12 Top Time Wasting Sins for Consultants

Every professional wants to be more productive. The more productive you are the more you get done… the more money you make…and the more ‘time off’ you can enjoy.

And while the statement I just made is considered common sense by most it doesn’t keep people from committing time wasting sins each and every day.

Here are 12 of the top time wasters. How many are making?

  1. Check your Twitter stream more than twice a day.
  2. Have desktop email notifications turned on.
  3. Use Facebook for more than 15 minutes a day.
  4. Have windows on your computer or browser open that you are not using.
  5. Have your phone vibrate or make a noise every time you get an email.
  6. Be logged into to Skype or other chat type program with your status set to ‘online.’
  7. Be subscribed to more blogs and newsletters than you actually read.
  8. Have your phone turned on when you’re writing or doing work that requires concentration and being in ‘the zone.’
  9. Watch more than 2 hours of TV per day (1 would be even better).
  10. Working on a random list of ‘to-dos’ before working on priority items.
  11. Having in person meetings when a phone meeting would deliver the same result.
  12. Taking calls or replying to emails from clients or friends when not urgent to do so.

Action step: Each week select 2 of the 12 from above. Make a conscious goal to eliminate the 2 time wasters you’ve selected. In less than a month you’ll see your productivity increasing…and in less than 2 months you’ll be amazed at how much time you used to waste each day…and how much more focused and productive you have become.

Question: Can you think of any other big time wasters? Share them in the comments below.

 

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  • Nancee

    You’re right! They are all big time wasters and I am guilty of at least six of them! Especially that facebook thing! I am going to time myself and cut that back to 15 minutes! Thanks.

  • Sasha Berson

    Peter Drucker said “Whatever gets tracked, gets managed.” I find it useful to analyze my daily productivity based on how many important items are crossed off my to do list and how many still remain. I also use http://www.desktime.com to analyze my time wasters and eliminate/reduce use in the future.

  • Omololumao

    Thanks for the time wasters alert. I now know that some things that i do not consider to be taking my time from doing productive things are many. I will now work toward curtiling them.

  • Islam

    Moving from watching a YOUTUBE link to the next link and the next and the next
    Driving while the rush hour (i prefer to spend one more hour working to escape from this hour)

  • Another waste of time is going out for coffee, lunch or other things you can get at your office (especially a home office). Just the time to drive/walk to the location is a huge time sink.

    • Well said. It’s all about balance really. Going out for for lunch or strolling the streets to grab a coffee, while a time waster, can also be great for relaxation, creative idea generation, and ultimately make you more productive.

  • Acontreras

    I think some of the time wasters are culture specific. For example, face to face meetings with your client are of priority to generate more busines in Latin cultures.
    In Mexico I would not even consider calling my client when peronal and business culture demands face to face meetings.

    • That’s a very good point. When I ran my business in Japan this was also the case. Having face to face meetings over coffee during the day or beer and drinks in the evening was very much part of the culture – and critical to building a successful business.

  • Ashlee

    Great article guys! I can sadly admit to about 5 of those things! Love the challenge at the end!!

  • I am also guilty of a couple of them. I am currently working on unsubscribing from a lot of news letter list because they seem to be relevant to helping me move ahead and then i came accross your post. rsee being here right now tells me your blog is one of the most valuable i have subscribed to and sure to keep.

    One contribution i like to add to your list is having the guts to tell people off when you’re working on a project if they don’t have any meaningful contribution to what you’re working at that particular time.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks for the comment and feedback Hector. Glad you’re enjoying the posts!

  • Jon

    Certainly guilty of quite a few of these. However i do find a walk to have a break and remotivate and inspire is a must every day. Its amazing how fast you regenerate and how effective you are when you get back from smelling the fresh air and/or coffee.

  • Miller Ralph95

    The distractions are negative but for arguments sake consider : Devloping a company requires total awarness of opportunity and communication is key to sucess. A random email, a blog that suggest a problem, a newsletter that identifys a potential client, an opportunity to meet someone on line with common problems or answers, are all possible growth situations for a business. I think control is what you are saying -don’t let the mass dominate your focused plan.
    Pres. Kennedy read several major newspapers every morning from front page to back.

  • Boye

    Spot on observations, precise compilation. Its amazing that the things that give us more business could be the ones that distract us the most as well: social network, email, phones calls…. It takes great discipline to deal with these addictive activities. Well done!

  • Anonymous

    ouch. and me thinks not just for professionals. many companies I know should use this to get staff to start thinking about where the day(s) go.

  • Earline Lagueruela

    Reviewing the contacts from each new LinkedIn connection during the business day. Earline Lagueruela

  • Trucon

    I track my completed action items on ACT. The numbers do not lie. You can be very “busy” but not very productive. Be objective about what you have accomplished. An easily accessable record will help with you and your clients accountability requirements.

  • I don’t think all of them is necessarily a waste of time. Take Twitter for example. If you use it wisely, it’s a marketing/networking tool that you need. It depends on that you use them for and whether it serves your goal or not.