I asked my networks what they found to be the biggest wastes of time in business. I found it meaningful to provide fixes and enjoyed engaging with you this week!
Most interesting, the responses indicated a divide between the perspectives of my employee and entrepreneur followers - my fixes consider this divide. I look forward to your engagement and feedback in the comments below!
The waste of time most of you would like to avoid in business is working under unclear instructions from leadership or when involved in group/project work.
Additionally, many of you responded that business meetings were the biggest waste of time you encountered in business; the concerns varied between:
Both issues stem from lack of proper planning. Let's start with a scenario we all are familiar with. Your team is meeting about a business concern or issue; someone thoughtful says "What if we were to...?" and the leader in charge says "Great idea! Let's get started with that right away!"
When someone in power has an idea or sponsors/green-lights an idea, it becomes a project. This project then becomes the responsibility of a team that is assembled - usually - before the project scope is effectively developed and determined.
I recommend developing business ideas well enough to produce a draft project scope.
This draft project scope should include:
In this way, you can avoid the wastes of time tied to having meetings. Even if the team meeting is not assembled for a project, the same concepts apply: determine the team's what, why, hows, when, and who at the conception of the group and update the hows to align with what matters to the business for each meeting period.
Not only does this process avoid employees having unclear instructions on how to move forward with their work, it also ensures that everyone involved with scheduled meetings:
I've had dozens of entrepreneur clients, and almost all of them suffer from what many of you shared as your biggest waste of time: business operations/processes and doing everything on your own.
I received responses such as:
Entrepreneurs are often working with fewer resources than is optimal for success. This often leads to an owner or partner doing much of what is needed to run the business. Trust me, I get it - it's expensive and risky to hire staff and leadership to manage them. It is easy to understand why small businesses make this choice. Yet, what’s pertinent, and often overlooked is the cost of that choice.
Dan Lok has a great YouTube video about valuing your time and productivity. In this video, he demonstrates that when entrepreneurs spend time on nonproductive tasks, they are throwing away money! He defines productive time as "doing an activity that makes you money" so it follows that non-productivity involves doing anything that doesn't make money.
Dan asserts that you will not be productive most of the time, and to expect this. Yet, he concludes that if we - as entrepreneurs - focus on accomplishing what he calls "critical success events" (the successive events needed to accomplish something), we will ultimately be as productive as possible. Dan's insights are valuable for the wastes of time you've shared with me.
Avoid throwing away money by doing things yourself that can be done cheaper and in less time by another with more skill.
Understanding that while there will be nonproductive time worked each day, we can increase the priority of what we do during our nonproductive time by doing things that enhance our ability to make money. Paperwork and reading useless emails rarely ever create more opportunities to make money; they are best left to someone else who doesn't cost your company as much as you do to complete the task. Creating effective systems and managing your company's bookkeeping / social media might create more opportunities to make money yet are usually completed in less time and for less money by someone who has the expertise to do the work.
Avoid throwing away money by not planning for success and improvement.
Understanding that there are "critical success events" for everything worth doing as an entrepreneur - whether productive or not - we can plan our days for success and improvement. If entrepreneurs determine the critical success events for their projects and tasks, it is easier to prioritize the work for the day. To improve, Dan recommends tackling the project or task you've been avoiding first to increase confidence and momentum for other projects/tasks.
I recommend that entrepreneurs have a sense of purpose or intention behind their work that drives each aspect of it. This purpose aligns with each entrepreneurs "critical success events" - and can be used to determine what to do today, tomorrow, next week, and beyond!
I love and am quite obsessed with the cycle of learning, applying, and teaching. This blog is my place to exercise this passion while fulfilling my purpose to empower.