Top 10 Business Time Wasters for Entrepreneurs - Christine Kane

ezine_march11When you say “I don’t have enough time!” … are you always telling the truth? (Be honest.)

Is it possible that you DO have enough time – more than enough – but that you’re wasting it on stupid things?

Let’s get brutally clear about what must be removed from your plate.

Maybe it’s bad habits. Maybe it’s the little things you do all the time. Maybe it’s a limiting mindset.

It doesn’t matter what it is. It matters that you begin with awareness.

Here is my list of top 10 Time Wasters for entrepreneurs who know it’s time to Uplevel their business…

#10 – Bookkeeping

Yes or no:

A] Do you toss your receipts in little piles, telling yourself you’ll get to them soon?

B] Do you announce every April that you’ve got to keep better track of your invoices?

C] Are you considering a QuickBooks course at your local college?

If you answered yes to ANY of these, you need a bookkeeper.

The reason you stink at this stuff is NOT because you’re a procrastinator.  The reason you stink at this stuff is because YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO!    If you were meant to be a bookkeeper, you’d be one!

#9 – Customer service

In the early stages of your business, it’s good to connect with your prospects and clients and directly respond to them.   However, if the routine emails and calls swallow up hours each week, let go and hire someone to take over.

#8 – Running errands

One of my clients is a successful realtor.  Last week, she ran a “quick” errand to put a lock box on the door of a house. With traffic, this errand took 90 minutes.

This is a classic case of:  “By the time I show someone how to do it, I could just do this myself.”


If you do this activity once a week, you just wasted TEN 8-hour days of high ROI work you could be doing each year.

Will it take you 10 working days to show someone how to run your errands?

#7 – Housecleaning

The simple act of hiring a housekeeper can save marriages, heal relationships with kids, and make you believe in God.  That’s all.

#6 – Blame

Blaming anyone (including yourself!) for your results or your actions is pointless.  Instead, take your power back and own your results.  Create a weekly habit of getting back on track with your priorities and your focus. We all get off track. We all have excuses. Keep up the habit of seeking solutions, not blame.

#5 – Worrying about competitors stealing your content

The days of intellectual property are mostly gone.

(And I say this as somebody who has had entire blog posts cut and pasted with a new byline on other websites.)

Here’s what’s truer than theft:

No one can steal your energy.

The people who steal your content crack me up because – try as they might – they can’t steal the energy and intention that is behind the content.  AND, even if they get a client from your content, they most likely wouldn’t be able to deliver on the promise.  Not really.

And besides, your job is to just keep getting ideas and putting them out there. Your loyal fans and readers will come to you when they find someone ripping you off. By that time, you’ll be on to something else.

#4 – Endless alerts

How many alerts are pinging, binging, ringing, blooping, bleeping or vibrating your ass in any given hour? (Or even as you read this.)  Turn them off.  They’re making bad chemicals happen in your brain. They’re distracting your focus. And they are turning you into an anxiety-ridden rat.

#3 – Half-Ass Delegation

Here’s a 7-Act Play in one paragraph:

Hire someone. Be excited. Tell him a few things to do. Get busy the next day. Forget to show him other things to do. Get frustrated because he didn’t do what you wanted. Call friends and complain that you can’t find good help these days.

Try this instead:

When you hire someone, tell him EXACTLY what you want him to do. Lay it out in step-by-step format with desired results and timelines spelled out clearly.  Take time each day to continue the training.  This requires consistent clarity and focus. And it pays off.

#2 — Looking at your unsubscribes


How many times do I have to tell you to stop doing this?

Your unsubscribes are none of your business.  Turn off that alert NOW.

Then, hire someone to manage your list and keep an eye on your unsubscribes.

(And yes, she will inform you the day your whole list decides they don’t like you anymore and collectively makes a mass exodus. In the meantime, the three people who unsubscribed this week can go out for cocktails together and talk about you.)

#1 — Taking the word “solo” literally

Solopreneur or solo business owner means that you run your own business. It does NOT mean that you should “go it alone.”

You can’t succeed without support from someone who is already successful at what you want to do.  It’s time to reach out, hire a coach, get a mentor, or surround yourself with other successful entrepreneurs.

Now, share with me!

What are you doing (sometimes or often) that is wasting your time – and when will you stop?

  • Eco-Vegan Gal

    There are so many great nuggets of information and inspiration in this, especially “No one can steal your energy” and “Your unsubscribes are none of your business”. THANK YOU!

  • Helen Elizabeth Evans

    Loving your article, Christine, as with all your material. Have yet to see/ hear something that I didn’t think “she’s spot on!”. One of the few people out there who makes me really think! Thank you.
    Also love everyone’s comments – they add so much value so thanks to everyone who shared too.
    My biggest time waster is resistance… needing to know “exactly” what is right before taking action, needing to get massive results to maintain excitement about what I do, constantly needing to “improve” everything I’m doing. Such huge time waster!!

  • sue bock


    You are spot on. I started asking for help about 3 years ago or so. Since then, my life has gotten much easier and I don’t have to worry about so many things. Content is my daily focus. Being a leader means asking for help and knowing when you need it. Great advice.

    Sue Bock

  • Cindy Henexson

    After this week’s “Becoming 360” *and* this article, I am in checking references on a potential housekeeper and have scheduled a “date night” with the hubs. Thanks Christine, I am better “managing my spirit” and “protecting my confidence”!!

  • Melissa

    No more going it alone for me! I have declared 2014 The Year of the Team in my business. In addition to hiring a copy editor and graphic designer, I am to meeting with an accountant but I don’t even know what to ask. I’m a psychotherapist and coach. Any suggestions?

    • Helen Elizabeth Evans

      Good question. What do you ask an accountant when hiring them…? Hmm. Not sure about the specifics, but in hiring in general its not what they do but what you get from them as a client that matters most I think, so I always check the testimonials and then find people who’ve worked with a person and ask those people in person or on the phone the pros and cons, what would they do differently etc. Even if they give negatives it doesn’t stop me working with a person if I feel those negatives are things I can work with or work around.

  • Grace

    Hiring a bookkeeper is actually on my B-360-B Action Steps list TWICE (Daily Activities & Team/Support). I laughed out loud when I saw that one!

  • Andrea Mock

    for me it’s customer service. I do get paid to listen to their batty ideas but then I can’t put the conversations out of my mind when I’m not getting paid. That’s the real pain point for me. I love the work…hate the power games. I can’t hire this part out. I’m getting better. I focus on the work that def helps.

  • Laura

    Okay – I am putting myself on an errand-free diet during my peak productive hours. Blech – so glad to be getting these clear, concise pearls from you again CK. Oops clothes need to go in the dryer…

  • Stacy Jenkins

    Number 1 was most poignant for me- going it alone has been the most difficult habit for me to break. I feel like I’m still in Kindergarten when it comes to asking for help–just realizing in the moment that I could ask for help is a monumental task so often, because I’ve done so little of it in my life. I am determined though to change it. Slowly but surely I am. Great reminders Christine. Thank you, have an awesome retreat!

  • Alana Monge

    I always enjoy your ezines, Christine, and I’m thinking about you all in Asheville from the mountains of Colorado, and will be glad to see you in Atlanta in June!


  • Marina

    I was focusing on other people’s ‘stuff’. It always seemed more important or I’d tell myself if I just help them out with this, I can focus on my work.
    Turns out it was just productive procrastination.
    Now my stuff comes first and I know I’ll always help other people and I love it, but I’ve delegated 2 hours each week to do it in. If they can’t make that time – they’ll find someone else to help them. That decision alone has freed up my head space.

    • Christine Kane

      I like the phrase “productive procrastination,” marina. I think you’ve got something there! 🙂

    • Helen Elizabeth Evans

      I like your 2-hour solution, Marina. Great idea for us over-helping types. I also take the view that I’m not here to help everyone and if I hit “pause” on my auto-help-response only those who really want/ need my help will still be there and the rest will find someone else to help them.

  • Michelle Marie McGrath

    LOVE this post so much and was nodding my head at most of them. Some great reminders thank you!

  • Sandra

    #5 – Worrying about competitors stealing your content has been a time waster last week. One particular person who is always copying what I do came to my free speaking gig in a local business association and, not happy with that, took pictures of each and every slide with his smartphone. He pissed me off and distracted me so much, but I didn’t come up with anything to say at the moment. I could only think of staying focused in my speech.
    But after the talk I have thought and talked a lot about that situation. I know it’s a waste of time and that he will never do it like me since he is only copying but still… Now I feel guilty! Haha!

    • Helen Elizabeth Evans

      Okay, I know this is probably a time waster but my sense of humour is kicking in… how about going along to his next talk and doing the same to him? What’s the chances he’d ever come back to one of your talks? Upside is if it ever happens again you probably have a barrage of strategies planned and can take appropriate action there and then.

  • Cena from

    I just love you… I smile and giggle all the way down the list.. Sending you hugs and all great stuff!

  • Bimpey

    Thanks Christine..thanks for the list. Over-delegation is a huge time waster…giving important projects to your subordinates may cost you more time re-working on it…

  • dawn

    #4 for sure! I’m working on it though 🙂

  • Delia

    pretty much #1 …yup…that one 🙂

  • Wendy

    Yikes! What an “On Time Come to Jesus Meeting!” #3 alone is a million dollar idea!

  • Jennifer Kennedy

    I’m definitely guilty at #2, looking at my unsubscribes (and my subscribes in general). Yes, I want to be aware, but there is such a thing as healthy awareness. 🙂

    Some of my other biggest time wasters are Facebook (like Dr. Anna Garrett said) and emails. Every time I get a notification, I want to jump up and look right away. I’ve solved this issue by turning off all notifications on my phone. So, I no longer get excited by the number circled in red on my iphone! This has helped tremendously and has allowed me to focus on what’s important for my business!

    • Christine Kane

      Jennifer – If you get a second, read the article by Dr. Andrew Weil that I link to in the article above. It’s a GREAT description of what happens to us with all of these alerts that we set and get “pinged” by! So happy you’ve turned them off!

  • Miranda

    I’d add another one to this list: “working” too many hours. I used to work ALL the time. Limiting the actual number of hours I was “at work” made me way, way, way more productive. Now I just have to cross the final frontier and hire a housecleaner!

  • Robbin Jorgensen

    Ah…..thanks for the reminder Christine! #10. Invoices…check. Quickbooks…check. Receipts?? Not so much!

  • Desiree

    I waste time checking emails and wondering why I am not getting more orders, basically looking for distractions I think! I did hire a bookkeeper for the first time! It’s wonderful as she comes to me, does my books and leaves with everything accounted for! Phew, I can now approach tax time without the stress of a year of inputting stuff!

  • Susan Pepler

    Great list Christine!
    I recently hired a personal assistant, just for a couple of hours a week and it has made an enormous difference. She will tidy, clean, keep my books … organize my stuff … all of the little (big!) things that distract me and keep me from painting in the studio – my FAVOURITE part of the job!
    Cheers, and thanks,

  • Corinne Meharg

    Hi Christine,
    Can I add a 3A and 3B? Half-Ass evaluation. When you delegate a job to someone, you owe them evaluation at some point as to how they are doing the job. It needs to be specific and documented, you can not say, you never take out the trash, you never clean off the yoga mats or you never answer the phone. The specific date and type of infraction needs to be noted so that you are not complaining – you are helping them do their best job. In like fashion, when they do a great job, that needs to be documented as well and acknowledged in public.

    • Christine Kane

      Rock on Corinne! I love it.

      I was just training this exact thing today during the “Becoming 360” Day I did here in Asheville. So so true.

  • Andrea Hiltbrunner

    Hi Christine, # 7 and I just hired my very first house cleaning lady and she is brilliant! Love, Andrea

    • Christine Kane

      Congratulations Andrea! (we will miss you here in Asheville this week during Gold!)

  • Dr Anna Garrett

    #11….aimlessly trolling around on Facebook. I need parental controls.

    Thanks for an awesome list Christine!

    • Susannah

      With you on that one Anna. Social media is such an easy form of procrastination!

    • Wisdom Mupudzi

      yeah so true, i now have selected a few days that I pop on them but otherwise I use Hootsuite a whole lot more. One thing i stopped doing is to stop accessing them in the morning, do that and your first hour or so is gone into vapour!