How to avoid the top 5 causes of time wasting in business

From pointless meetings to spam emails, how to ditch the distractions that are slowing your company down.

EDGAR staff December 3, 2014

In a money making business every second of your working day counts, and there's nothing more frustrating than wasted time on unnecessary distractions, especially if you're the boss. Not only is your time precious, but whenever any of your team has their time wasted, the business suffers as a result. 

But don't despair, because it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of time wasted by you and your company. Simply follow this advice and be sure to tackle these top five office time wasters:

1. Emails

How much time do you spend sifting through emails every day? If you're anything like most people, the answer to that question will come in hours rather than minutes. And in many cases, only a fraction of those emails are essential and actually have any bearing on how well you do your job or how well the company fares. how to deal with too many emails

To cut down on wasted time scanning long chain emails and sifting through spam, make sure that everyone's mailing lists are updated and you're only copied in to emails where necessary. Also, turn off the pop-up that notifies you of incoming mail and you're less likely to get distracted. That way you can check your mail at your own discretion whenever you have time and your flow won't be disrupted.

2. Meetings

Unless they're conducted effectively, meetings can be a massive drain on any business' time and resources and have a huge effect on productivity. In fact, we think that getting your meetings right is so important, we've even produced a dedicated guide to making yours more productive.

In short, make sure that each and every meeting you schedule is absolutely necessary and only those who need to be there attend. Always set a specific time limit and objectives of the meeting and always evaluate at the end to make sure everyone is on the same page. too many meetings can harm you business. 3. I.T.

While the advance of technology is a blessing in terms of saving time (just imagine how slowly things moved before emails were around!), if it's not used correctly or to its full potential, it can in fact waste more time than it saves.

If you've got more than one person working on the same project, consider introducing a system where a number of people can operate simultaneously. For example, Google Docs allows everyone on your team to work on the same document so there are never any issues with who has the most up-to-date version.

4. Social media In today's social media-addicted world, one thing that's almost guaranteed is that the likes of Facebook and Twitter is going to use up some of your company's time, and unfortunately there's not much you can do about it. how to deal with social media for your business. However, what you can do is limit the damage by putting in place a strategy to deal with your company's social media presence in a time-effective way. That means using scheduled posts and allotting a finite amount of time to dealing with social media interaction. If the demand for engagement gets so high that you can't keep up, consider hiring a company to do it for you, or taking on an in-house specialist.

5. Slow staff

Knowing how to hire the right people is always tricky, and sometimes an employee might have enough quality that you're happy to excuse their tardiness on delivering a project. However, if you agree reasonable deadlines with all members of the team, then this should keep things under control and stop the slower members from dragging their heels.

Tread extremely carefully here - while too many missed deadlines can't be tolerated, you don't want to come across as the over demanding boss with completely unrealistic expectations or you'll quickly find that all of your best team members will lose patience and look to give their talents to someone who appreciates them. What are your biggest office time wasters? Let us know in the comments below.