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Secret Business Time Wasters # 46-60

publication date: Nov 8, 2011
author/source: Part of a series from the Carol Roth Blog, as submitted by Bill Lee

46. No One Cares About Your Story!

The biggest time waster is telling the story. Have you ever noticed no one cares about YOUR story? The energy they waste trying to act interested slows the momentum of the whole meeting. Instead, share:
· What's the problem?

· What's your question?

· What's your proposed solution?

Focusing on these three questions saves everyone's time. When a meeting is upbeat and efficient, people appreciate the freedom to get on with their work and they leave on a good note.Thanks to: Dr. Kacie Crisp of Dr. Kacie Crisp Coaching.

47. The Rabbit Hole

One of the biggest time wasters is, of course, the fun & fascinating world of Google. Too many times, I've been in the process of researching something on the internet for a project, only to get sucked down the "rabbit hole" of some eye-catching, marginally-related tangent. The next thing you know, 20 minutes have sped by - oops! The solution: when possible, I make a note of searches I want to do and then save them til the end of the day, after I've gotten through the bulk of my workload.Thanks to: Lizzy Shaw of Lizzy Shaw Public Relations.

48. Technical Difficulties

Computers, websites, copy machines, e-faxes, scanners... can eat up hours of my day. My natural instinct is often to learn how to master each piece of technology... but once I learned to give up and delegate, I've put a limit on e-time-sucking. Instead of learning how to properly layout a flyer or upload our logo for our printer, I can now spend the time creating new business. There are people who are great at this stuff... if you're not one of them, give up.Thanks to: Elura Nanos of Laywer Up.

49. Manage Email More Efficiently

This tip goes to entrepreneurs and everyone who communicates with them via email - exercise email etiquette by taking two seconds to tag your email with a descriptive subject line. Generic email subjects like "Meeting", "Important", "Please Read", "Urgent Info", or "Introduction" give zero clue as to the nature of the message. Managing our inboxes takes significant time already. Do yourself and others a favor and state your purpose in your subject line. It'll save hours of e-sorting for all. Thanks to: Macy Bodenhamer of Four22 Creative Communications.

50. Mental Pauses

Lack of focus: Daydreaming, wandering of the mind, happens all too often in an 8-hour day. Sometimes it's fatigue, sometimes it's boredom, but we all have lapses.Thanks to: Phyl Weeks.

51. Spend Less Time Searching

The biggest time waster in business is disorganization! It sucks up your time and your money. The average American spends 55 minutes per day, looking for things they know they own, but they cannot find them (Source: Newsweek). 23% of adults pay bills late because they lost them in the sea of white papers in their office (Source: Harris Interactive). Today's fast-paced world requires one to be a skilled organizer or hire someone who is. Getting organized is not a luxury, it is a necessity.Thanks to: Angela Cody-Rouget of Major Mom.

52. Email, the Silent Time Killer

Email can be the unsuspected time waster for the entrepreneur. It's too easy to be distracted by the constant incoming of new messages that are begging for your attention. It's better to organize your inbox, so that only the most time sensitive emails are displayed. All other email should bypass the inbox into their respective folders and only be checked when you've scheduled the time to read them. By scheduling your time and leaving everything for its time, you can be much more productive.Thanks to: John Woodman.

53. Socializing Between Tasks

Whether in person or online, socializing in between tasks can add up to a lot of wasted time. If you are networking on Facebook, for example, you can get caught up chatting with your Facebook friends or reading their latest posts during work hours.

Also, when you go for your bathroom or coffee break, getting caught up in conversations can waste precious work time and cause one to lose focus on work tasks. Organizing one's time is crucial to staying focused.Thanks to: Josh Kotlar of Volusion Design & Marketing.

54. Telephone Interruptions

Though taking phone calls is important for business, the call can still drag out for a very long time. If you are in the middle of other tasks or in a meeting, then let the caller leave a message. That's what the answering machine is for. You can call them back when the work schedule is not as hectic. Obviously, this does not apply to someone working as a phone operator or customer service representative. But for all others, schedule times in your work day for phone calls.Thanks to: John Trent of Laptop Batteries.

55. Email and Facebook Messaging

Mine is a small business, so I don't have an email server that provides instant notification of messages. I find that I get caught up with waiting for important responses via email or even Facebook, staring at my computer screen and clicking "Check Mail" as if I could will a response. I need to be more proactive about setting time limits. I would get so much more done if I would simply check my email in the morning, afternoon and once more before 5:00, and then be done!Thanks to: Sheena Edwards of Lizzie Lou Shoes.

56. Free Advice

The biggest waste of my time is a business partner who calls to outline a project, then asks how I might research and complete the work. After I explain what needs to be done and how to do it, sometimes he thanks me, hangs up and apparently does the work himself. Bingo - no pay. Other times, I get to do the work. But I am never sure which call is a pay-for-me project and which one is for my now-free advice. As a small shop, I can't afford to turn down anything. Screening does not work.Thanks to: Deborah Chamberlain.

57. Handle it Only ONCE!

I found that email consumed a huge amount of my time and decided to budget time to read and respond to them on an AM and PM schedule. This allowed me to handle each email only once and not have to get back to it later.

Also, purchasing the iPhone and using their applications have allowed me to respond immediately to matters as they arise, instead of waiting until I get back to the office to handle them. Thanks to: Bernice Dickey of My #1 Is Still My #1!.

58. Too Easy...

Social media can be a HUGE time suck. This is especially true with "audience engagement/conversations". I don't mean to suggest that this tactic is bad, but it can be a waste of time if it isn't moving things toward revenue producing activities.

Always keep this in mind when using social media for marketing purposes. Marketing's job is to create qualified leads for sales - social media is no exception. Social media can be good for this, but do not get carried away having "conversations".Thanks to: Erik Anderson of Infinity Print Group, Inc..

59. Email- A Huge Distraction

Regardless of how well written your email is, you're still only 1 of the 176 emails the average business decision maker gets each working day. 2.8 million emails are sent every second of the day. Using email as a sales prospecting tool may be affordable, but it is an extremely ineffective tactic. The hardest question we have to ask ourselves is, "Do I use email because it's an effective tool, or do I like it because it is easier than making those calls that get you the appointment?"
Thanks to: Bill Todd of Immediate Impact Sales Coaching.

60. This Meeting Sucks!

Calendar Update: Mon-sales meeting, Tue-team meeting, Wed-managers meeting, Thur- section meeting, Fri-company meeting. Add in one-on-one meetings, working lunch meetings, planning meetings, and rescheduled meetings... no wonder the real work never gets done! If we must have meetings, let's make them Twitter meetings- concise and to the point. (1) What is the situation, and (2) What are we doing about it? Meetings lasting more than 10 minutes mean something is wrong. Let's meet to discuss this! Thanks to: Steve Gallegos of WhoYa.

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