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Avoiding Time Wasters #31-45

publication date: Jan 29, 2012
author/source: Part of a series from the Carol Roth Blog, as submitted by Bill Todd

31. Touch Email Once!

The biggest time waster in business is using your email inbox as a holding bin. Touch Email Once! Looking at an email multiple times before making a decision turns one task into many. Use your tasks feature in Outlook to move an email out of your way for you to review again when it is timely. Create folders by client or event to move email for future reference. Create rules for email that you want to bypass your inbox and go directly into a specific folder for later review. Work Smart, Not Hard!Thanks to: Jane Schulte of PRISM Business Advisors.

32. Not So Great Expectations

The single biggest "time waster" in business is a lack of clarity about expectations and goals. You can work hard to accomplish what you believe a client or prospect wants, but if you're wrong about those expectations, you have not only wasted time and money, but you have probably irritated the client or prospect. Take the extra couple of minutes and confirm expectations and timelines (in writing whenever possible) so everyone is on the same page. Then, it's simply a matter of doing a good job. Thanks to: Scott Harris of Mustang Marketing.

33. The E-mail Jungle

Lack of organization creates time-wasting. Reading every e-mail is the biggest culprit. Someone wise once said, "When in doubt, hit delete." To avoid drowning in e-mail, create and label folders as follows: urgent, do now, for future reference, and maybe later. Spend a few minutes moving your e-mails into folders before you read them. Concentrate on urgent business first. Everything else can wait. An added benefit? Folders take up less space on your hard drive.
Thanks to: Jackie O'Neal of O'Neal Media Group.

34. Fear is the Time Vampire

The obvious culprits for entrepreneurial time wasting are Facebook, Twitter or the internet in general. While those tools can be the latest iteration of playing solitaire, the real time waster is fear. As Seth Godin discusses in his book 'Linchpin', the real time "vampire" is being afraid your work isn't ready to "ship." So, you waste time fretting that your best isn't good enough. Overcome fear--stick your neck out--it will make you more productive and less vulnerable to time vampires.Thanks to: Alex Greenwood of AlexanderG Public Relations .

35. Walk Away from the Computer

Email is an absolute killer of time. Many people check email immediately upon entering their office or on one of their device(s) first thing each morning. And before you know it, precious hours have passed. A solution? Discipline yourself to (1) scan the emails and only address the necessary ones, and/or even better, (2) do not check email for your first hour of the day. Whatever messages are waiting for you can wait one more hour. Then, use that first hour of the day productively.Thanks to: Rosanne Dausilio PhD of Human Technologies Global Inc.

36. Time Robbers

Entrepreneurs waste valuable time when they let interruptions take over. That could be the phone, people, email, tweets, etc. There should be a specific time when you deal with these things and you must train people to know your schedule and what you will and won't respond to. If people know you will get back to them, they are more tolerant of your "unavailability" right at the moment. And you'll gain 30 minutes to an hour each day.Thanks to: Gayle Carson of Carson Research Center.

37. Email Eats Time

I do plenty of reading each day and without a doubt, reading email is the single biggest time-waster.

Back in horse n' buggy days, a phone call would put you on the spot. Your thoughts had to be organized and there was a very real sensation that you were taking someone's time, so you did your best to come to the point.

My take? 19 out of 20 emails should never be written. (And yes, I'm occasionally guilty too).

Thanks to: C.R. Zwolinski of Zwolinski Communications.

38. Send 'Em Packin'

Biggest time waster: sitting through pitches by media sales reps from media outlets that are totally irrelevant to the individual business's customer base. If a business understands who their customers are or who they want them to be, then they can save a lot of time by sending these irrelevant reps packing before they really get rolling. Thanks to: Dave Ramacitti of Marketing Over Easy.

39. Not Again- Computer Issues

I am ready to begin my day- I've listened to the news, worked out, and everything is great!
I sit in front of my laptop, ask, then pray for productive peace today from a machine with a type A personality, one that likes to control everything.

My biggest challenge is the machine and the guts that run it, no matter how you tweak it or how you care for it, it has a mind of its own! This mind can steal productivity and drain your patience, which eventually returns nothing!Thanks to: Jerry Pollio of CMT Creative Marketing.

40. Are You Sabotaging Your Time?

The #1 time waster for business professionals is worrying. Instead of focusing on what you want, you dwell on what is feared. As a result, people procrastinate or distract themselves by checking email twenty times per day. Another common self-sabotage is spending too much time on activities that produce a small ROI, like social media. Instead, get in front of people, develop relationships, and employ conversational selling strategies to grow your business!

Thanks to: Tim Shurr of EliminateSabotage.com.

41. Going Broke with this Habit

Procrastination is the biggest time waster! Entrepreneurs run into aspects of their business that they know have to get accomplished, but do not have the skill or desire to do so. Either way, procrastination creeps up and time keeps ticking, with no return. To combat this issue, finding team members that take those tasks off your plate so you can spend your time on what you like and are good at, will be the most productive and profitable for your business!Thanks to: Sandy Zuniga of PEAK ASSIST, Inc..

42. Homepage BLANK for efficiency

When you turn on your computer first thing in the morning, those headlines can be fascinating.

Before you know it, you've wasted 30 precious minutes. What to do?

Simply set your homepage to "blank," which gives you access to the Internet without all the hoopla. No bells or whistles. That way, you're not tempted by the "10-year-old gives birth to healthy baby!" headlines, and can actually be productive and an asset to your employer.

I've saved countless hours by using this simple method.Thanks to: Judith Brown of J Blair Brown Consulting.

43. Necessary Vs. Unnecessary

One of the biggest time wasters is not constructing a detailed plan for each day the night before. Without a specific scheduled to do list, the "unnecessary" can fill the time that the "necessary" requires. The detail needs to have tasks broken down into the smallest units of activity, how long each will take, and when it needs to be completed by. A structured overview provides flexibility in that it shows what can be done by oneself and what needs to be delegated to others.Thanks to: Ronald Kaufman of Ronald Kaufman Consultancy.

44. Meet Less = Work More

Businesses think endless meetings are vital in terms of company direction, getting on the same page, blah, blah...yes, meetings are important...have one and then go to work! The problem is companies get addicted to them and more time is spent in meetings than in creatively getting things done. Solution: Meet...and if there are issues that need to be followed up on, that's why God created e-mail, memos, and brief interpersonal conversations that don't need everyone to come together. Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

45. Email, Ugh!!!

I have a Love/Hate relationship with email. I can't get by without it, but I need to 'mine' it twice a day for those nuggets of gold and sieve out the pebbles. Some days, especially if I am in a hurry, it seems like my inbox is flooded. It seems almost perverse!Thanks to: Susan Delphine Delaney MD, MS of susandelaneyauthor.com.

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