Spending a Large Part of Your Day on Things That Are Not Advancing Your Mission
What's your business goal? While emergencies do come up, and things that take us away from our goal happen and must be attended to, if you're spending a decent amount of your day on things that are not goal-related, you're wasting your time. Don't work just to be busy. Everything you do reflects on that goal and how important it is to you.
Meetings eat up an incredible amount of time. Some people use meetings as a time to air grievances with higher-ups they rarely see. Others are too afraid to offer their true opinions in a group setting. Susan Cain wrote about how meetings are notoriously ineffective for introverts
has decided to create an uncomfortable room to keep all meetings down to 15 minutes or less. If you have meetings that could be accomplished in an email, cancel them. While you may feel it's a good idea to do some face time with employees to give them the latest update, rethink it. You're likely disrupting their day for little return.
Instant Messaging and Texts
I could've placed this time waster in the area where I mentioned answering unnecessary emails but with the gaining popularity of Facebook Messenger, it needed its own spot. These forms of communication are so convenient for the person sending them. They can get a quick answer by jumping to the head of the line. But they are incredibly disruptive.
Most of us feel like we need to drop everything and attend to that "face" on our phone. If you're in the middle of something important, ignore them. Attend to them in those stolen moments like waiting for a call to connect or waiting to meet with someone. And set your status to busy on the IM when you can't be interrupted.
Short Breaks Between Meetings
If you are still struggling with multiple meetings each day, try to schedule them on opposite ends of your day. When you place them back to back, you lose a large amount of your morning or afternoon in meetings with no productivity to show for it. This can be discouraging. Plus, with little time in between, if one runs late, you're in jeopardy of missing or not being prepared for the next one, causing you to feel perpetually behind the eight ball. Finally, if you only leave yourself 15-20 minutes between meetings, what will you actually have time to do in that space? Check email or texts? Again, that means very unproductive time.
We can't create more hours in the day but we can make the ones we have more useful. In business, you should never give your time away to things that are just busy work.