Do you ever find yourself doing something that is just eating into your time when you know you should be working on that client proposal, writing that article, calling that client or  finishing off that flyer rather than watching America’s Next Top Model, Top Gear, or worse being a mouse-potato?!

So what are the signs that you are wasting your time and not focusing on your business?:

  1. You spend more than 1 hour a day on social media – unless you are a social media guru you have to be strict and limit your time. Of course, for some entrepreneurs or small businesses you need to be on social media for more than an hour per day but regardless you need to give yourself a time limit and stick to it.
  2. Being on conference calls when you are not engaged in the conversation and your mind is distracted by something else like looking at your Twitter account.  If this happens you know you shouldn’t be on the call, you are not giving the call the best of what you can bring to the table so take yourself out.
  3. Checking your email every few minutes and responding immediately to the email as it comes in. This is a clear sign that you are wasting time as you are not focusing on a burst of work – see my blog ‘TIME to diet’ which talks about creating bursts of work to be more productive.
  4. Allowing people to interrupt you – this mainly happens when you are in an office and people have the opportunity to just walk up to your desk and start talking to you.  However, this is now becoming a more common time waster for entrepreneurs and solo operators as many are now working in open-plan offices where you rent a desk for a month. So if this is happening to you then just politely tell the person you are in the middle of something and you will come back to them when you have finished.
  5. Travelling on the train, bus, metro from one client meeting to the next and not having something purposeful to do whilst travelling which helps you progress in your day, week , month, year.
  6. Not planning. It takes 5-10 minutes to plan your day and around about 1 hour to plan you week.  It makes everything run so much smoother and when unforeseen issues arise it’s so much easier to deal with them and make sure they don’t become a crisis.
  7. Doing something you are not trained to do. This is such a bug-bear of mine. I never understand why entrepreneurs and business owners struggle to do something when they clearly don’t have the skills and knowledge for the task they are trying to undertake. I know someone who once wasted over 12 hours at the weekend trying to create a newsletter – she wasn’t a programmer and didn’t know about the wonderful email marketing software available on the market and how easy it is to create newsletters. After the first couple of hours she should have given up – imagine what she could have done with the remaining 10 hours to progress her business further.

Time is our most precious commodity – we need to make it work for us, not allowing yourself to get distracted, staying focussed and planning your day is how you will put a stop to the gremlins that eat into your day.

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