Most of us believe that cell phones, email and other tech devices help business productivity. But tech devices and some common business practices can actually be big time wasters. For example, are you and your employees constantly checking email or web sites? Do you have an open door policy, a schedule full of meetings, and a hefty mobile phone habit? How are you doing on that “to do” list?
“Many workplace practices that were once considered good for business have become major time-wasters today,” says Phil Cooke, who has advised major companies on time-saving techniques for 30 years. Here are five time wasting practices that Cooke claims are most dangerous to your productivity:
1. Starting your day on email
If the first thing you do every work morning is dig into your email, you can easily be bogged down for hours simply answering messages. Avoid the email vortex. Try this instead: When you first get to work – the store, shop, site, office or wherever that may be – do at least one of the most important things you need to do that day (email doesn’t count!). Then, and only then, check email. This change alone will boost your productivity.
2. Forgetting the power of priorities
Business owners too often spend enormous amounts of time dealing with trivial tasks. And the worst part is when we still feel like we’re accomplishing something important. Remember this: Never do minor tasks at the expense of major projects. Don’t fall victim to what others think is urgent. Set your own priorities.
3. Being permanently tethered to your mobile device
Put down the mobile device occasionally. Chances are, you don’t really need to check it for text messages, voicemail or email every five minutes. Entrepreneurs always feel the really big call or message could arrive at any moment. Get over it; and get on with it. Otherwise your mobile device relationship can be counterproductive.
4. Not Shutting the office door
Whoever invented the “open door policy” must never have run a business and probably didn’t accomplish much, says Cooke. Sure, you need to be accessible; just not every minute of every day. Unexpected calls and visitors are huge time wasters, What’s more, research suggest that it takes nearly an hour to get back on track after an interruption. Schedule set hours for meetings and visitors.
5. Taking all calls
You don’t have to answer every call. “I’ve seen people interrupt important meetings, sensitive negotiations and more to deal with minor phone calls,” says Cooke. Don’t be afraid to let callers leave a message. If you’re in the middle of something and can see the caller isn’t a critical contact, leave it for later. You’ll waste less time, accomplish more, and the caller would rather have your full attention anyway.
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About the Author: Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.