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Five Ways You Could be Wasting Your Time

by Janis Pettit

They always say that the teacher teaches what they most need to learn. Lately I've had a number of my coaching clients who are struggling with using time effectively. As a result they feel the frustration of not moving forward as quickly as they could.

I've certainly struggled with using time ineffectively myself and each time I introduce them to a Time Effectiveness Model I teach that will catapult their business to a whole new level, it reminds me to stay on track with my time.

Yes, I used to fall into the time trap and end up feeling like I was spinning my wheels. Have you been there? What I've learned is that treating time like your most precious possession, like gold, like a million bucks, will make the difference between struggling and succeeding beyond your wildest dreams.

There are so many time traps that can rob us of the ability to focus obsessively on priority activities that will express us toward our goals. I once heard Michael Gerber speak. He's the author of The E-Myth Revisited, one of my favorite books about how to build a small business. He said that successful entrepreneurs focus obsessively on their goals and persevere even when they don't see immediate results. I couldn't agree more.

You need to be aware of these time traps and avoid them at all costs.

1. E-mail - a blessing and a curse, e-mail can consume hours each day. I try to check e-mail only 3 times daily--mid-morning, after lunch and at the end of the day. Even that's probably too much and I'm working on getting that down to once a day. I will soon be adding an autoresponder message to my e-mail that lets people know that I may not respond immediately because I only check e-mail a few times a day. This is a smart way to not get sucked into the e-mail trap.

2. Answering every phone call--some people answer their phones every time they ring no matter what. This means you are constantly interrupted and it's often a tele-marketer, or someone who wants to make their urgent problem yours. Use caller ID and return calls at a certain time each day. This way you'll have protected work time without interruption.

3. People interruptions-from colleagues, friends, children, neighbors (if you work from home). You need to let people know that they cannot disturb you during your prime work time. Close your office door, don't answer the doorbell, give your kids ice cream. I don't care, just find a way. My daughter has learned not to enter my office when the door is closed and your's can too.

4. Surfing the Internet with the excuse that it's research. If you want to check out someone's offer or website, if it's not a priority do it at the end of day when your brain is fried anyway!

5. Playing on Facebook or MySpace and convincing yourself it's all part of your marketing. Some of it is and some isn't. You know the difference.

All of these interruptions are time wasters because they keep you from finding new clients, making phone calls to prospects or gatekeepers, networking, blogging, product development, or whatever else will propel your business forward.

Want to share some of your time tips! How are you maximizing each work day? I'm sure we'd all be grateful.

Janis Pettit may be contacted at

Janis Pettit offers small business coaching, and is known as the Big Results Business Design coach and marketing expert. She’s owned four successful small businesses in the last 22 years and has coached hundreds of small and solo business owners, showing them how to turn their ideas and knowledge into a 6 figure income. Get a complimentary copy of the Create a Client Windfall Quick Start Guide, plus access to an mp3 audio, 20 No Cost Ways to Market Your Small Business Online at Visit her blog at


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