Top Solopreneur “Time Wasters”

If there’s anything that can make or break a solopreneur’s ability to accomplish everything that goes along with running a solo business, it’s self-discipline.

If you’re focused on what you need to do and militant about keeping on top of tasks, following up, and staying organized, you’ll get a lot done.

If you’re easily distracted and let your time and attention meander to things that won’t move you closer to your deliverables and goals, you’re probably spinning your wheels most of the time.

According to Kevin Doel, who reached out to me on behalf of OfficeTime, there’s no shortage of time wasting activities that stand between freelancers (and other solopreneurs) and an otherwise productive workday.

This year, OfficeTime surveyed business owners, freelancers and other working professionals to find out what self-initiated time killers thwart their productivity.

Nearly 400 freelancers/solopreneurs participated. When asked which time-wasting activities they partake in for more than 1 hour each day…

  • 53% said email.
  • 47% said surfing the internet.
  • 42% said watching TV.
  • 33% said procrastination (technically, a “non-activity” activity).
  • 24% said non-business related conversations.

I’m assuming, but not sure, that the respondents were considering non-work-related email and net surfing as the time wasters. I know I – as do many freelancers – need to do a fair share of professionally necessary emailing and internet searching.

The watching TV percentage floored me – again, assuming that the respondents meant TV watching during their workday.

Some other interesting statistics from the OfficeTime survey:

  • 63% of solopreneurs believe they don’t waste more time now than they did when they worked for someone else.
  • 77% say they waste time because of feeling stressed. Nearly the same amount reported “feeling inspired” by wasting time and that “other activities are more fun than real work.”
  • 82% track time because it enables them to invoice more accurately.
  • 43% find Tuesday to be their most productive day.
  • 47% say Friday is their least productive day.

Interesting! So how can all this help you as a solopreneur?

Because we’re solely responsible for the success of our businesses, we need to make our days as productive as possible. That means thinking about how we spend our time and making changes if we find patterns that are sabotaging our efforts to succeed.

We ALL waste time sometimes. Doing it a little bit is OK, but doing it a lot is solopreneurial suicide.

Are time wasters coming between you and your professional potential?

My thanks to Kevin Doel and OfficeTime for allowing me to share their survey results. If you want to get a better understanding of where your time is spent each day, you might consider a time tracking tool like OfficeTime.


4 comments on “Top Solopreneur “Time Wasters”
  1. I find that my time wasted on the Internet often starts out as business related, but without an actual task in mind and a timer set, it is very easy to drift.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Ahhh yes, Margaret! Going astray can happen so very easily. Great tip about setting a timer. And I know there are some tools out there that will actually stop you when you’ve expired the time you allotted for a task. Thanks for your comment-have a great weekend!

    • The timer’s the key!

      I used to get stuck waiting to “feel” like doing the creative work. Now I have a daily goal of 3-5 hours of creative work time (in addition to my other full time business) and I set my iphone timer to count down from 60 minutes each session.

      1 hour of focused work later, the timer goes off and I spend 20 minutes goofing off or playing on Facebook or watching something on Netflix.

      Each little session gets checked off on my daily checklist (a must for ADHD like me) and at the end of the day I’ve got 3-5 little checks on the page and a ton of real work behind me.

      • dawnmentzer says:

        Marcus, I LOVE that M.O.! I, too, find that I need physical and mental breaks to be more productive creatively. Provided I don’t have outside appointments, I take periodic 15 min. workout breaks throughout the course of the day. They help refresh my brain and body so I can better focus and get more from my time in front of my pc.

        Thanks for sharing what works for you. I’ll bet many other people would find that effective, too!

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