Survey Shows Email Remains Biggest Time Suck For Small Business Owners

In its fourth annual survey of freelancers during Time Management Month (a.k.a. February), asked more than 1,200 freelancers, small business owners, and professionals how much time they spend on various activities during their workdays.

For the fourth year in a row, email has taken first place as the “Top Time Killer.”

That probably doesn’t surprise most of you if you’re like me and do the majority of your communicating with clients via email. While 90% of my email interactions are completely necessary and productive, there’s that 10% spent answering questions I’ve already answered or trying to get answers to questions I’ve already asked multiple times.

So what time suck came in second?


Most of us can relate to that, right? Lack of agendas, attendees who can’t seem to hear themselves talk enough, and tangents that put meetings into overtime put the stops on getting things done.

Here are the top five “time killers” (along with the percent of people who said they spend at least one hour per day doing them):

Top Small Business Time Killers 2015


An interesting finding from this year’s survey is small business owners say procrastination is a major obstacle to their productivity. Nearly half of the respondents feel they spend too much time putting off necessary tasks each day.

According to OfficeTime’s press release about the survey:

“Procrastinating is a huge time-suck, and working professionals are no more able to escape from that vortex than anyone else,” said Stephen Dodd, CEO of OfficeTime. “If you recognize you’ve developed a habit for procrastinating, set up self-rewards for getting an unpleasant task done and find an accountability partner who can help you stay on-task.”

So it looks like solopreneurs and small business owners could do a little better in managing our time. Big surprise, eh?

Doing that is easier said than done. Not every tactic or approach works for everyone. But a good place to start is to do what OfficeTime suggests: Focus on what’s “most important.

Plan. Prioritize. And get it done!

By Dawn Mentzer

Graphic used with permission from Office Time

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