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4 Biggest Time Drains for Small Business Owners

By Jake Nordquist   |    June 12, 2017   |    9:55 AM

 

Are You Guilty of These 4 Time Wasters? 

As a small business owner, you’re wise to loathe wasting time. But, there are a number of time drains that you might not even be aware of! Here are 4 of the biggest daily time wasters small businesses owners tend to encounter and how you can avoid them. 

1. Too much multitasking 

We all have to multitask sometimes, and it can be a useful skill to have in certain scenarios. It’s also easy to multitask too much and multitasking ends up wasting time. According to Forbes, “Unfortunately, our brains just aren’t equipped for multitasking tasks that do require brainpower. Our short-term memories can only store between five and nine things at once.” 

The solution? You need to identify the strategies that help you focus on your work, one project at a time. One option to explore is the 30/30 technique

2. A refusal to delegate 

There’s no way around it — delegating tasks that you could handle yourself is difficult. It’s also vital if you want to grow your business while saving your own time and sanity. 

If you aren’t sure where to start with delegation, consider letting someone else on your team take over one (or more) of these five tasks, like social media and appointment scheduling. You’ll likely have to invest some initial training time, but the payoff will be more than worthwhile. 

3. Admin duties that never, ever end 

The Chicago Tribune once reported, “According to new research from OfficeMax, small business owners burn more than 4 billion hours each year on business support functions and administrative tasks, from credit card and payroll processing to updating the company website and managing service providers.” 

Does that sound familiar to you? This is one area where outsourcing can save the day yet again. There are a number of software and other services that can handle these time-sucking administrative tasks for you. Virtual assistants are another useful and efficient solution

4. Hours spent in your inbox 

By now, we all know that email can be a huge drain on time and productivity. “More than one-quarter of a worker's day on average is spent answering and reading emails, according to research released in 2012 by the McKinsey Global Institute. Its survey found that email is the second-most time-consuming activity for workers, next to "role-specific tasks." 

That’s a big chunk of time, and it adds up. But what’s the solution? Here are some things you can try: 

  • Schedule specific times for handling email each day. Close your inbox outside of those times.

  • Organize your inbox to make it easier to find important messages. If you don’t have some sort of “filing” system, create one.

  • Take some sort of action right away, even if it’s just to say, “I’ll respond in greater detail at a later date.” It’s easy to let important emails stagnate in your inbox if you don’t take action. 

Do you know how you spend your time? 

You might not be able to relate to these 4 time wasters specifically, but they’re hardly the only inefficiencies a small business owner might encounter. Every so often, assess how you’re spending your workdays to see if you could be making wiser decisions. The results of your assessment might be surprising, and there’s always room for improvement.