Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs – How to Avoid Time Wasters

This post was originally published on August 16, 2019. I am republishing it on April 13, 2021, with revisions and updates. This is a subject that every entrepreneur should think about. I hope that my how to avoid time wasters tips and tricks will help you see how I have evolved since 2019 when I was homeless and wrote this article the first time to now, with the edits and YouTube video I embedded. 

I have been an entrepreneur since 2006. I’ve dabbled in bringing my administrative tasks home as a virtual assistant for some, tried my hand at direct sales, managed social media accounts, managed eCommerce sites, and so many other tasks to finally land my heart in the world of writing. Along this path over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most difficult parts of being a work from home entrepreneur is finding ways to avoid time wasters.

You know what I’m talking about.

The family that calls or stops by.

Kids that need food.

People that ask 100 questions and take up an hour of your time only to say “they’ll think about hiring you” and so on and so forth.

As a fellow entrepreneur, I’m sure you have a list of time wasters that you simply aren’t sure how to avoid. That’s why I’m sharing some of the methods I’ve tried to use to get rid of time wasters so that I can focus on being a self-driven, self-motivated, dedicated entrepreneur that my clients can count on.

 

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs – How to Avoid Time Wasters

What are your time wasters?

The first part of solving any “problem” is to figure out what the problem is, to begin with. That’s why I highly recommend you create a list of time wasters. I’ll be honest, you won’t think of all these time wasters right away. Grab a little Post-it Brand Note and have it by your work space. Jot down a time waster each time it appears in your workday.

For me, my list of time wasters includes; Facebook Messages, Facebook Newsfeed, Emails, Potential Clients’ Questions, and preteens/teens who “need” something “right now” when they’re perfectly capable of getting said thing on their own. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Create a Schedule NOW

As a mother of three children, who are now 16, 13, and 10 {updated 2021 to 18,12, and 14}, I know all too well how often kids will mess up that entrepreneur schedule you set in place, but stay with me a second here. Create a schedule that’s more like a block schedule, such as time batching. This is where you designate specific tasks to be done during a specific time block of the day. A good example is shown below in the image:

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Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

As you can see, I tend to be rather ADHD by nature, so a picture schedule doesn’t work for me. That’s why I sort of use a concept called task batching, rather than time batching, but either method will work. More on those methods another day.

Just jot down a daily list of what you’re going to do, in an order that works for your mind, and go from there. Do not stray from that list, even if it looks sloppy like my example above. 

Shut Off Notifications

It took me a long time to realize that some time wasters were best put on silent. During your entrepreneurial work from home day, shut off all notifications. Listen, clients can wait until your scheduled time to reply to messages or emails. Clients can wait until you respond to them, and prospects can too. If a client or prospect wants your immediate reply, then do you really want to work for them? Being pulled in all directions is part of what’s wasting your time as an entrepreneur.

Be okay with shutting off notifications and only working your day to day tasks based on the schedule you created to work for maximum productivity levels. Good clients and prospects WILL WAIT, they’ll appreciate that you have that dedication and drive to stay focused on the task at hand. If not, then they’re not a good fit for your business, period!

Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs - How to Avoid Time Wasters

I could get into some lengthy ramble about how I use each of these tips in my day to day life, but the reality is I change it up day to day. We’re living on the road right now so a schedule is some foreign concept to me until we find ourselves in a stable location. With that being said, these simple tips to avoid time wasters will help you succeed.

When I wrote this back in2019 I was homeless. This means I was just working at a pace that worked for living from hotel to hotel, campground to campground, and eventually in our vehicles. That is until Fall 2019 when we finally got a home to live in.

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Since then, I have aimed to work smarter not harder. I have been able to get my work week down to 4 days a week while earning more revenue than my previous months. Click here to read my 4 day work week explained.

What Do I do Now for Removing Time Wasters?

  • I use Asana to manage my daily tasks and assign a day for each clients’ work.
  • I shut off notifications and don’t check email, FB, or any other social media account frequently. I check them maybe twice during work hours, then whenever I want after work hours.
  • I assigned myself a work time – Monday – Thursday 11 am to 4 or 5 pm.
  • I keep my eye on the clock when afternoon hits so that I know at 3 pm what else I can finish before I have to stop my work day to go cook dinner.
  • I ask for help, currently testing our hitting a team to help me with writing and social media.
  • I stay confident in my goals BUT I also know my goals as they’re written down on my desk to see every day.

I firmly believe that if you watch my time wasters video on YouTube along with my Asana video that you’ll be one step closer to living the life you’ve always dreamed of. The book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, has also significantly improved my life.

What do you say to a time waster?

If you're looking at removing a time waster that's a human being - well it's best to just explain that you need to stay strict with your work hours. Let them know when they can and cannot contact you. If they don't respect your work hours, then you'll need to just be firm. Many who work from home are often left disrespected about their work hours because family & friends just don't get it.

What are the top 10 time wasters?

The top 10 time wasters are smartphones, notifications, funny animal videos, anything that doesn't help you remain productive during your work at home day. Email, phone calls, and other tasks can be time wasters, too!

What are three common time wasters?

The top three things that are common time wasters included - checking email, social media, and lack of time management skills.

 

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14 thoughts on “Tips For Busy Entrepreneurs – How to Avoid Time Wasters

  1. This is so true, all of it!! I spend too much time on social media but I am working on getting better at it.

  2. Instagram is my biggest time waster! I go down rabbit holes, well past when it is beneficial for my business. I have to keep my phone at a distance during work.

  3. I must admit, sometimes I do tend to procrastinate. I need to focus more and hustle a little bit more too. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I try to stay focused but when you’re at home it’s so hard. I’m thinking of opening up my own little shop instead.

  5. I HAVE to have a schedule or I am all over the place, especially in the summer when the kids are home lol

  6. I’ve worked from home for 5 years now. My best tip is to show up for work, dressed, and ready to dig in. I don’t have kids, but barking dogs, doorbells, and the UPS man are my distractors. If UPS comes, I have to stop and see what I got!

  7. Social media is my biggest time waster. I get caught up and look up only to realize 10 or 15 min is gone. I’m hoping to be able to outsource my social media tasks very soon so that I can turn my attention to other more important duties. 🙂

  8. Time is money. Wasting time is a huge problem; staying organized and focus really makes it work.

  9. I really need to get serious about time blocking. My schedule is so out of whack, I often find myself drifting onto less important things before finishing the more pressing tasks. Great list of ideas that are really going to help me get back on top of my game!

  10. I do need to come up with a schedule. I tend to procrastinate and I’m working on it. I need to start writing stuff down.

  11. As a blogger I don’t have time for time wasters and ways to improve my traffic and earnings are high priority. These tips are helpful and I will keep them in mind in my day to day.

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