The saying may be well worn, but it still holds true–time is money. And many small businesses are losing a lot of money because of poor time management. According to an annual survey done by OfficeTime, there are some key time killers in every office.
OfficeTime polled more than 1,200 professionals and small business owners for its “Top Time Killers” survey. Procrastination and poor communication are major reasons time gets wasted in the workplace. But reigning as “Top Time Killer” for the fourth straight year is email, with meetings coming in at a very close second.
As far as procrastination, it too is a big problem. Nearly half of the respondents admit they feel they spend too much time putting off doing more productive tasks each day.
Stephen Dodd, CEO of OfficeTime, talks to TNJ.com about time management.
TNJ.com: Once again emails and meetings are the biggest time killers, why does this continue to be so?
Stephen Dodd: Our work is becoming more complex. And this means more communication. But we’re still using the same tools and techniques from 10 years ago.
TNJ.com: How can you get rid of these two major time killers?
SD: Some would argue that better tools are the solution, such as team chat rooms like Slack or knowledge organizers like BaseCamp and Trello. Another option is keeping better tabs on where your time is actually going with a time-tracking tool such as OfficeTime. These tools can often help, but they are not magic bullets.
Better working habits also helps. We’ve been told to work smarter, not harder — but what does that really mean?
TNJ.com: What are some other time management mistakes that small business owners make?
SD: Many business owners come into work and start working on the first thing they see, which is usually responding to emails. Then the day gradually fills up with busy work. The smart owners take a step back to see the big picture. What would you feel good about accomplishing this year? What would help the business the most this week? What one thing could you do today that when you go to bed, would make you feel like you’ve moved towards your overall goal?
My advice is to block out time for that one critical thing. Do that one, big important thing first. Close email. Mute your phone. It’ll all be there when you’re done.
We, too often, think that by doing all the little things that need to be done, we’ll get there — and all we have to do is get those things done a bit faster. In fact, we are more successful at reaching our goals by prioritizing and working on the important pieces.