned out, what you’re gonna need to do for the day, you got your task list ready to go. You sit down, you open your inbox and you go, “Uh, there’s a file. I got to put that out.” You get rid of it, another one comes in while you’re doing that. And your inbox just keeps filling up and you just start working through your inbox. And that guides your day.

I’ve done that before myself many times and it’s a really, really terrible day at the end of the day because you have not achieved any. It’s a terrible feeling, I should say because you haven’t achieved what you wanted to achieve and you feel like you’ve just put out files all day. Now, that’s reaction rework. That’s reacting to not important and urgent top stuff. And- and it’s not gonna get you towards your goal and it’s gonna waste a heck of a lot of time. So we’re gonna make sure that we are doing effective- using our inbox effectively.

One of the things I’m looking at doing now is getting that. I’m only getting to talk to my inbox twice a day. When I first– I’m gonna come in and do my work and then I’m going to look at it probably 11:30 before I have some lunch. And then I’m gonna look at it again about 4:30 before I go home. And that’s it.

So I’m certainly addressing my emails in a timely basis, I’m delegating out tasks as I need to on a timely basis, in a constructive basis. Like I was talking about before on point number five, delegating. But I’m not gonna have my day driven by my inbox.

Now, for me, one of the most important times of the day for me is the first thing in the morning, the early mornings. That’s when I’m most creative, that’s when I’m most active and most alive, ready to do things. So it’s crazy to use that time and waste that energy, that positive energy on email, on your inbox. So if you’re doing that, yeah, there’s some food for thought there and it’s a big time up for you.

Number ten, and the last one is poor planning around your goals. So I spoke at point one about having goals, the importance of having a smart, measurable goal, but then actually in step two for you is actually planning out how you’re going to achieve those goals. What- When are you going to do what? By what time? What needs to be done? What’s the marker of commitment you need to start making to achieve this next step.

And so it’s kind of like a bit of a circle, you know. You wanna have your plan and you wanna have all or your grander vision met out, then you want to have your quarterly goals then you want to break that down into planning those quarterly goals into macro goals. “So what am I going to do this week to move me closer to my desired- outcome of my desired business results, you know, that I’m- I’m- I’m looking to achieve?”

So make sure you set some time or each week to plan out and preferably daily plan out what are these that you want to achieve and focus on those things so that you, um, so that you get that. You know? And that we’d have plenty of time, we actually make time.

Because that’s a thing [inaudible] If we can eliminate these 10 things. You know, even if you eliminated a handful of them out you- out of your day, it’ll be amazing just how much time you could free up to use on more constructive things. And I- I just see this is such a viable area to focus on in your business and I want this for you to be a, um, a checklist that you can work through and- and just ask yourself, you know, “Am I doing any of these things that Jason is mentioning here and how can I change that and what could I do to implement and change them in- in my day?”

And I would love to hear from you. If you’ve got any of these things you’re- you’re struggling with or ideas around these things, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] Love to hear from you and- and hear what you’re planning on eliminating in terms of a time waster for your business and what you’re going to implement, most importantly, to start making more time and achieving more in your business towards your goals.

So there you go. 10 things you can work through. I hope you have found those helpful. Again, don’t forget to drop me a line at [email protected] Love to hear from you. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please, feel free to leave a review on, uh, iTunes. Really does help the- share it to get found. And if you haven’t already subscribed, make sure you subscribe to the show as well.

All right. That’s all I had time for this week. You go out there and make some more time and, uh, and eliminate those time wasters. And until next week, I’m going to hand you over to Mia and she’s gonna take us out. And, uh, I’ll talk to you next week. Here’s to your success. Take us out, Mia.

Mia: You’ve been listening to the Business Made Easy Podcast, where we make business easy.

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