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  • Writer's pictureAdam Hurd

10 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make That Are Stealing Their Time

Running a business is no easy feat. It requires dedication, hard work, and smart decision-making. However, despite their best efforts, many business owners find themselves struggling to manage their time effectively. Time, after all, is one of the most valuable resources in the world of business. In this blog post, we'll explore 10 common mistakes that business owners make that are stealing their time, along with actionable fixes to reclaim those precious hours.

1. Working without intention

It's easy to fall into the trap of busywork, where you're constantly moving but not necessarily making progress. This often happens when business owners lack clear intentions for their work. Without a strategic plan in place, time can easily slip away without achieving meaningful results. The fix? Shift your focus towards intentional work. Prioritize strategic planning sessions where you outline your goals and objectives. Allocate specific times for different tasks and stick to them religiously. By working with intention, you'll find that your efforts yield larger gains in the long run.

2. Failure to delegate

Many business owners have a tendency to shoulder the burden of every task themselves, fearing that delegation may lead to subpar results. However, failing to delegate effectively only serves to bog down your own productivity. The fix? Empower your team by delegating tasks to them. Identify tasks that others can perform at least 80% as well as you and gradually hand them off. Not only does this free up your own time, but it also fosters the growth and development of your team members' skills.

3. Skipping breaks

In the fast-paced world of business, taking breaks can sometimes feel like a luxury we can't afford. However, research has consistently shown that breaks are essential for maintaining productivity and preventing burnout. The fix? Insist on downtime. Schedule regular breaks throughout your day and treat them with the same level of importance as any other meeting on your calendar. Completely disconnect from work during these breaks—no emails, calls, or other work-related distractions. You'll find that taking breaks actually increases, rather than decreases, your overall productivity.

4. Not setting clear boundaries

With the rise of remote work and digital communication tools, it's become increasingly difficult to establish boundaries between work and personal life. This lack of clear boundaries can lead to a constant feeling of being "on call" and can ultimately drain your time and energy. The fix? Take the time to establish clear boundaries for yourself. Define your work hours and communicate them to your team and family members. Utilize tools and techniques to enforce these boundaries, such as setting specific times for checking emails or using Do Not Disturb features on your phone.

5. Micromanaging

Micromanaging can create a culture of dependency where team members feel disempowered and undervalued. Hovering over every task and decision not only drains your time but also demotivates your team. By delegating tasks and allowing autonomy, you cultivate a sense of ownership and accountability within your team. Ultimately, fostering trust and autonomy leads to a more motivated and high-performing team. Trust your team to handle their responsibilities and provide guidance when needed.

6. Failing to prioritize tasks

Spending too much time on trivial tasks while neglecting critical ones can lead to inefficiency. Use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency.

7. Multitasking

Business owners often find themselves multitasking on various fronts, from answering emails while participating in meetings to trying to brainstorm marketing strategies while handling customer inquiries. This juggling act can lead to fragmented attention and subpar results in each area. By focusing on one task at a time, such as dedicating specific blocks of time for email management or brainstorming sessions, business owners can dive deeper into each task and produce higher-quality outcomes. This approach allows for better concentration, reduces the risk of errors, and ultimately enhances overall productivity.

8. Ignoring automation opportunities

Repetitive tasks can eat up a significant portion of your time. Explore automation tools and solutions to streamline processes and free up valuable time for more important endeavors.

9. Overcommitting

Saying yes to every opportunity or project can spread you too thin, leading to subpar results and increased stress. Learn to say no and focus on projects that align with your goals and priorities.

10. Lack of self-care

Neglecting your physical and mental well-being ultimately hampers your productivity and effectiveness as a business owner. Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep to recharge and perform at your best.


  • Prioritize intentional work over busywork to ensure your efforts lead to meaningful results.

  • Empower your team through effective delegation, freeing up your time while fostering their skills and growth.

  • Make breaks a non-negotiable part of your schedule to maintain productivity and prevent burnout.

  • Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life to preserve your time and energy for what truly matters.

In conclusion, by recognizing and addressing these common time-stealing mistakes, business owners can reclaim control over their schedules and achieve greater productivity and success in their ventures. Remember, time is a precious resource—use it wisely.

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