We are busier than ever before. It doesn’t mean we are more productive, but we are busier. That probably means, we are distracted and inundated with more information than ever before. We love to chase the next shiny object that crosses our path. These time killingsitems require immediate action, are visible, and often easy to do which gives us a sense of accomplishment. However, they usually have very little impact on our bottom line and can slow the growth in a small business.
Pretty soon we become a boiling frog. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and could get cooked. And many of us are cooked.
Let’s take a look at the most common time killers and how to avoid them.
Perfection – Perfection can often be the enemy of progress. Most small owners think their product/service has to be perfect. Perfection is great, however, your goal is a happy customer that is willing to pay.
Social Media – Let me clarify; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like, are great marketing tools. They are free and becoming increasingly popular. However, just updating the status of your business, can easily send you into a four-hour research session to see “how that guy that was in the office next to yours, at that place you used to work, seven years ago, is doing.” This is fun, but it is not productive. Stay on task, while interacting with your customers.
Internet Research – There is not a question asked, that goes unanswered anymore. Google knows all. It’s easy to get distracted when you are doing some research, and find yourself an hour later checking Chris Johnson’s 2009 rushing stats. Set the amount of time you are willing to spend to find the answer to a question.
Home activities – Laundry, picking up/dropping off, home projects, and grocery shopping all have to be done. They just don’t all have to be done by you and they don’t all have to be done right now.
Socializing/Gossip – Meeting and greeting have great merit. However, spending 45 minutes talking about what happened on American Idol is not a good use of your time. Be friendly and productive at the same time.
Multi-tasking – IT DOESN’T WORK. Do one thing at a time.
Worrying/Procrastination – Spending hours on end, thinking of all of the different scenarios of what could go wrong and how it will affect you, will drain your energy, make you stressed, and waste your time. Tackle your hardest tasks at the beginning of the day when you are fresh and they won’t follow you around all day long.