It’s no secret that the majority of businesses today tend to waste a monumental amount of time on their everyday operations and activities. As they say, if time is money in the business world, then companies are losing a lot of money every year. The main reason is that modern companies tend to lose perspective on what’s truly important and they engage in impulsive and unplanned strategies that lead pretty much nowhere.
Another reason is the employers’ urge to control every aspect of running a business down to the smallest of details. This oftentimes results in endless and counterproductive meetings where employers and managers explain to employees how things should be done without any clear purpose in mind.
The biggest problem here is that many companies consider such time-wasting activities to be important, if not even essential to business success. Therefore, even if such activities cannot or should not be eliminated, there’s always a way to optimize processes and do things better. That being said, here are a few of the biggest time wasters in the business world.
Ever since an email was first introduced in the early 90s, it has become one of the main communication channels for exchanging messages and it’s widely used even today despite messaging apps and social media dominating the market. Business email activities are considered quite important and they’re still being used a lot. However, as convenient and beneficial email actually is, it’s also a major time-waster for both individual and business use.
One can spend hours on end sorting through emails and responding to them accordingly. Best case scenario, you’ve made a new contact or found a potential growth opportunity. Worst case scenario, you’ve completely wasted a few hours of your day. A simple solution to leveraging email to its fullest potential without wasting time on it is automation. You can automate almost every aspect of email and only check things manually if it’s truly important and that doesn’t happen very often.
One of the things businesses waste the most time on is forecasting. Whether it’s financial forecasting or predicting market demand, you can bet that most of companies will spend a lot of time trying to guess what happens next. Some will succeed while others will fail but there’s no denying the fact that both parties will waste a lot of time doing it.
The fact is that forecasting is an essential business activity. Every company must estimate its odds and try to predict outcomes if they wish to succeed. However, that doesn’t mean you must waste time doing it.
As a matter of fact, you can always find a professional NetSuite consultant who will help you leverage ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). This solution will help you gather relevant business data and help you make sense of it all. Forecasting is, therefore, made seamless when you have technology at your disposal to help you understand future trends, as well as help you optimize business processes for upcoming strategies.
The most time-consuming and counterproductive business activity is, in fact, meetings. Meetings are an activity everyone wants to be a part of when they start working but won’t have anything to do with after attending a few. The soul-sucking dull events that suffocate morale and productivity, at least from an employee point of view, are, in fact, a waste of time. The main reason is that meetings do not work, period. Employees feel as they’re wasting time attending meetings instead of actually working.
What’s more, meetings tend to wander off-topic which frustrates the employees. In most cases, they aren’t even sure why they need to be there, to begin with. Let’s put meetings in perspective business owners can understand. There are over 3 billion meetings every year in the U.S. alone. Executives tend to spend 40% to 50% of their total working hours in meetings. In other words, if executives spend 23 hours in meetings weekly, they pretty much waste 8 hours because 34% of meetings end up being a waste of time. The lost productivity can cost as much as $37 billion annually.
As mentioned before, forecasting is indeed vital, yet companies tend to spend too much time doing basically nothing but speculate, at best. However, they have a tendency to go even further with such speculation and engage in so-called corporate analysis. The most common scenario is financial analysis. This can last for weeks, if not months when it should only last for a couple of days.
Executives basically speculate and try to justify the decisions they’ve made even though the decision has, indeed, been already made. Therefore, it’s basically a waste of time. Instead, try to implement an 80/20 rule where 80% of the value comes from 20% of work. After all, speculation is what speculation does and coming close to a prediction is as good as it’s going to get, especially in the world that’s paved with uncertainties.
Time wasters are a common occurrence in the business world. Everyone wants to do more and better but none wants to give up on time-wasting activities. Although such activities may be deemed important for some reason, there’s absolutely no reason why you should spend more time doing them than you actually need to.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.