Straight Up Business Talk

Business strategy and advice from the team at Straight Talk Group… you’re in the right place to get things Straight.

The Top 10 Time Wasters

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I thought I’d just come straight out with them, because chances are if you’re reading this, you’re a little time-challenged.


1. Shifting Priorities

This is the product of a reactive work style, rather than a proactive one. If you are constantly thrown off task by distractions such as emails, employee requests and a constantly ringing telephone, you might benefit from finding a way to minimise these.  While it is  impossible to avoid altogether, accepting it, and setting aside chunks of time to devote solely to completing your high priority projects is a good step forward.  If you really can’t avoid the…..

 2. Interruptions

… You will need to develop a system of recognising the action that needs to happen and then allocating a set time to it rather than letting outside factors dictate your daily schedule. This might be putting the task in your calendar for an appropriate time, thereby giving your brain  “permission” to return to the task at hand.

3. No Clear Goals & a Lack of Focus

Well, it’s pretty hard to focus if you don’t have a clear goal. It is often more productive to focus on the result that you want/need than on the action you are performing. A great anecdote about this is here.

4. Messy Desk & Looking for Things

Not being able to find your pen under mountains of office detritus is an excellent excuse to not start yet.  If fact it is reported that 3 hours a week is wasted in looking for things in arms length – what would you do with that extra 3 hours?

5. Procrastination

Two points here.  Firstly procrastination is highly aligned with perfectionism.  I’m sorry but I have never seen a perfect business or person yet.  Let go of perfect.

Secondly, the thing with procrastination is that it just prolongs the inevitable, and all that time it’s still taking up brain power. When we delay something that we know we have to do our brains can’t completely let it go; the task is still there draining your energy, just like background programs on your computer deplete it’s power, memory and speed. Watch this video now for a twisted but accurate summary of why you need to stop procrastinating.   Click on this Frog! Stop procrastinating! Once you get started on your “frog” it will likely be much easier than expected; just look at how long this segment is.  Once you get started on your “frog” it will likely be much easier than expected; just look at how long this segment is!

6. Ineffective Delegation

Proof in the pudding is the catch cry of many business owners “If I want something done right, I’ll do it myself’  No! This is a red flag for either the wrong employees or the right employees in the wrong role – OR – ineffective delegation.  If the business is a reflection of you – all the good stuff, and yes, sorry, all the bad stuff too…Who’s fault is it that an employee is unable to perform a task?  The ability to delegate is a skill – learn it!

7. Inability to Say No

This is directly attached to poor planning, lack of vision or focus.  When you know where you are going and what needs to be done, saying no to those things that do not align to your goal is a lot easier.

8. Poor Planning

Planning will save you time. In fact, good planning can help all the other problems on this list too.  Good planning is realistic planning, as a general rule, in regards to time management set aside 1.5 to 2 times that amount of time you ‘think’ the project or task is going to take.  This will allow a safeguard for any pesky interruptions or shifting priorities  that may arise.   If you do manage to do it in a shorter amount of time; what to do? then see this

9. Poor Use of Systems

If you have systems in place, you have probably invested time in their creation.  Make that a wise investment! A system will not be effective unless it is utilised by everyone it was intended for.   Notice, its not poor systems, its poor USE of systems.  If staff are not adopting the system, work with them to create systems that can be consistently used. If this doesn’t work, you could work with a recruiter to find staffs that consistently work. Systems take the guess work out of everyday tasks, allowing focus to be honed on more challenging areas.

10. Meetings

Studies and staff consistently tell us that meetings that are too frequent or too long are counterproductive, but they still happen.  In fact 8 weeks a year are taken up with meetings.  Why? Well, it’s a combination of the previous 9 points on this list, plus an excuse to eat donuts.

Meeting definitely have value, but before you call one be clear about the purpose and agenda. Move through the topics which need to be covered in a concise manner, and help others to do the same.

So, there it is, the top 10 timewasters…. the things you can try stopping or minimising so you will now have more time to read informative blogs 😉

Author: Lisa Ormenyessy | Your Straight Talking Business Coach

Welcome, I'm Lisa O, I work with business owners wanting to achieve even better results. I've created this blog in order to share ideas and advice with current clients, and anyone else who might benefit from it. Please excuse the occasional rant or rave too. Having experienced a wide range of roles throughout my career including (but not limited to) CEO, administrator, business owner, musician and army officer, I am pragmatic, realistic, motivated and passionate about you achieving the best results possible in a way that works for you.

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