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The Top 5 Time Wasters And How To Avoid Them

During the workday, time-wasting distractions interfere with our focus and good intentions. How we overcome these time-wasters differentiates staying focused from being sucked into the vortex of getting little-to-nothing done.

Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. created a list of what we believe are the top 5 time-wasters at work and our tips for moving past them.

In no particular order:

1. Email

With different projects, numerous people, and multiple gears in motion, most of us agree that email management can waste a lot of time.

Some organizations overcome this time-waster by implementing a workspace platform, like Slack, to organize communication by project.

Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. created communal folders for shared documents through the free Google Drive platform and used SmartVault for sharing confidential information and documents.

As you sign-up for apps and subscriptions that make emails more manageable, you might also want to set up a separate email address to receive the junk, spam, and subscription communications that will inevitably come with the new accounts.

2. Social Media

Hold on while I quickly check my Facebook…wow, the time has really gotten away from me!

We all let this time-waster get the better of us. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or something else, we spend hours checking social media accounts and browsing the Internet. And, it’s often unintentional; we don’t usually MEAN to spend so much time watching cat videos and taking online quizzes, but we do.

How can we move past such a powerful time-waster?

First, don’t check social media FIRST.

Then when you do go online, make sure your social media time is scheduled on your calendar, as any other appointment or task would be.

Intentionally use the allotted time and follow a task or to-do list if necessary.

Set an alarm for the end of that designated time and when it goes off, STOP!

If this is a big time-wasting issue for you, then perhaps hire or assign someone else to do it, if you can afford to.

3. Interruptions

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve planned your day, something unanticipated will arise and demand your attention.

We’ve all had clients and associates call with “urgent” matters and their expectations that we’ll drop everything to attend to them. Usually, it’s not actually an emergency at all.

Here’s a tip: let all calls go to voicemail. If you don’t already have a voicemail system setup, then get a free Google Voice number as your main point of contact.

Manage callers’ expectations by including your call-back policy in your outgoing voicemail greeting, for example, we let callers know that all calls will be answered within 1 business day.

Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. also uses Calendly, a scheduling link that allows clients and associates to schedule phone calls or face-to-face meetings with us at their convenience. It has significantly reduced the time we spend setting up appointments and helped us manage prospects.

We’ve also reduced our need to interrupt each other by using Jetpack Workflow, a workflow & project management app that manages reminders and allows us to easily communicate with each other, attach documents, record progress, and more. Asana and the QuickBooks Online Accountant work tab are other effective workflow & project management programs.

4. Document Handling

Handling physical stacks of paper is a huge waste of time! As is sending and receiving literal paper records between your office and client or associate offices.

During client engagements, make it clear in writing that all documents will be handled electronically. Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. makes good use of the cloud ecosystem with QuickBooks Online and other Internet-based apps and software.

Automate the process as much as possible with document fetching services like ReceiptBank and Hubdoc.

As mentioned above in #1, use a document-sharing workspace platform such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or SmartVault for digital document management.

Workflow & project management applications are also helpful at reducing time spent on document management. Documents can be attached to projects and jobs, shared with others, and archived easily. See our comments under #3 above for more information on apps like Jetpack Workflow, Asana, and the QuickBooks Online Accountant work tab.

5. Overfilling Our Plate

At Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc., we love to help; it’s our “why.”

In the beginning we wasted a lot of time trying to keep all the figurative food on our overfilled plate because our immediate response was YES, often without first having considered consequences like how much time a task would take or what time it could take away from other commitments we’d already made.

We learned to take our time to consider requests and that people who are asking us to something usually don’t mind waiting a few days for us to thoroughly contemplate their request and our ability to meet it.

We also discovered that it is totally okay to say no when we cannot realistically follow-through on a commitment without compromising our other responsibilities. It’s always better to say no than to agree to something you cannot make good on or that will adversely affect your other commitments.

Sherman Oaks Accounting & Bookkeeping powered by One Source Services, Inc. works hard to use our time as effectively as possible every day and to help our clients do the same. We hope that using even a few of the suggestions above will reduce your time-waste and increase your daily efficiency.

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