When you’re working for someone else, you’re getting paid whether it takes you five minutes or five hours to finish a project. When you’re starting your own business, however, you have to maximize your time to maximize your income. Your time is valuable, and if you’re wasting time, you’re losing your company money. Here are nine time wasters that are causing your business to lose money:
If you don’t know your game plan for the day, you’re going to be pulled in too many directions at once. This means that you’ll spend too much time putting out fires and not enough time working on and growing your business.
At the beginning of each day, spend a few minutes writing a to-do list. Make sure to prioritize which tasks are the most important so you handle those first. By prioritizing your to-do list, you’ll know the most important tasks are taken care of, even if you have to take care of something unexpected.
Businesses can’t function without email, and it can be tempting to leave your email inbox open all day and respond to messages as you get them. If you keep your email open constantly, however, you’ll be pulled away from your priorities and tasks every time you get a new email.
Choose a specific time each day that you’ll read and reply to emails. By blocking off time for your email, you’ll be focused on your other tasks the rest of the day.
3. Social Media
It’s too easy to get caught up in social media. Even if you aren’t scrolling through your college roommate’s vacation pictures and are, instead, responding to customers’ comments and posting on your company’s page, you might not be handling your social media productively.
Just like email, set aside time dedicated to social media. When you are using social media, have a plan – know how much time you’re going to spend creating and scheduling posts and how much time will be dedicated to responding to customers’ comments and messages. Make sure to turn off notifications on your phone to prevent temptation during the day.
When you’re multitasking, you might feel more productive, but you’re actually less productive. By multitasking, you’re dividing your time between multiple things, so it will take you longer to complete them than if you had focused on one at a time.
After you’ve made your to-do list, work your way through it and complete one task before moving on to the next.
Your business is your baby, so it can be hard to let go of the reigns and delegate. Hire people you trust to do the administrative work for you so you can spend more time working on growth and revenue opportunities.
Sometimes meetings are necessary, but often they are unnecessary and too long. Meetings can take huge chunks out of your day and force you to abandon or postpone other priorities.
The next time you’re invited to a meeting, decide whether it’s absolutely necessary for you to be there. If it’s not, send an employee in your place and tell you the most important details after the meeting.
Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself if it’s necessary. You might be able to handle it by email, instead. If the meeting is necessary, create a clear and concise agenda so that you’re not wasting anyone’s time.
7. Working 24/7
There’s always something you have to do for your business, and it can be tempting to work 24/7. Working that much will cause you to lose steam or even burn out.
Take short breaks during the day and stop working during lunch to keep your energy levels up. When you’re done working for the day, be done. Shut off your computer and your phone, and just relax. You’ll return to work the next day revitalized and ready to go.
8. Chasing Every Idea
You started your company because you had a great idea that you wanted to share with the world. You’ll probably have tons of new ideas before your first idea comes to fruition. If you chase every idea you have, you’ll never complete a project, which will cost your business money and customers.
Stay focused on your most profitable ideas and work toward completing one idea before moving on to the next.
9. Employee Turnover
Replacing employees costs a lot of time and money. You’ll have to post job ads, read resumes, and interview candidates, which all take time away from other tasks.
Sometimes good employees quit and there’s nothing you can do about it, but if you work to keep your employees engaged, you’ll have less employee turnover.
Each contributor on the Workful Editorial Team holds an advanced degree in business-related studies and/or communication and has written for other small business publications, including SmallBizDaily, HR.com, and Business.com. The information in this article is based on thorough research and has been edited for accuracy and timeliness by Workful’s Human Resources experts. While this blog is meant to inform and educate small business owners, it is not intended to provide legal, financial, accounting, or tax advice.