Watch Out for These Four Productivity Killers While Running Your Small Business

By: Stephen Robert Morse, The Hartford

Sometimes the most overwhelming part of running a business has nothing to do with your actual work. Rather, it’s all the distractions that creep in throughout the day and hook your attention, making it difficult to get stuff done.

We are all pulled in a million directions every day as we get bombarded with information and updates from friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances across multiple channels.

The biggest threats to your productivity won’t surprise you. You know they’re there, yet you may find them hard to avoid. The first step toward regaining control of your time and being more productive is to recognize these four productivity killers so you can meet them head on.

1. Email

How many different email accounts do you manage? In addition to your personal account and main business email address, you may also manage a customer service inbox, supplier inbox, or other accounts.

  • How many times a day do you check each of these accounts?
  • Do you respond to each email as it comes in?
  • Are you stressed by the end of the day if you haven’t responded to every email?
  • Do you have a system to file away important messages?

Having a process and setting aside time to manage your inboxes is essential for any business owner.

2. Social Media

Similar to email, social media can kill productivity because you likely have several business accounts to manage and inquiries to respond to, not to mention keeping up with your personal feeds. Tools like Hootsuite can help you synchronize content across different platforms from a business perspective.

However, the real danger in social media lies in content consumption and the psychological effects it can have. The content posted on social media is endless and infinite. You could scroll through your Twitter feed or browse Instagram for hours without realizing it.

Studies have shown that Facebook makes people less happy with their own lives. This applies to business owners as well. While you may be posting or browsing content related to your business, it is easy to get distracted by updates from friends and family and then to fall into a psychological rut of FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”

3. The Internet

If social media is as endless and infinite as the night sky, then the internet represents the ever-expanding universe. Don’t fall down the black hole of reading random blogs or articles that are not relevant to the immediate task at hand.

If you’re reading this article, you may have already fallen into that trap. But the good news is that there is a way out. It just takes a conscious effort to prioritize your to-do list and a great deal of discipline to use the web with a clear intention.

You can also turn to browser applications that impose restrictions on your internet activity and help narrow your focus to work-related sites.

4. Admin and Non-Core Tasks

The final productivity killer to watch out for is all of the administrative “housekeeping” you think you need to do for your business. This includes everything from ordering office supplies to filing documents to taking care of payroll — basically anything that does not directly drive revenue or help you build your business.

This type of work is distracting and an inefficient use of your time as a business owner. In many cases, it also can be easily delegated to another employee or outsourced. You might not want to let go of some of these tasks because you fear losing control or think you can do them better than anyone else, but letting others take over some of your tasks will give you more time to focus on the things that matter most to you — and your business.

Regain Control of Your Day and Improve Your Productivity

Do you want to be a more productive business owner, but you’re not sure where to start? Check out 21 Days to Be a More Productive Small Business Owner. This free, downloadable eBook will help you focus on minimizing distractions and maximizing your productivity.

  • Want to learn proven tactics to remove unnecessary distractions?
  • Do you know how to “batch” work to increase your productivity and performance?
  • Have you identified your most productive times for day for getting things done?
  • When is it time to hire a personal or virtual assistant?

Research says it takes 26 minutes to regain your focus after a distraction. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of common productivity killers — and you’ll regain hours of your day — by investing a few minutes in 21 Days to Be a More Productive Small Business Owner today.

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