You’re now your own boss! Congratulations, there’s nobody to tell you what to do and you can be in charge of your own time. So, what are you doing with your time? Time wasters keep you from activating your potential. So while it’s a great idea to hire yourself and become an entrepreneur, you must watch out for these pitfalls on the way to profit.
#1 Social Media
Those hours mindlessly spent on FB, Twitter and Instagram commenting on photos, discussing, clicking on links to stories, reading updates and generally having fun at the expense of your business really do add up to MAJOR waste of time.
What to do: Set social media time and stick to it. Sign in at the set time, catch up, and sign out at the appropriate time. If you use Twitter often, invest time in creating lists (Women in Business, Parenting Bloggers, Real Life Friends, Spiritual Leaders, etc.) so that you can read selected tweets only, instead of wasting time scrolling through your entire Timeline.
#2 Endless Web Surfing
You know how it happens. You just click on one article and you honestly intended to read only that one, but then at the end of it you see a link to another, which leads you to another, and before you know it you’ve spent an hour or more reading interesting blog posts that don’t concern your core business directly, or worse still just browsing sites that don’t lead to results or success.
What to do: Open a new Memo on your handheld or Word document on your computer and name it “Interesting Links for Later.” Whenever you see an article that interests you, copy the link and paste it there to click and read later. Or simply email the link to yourself and title it Weekend Read. Now mind your business and make profit.
Emails seem to never stop coming in. If you insist on answering each and every email as they come in, rest assured you’ll be answering email all day.
What to Do: Resist the temptation to read your emails while working. Factor email time into your to do list and go through your email at that time- later in the day is recommended, rather than mornings. What if it’s an emergency, you ask? Emergencies are rare, and remember that if it’s an emergency, you’re more likely to get a phone call which you can then decide to answer.
#4 Those Friends
You know the ones. Those friends who have heard that you’re now an entrepreneur and interpret this to mean that you have all the time in the world to chat on Blackberry Messenger, gossip on the phone, discuss an economic disaster in some remote part of the world or even give them a couch in your office so they can pick your brain. You may not realize how much harm they cause your business, but time is the currency of business and it must be respected.
What to Do: Learn to say “No” to unplanned visits. If they drop in unannounced, ask them if they would please wait an hour until you round up what you’re working on. Chances are they won’t want to wait. Invite them to hang out at the weekend, instead of during working hours.
To activate your potential, you must increase productivity and optimize your time. You must constantly seek more efficient ways of doing things. Spending time looking for things that aren’t properly kept, or doing tasks over and over again because you were multitasking, will steal your momentum.
What to Do: Avoid clutter. Have a place for everything, and keep everything in their place. Create folders in your email and label them so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Don’t try to do many things at once- you’ll end up doing none well.
Stay focused and thrive!
About the Author: Joy Ehonwa is a writer and copy-editor who is passionate about relationships and self-development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a copy-editing, transcription and ghostwriting service (@PinpointCNg, www.facebook.com/PinpointCreatives) and is currently Editor-at-Large, ConnectNigeria.com. You can read her personal blog at www.anafricandiva.wordpress.com, and her blog for teenage girls at www.girlaware.wordpress.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @anafricandiva