Timesuck. Yes, it’s a word, and it’s not just one you’ll find on UrbanDictionary.com. Just don’t. Please.
“Timesuck: an activity to which one devotes a lot of time that might be better or more productively spent doing other things.”
Timesucks: Better Known as Wednesday Meetings
Businesses do timesucks all the time. Unnecessary meetings. Rework loops. Everything where you say to yourself, “Geez. This never ends…” while pounding your head on the desk on a Saturday afternoon. It’s the stuff that takes forever and produces minimal results no matter how hard you try.
Timesucks are the end all be all of business, and they’re super common to the point where 6-sigma black belts get at least one headache per day.
That is why me and Atticus 6-Sigma, a distant and fictional cousin of the great Atticus Finch, have come together to beat back the tide of timesucks and help businesses save their souls.
Why Timesucks Suck
There are just some things that no one has the will to own and push through. Some timesucks might be necessary for your business or project, others are not. Some are inevitable, and when people put effort into timesucks, they’re sure to lose 1) interest, 2) energy for other projects, and 3) track of what’s important.
This is why businesses need to avoid and outsource timesucks so that they can keep employees happy, reduce costs, and focus their energy on the things that matter. For that, Atticus and I have come up with the following steps on To Kill a Timesuck.
Step 1: List Out Your Timesucks
Take the time to list out everything you and your colleagues dread to work on and that up a lot of time. Whether it be those monthly reports, weekly meetings, or that one “improvement” project that is lacking ownership and has been for on-going 6 months. Name your enemies, and get ready for a timesuck battle.
Step 2: If a Timesuck Falls in an Office and No One is Around to Do It, Does it Make a Difference?
The easiest way to kill a timesuck is just to not do it, but for that, you really need to ask yourself…
If we didn’t do this timesuck, would it impact our business at all?
If the answer is no, kill it. Do it now. Don’t look back. Throw a party. Hell, throw multiple parties with the time you saved, and congrats! You’ve killed a timesuck.
If the answer is yes, we have to do this time-sucking timesuck, then begrudgingly proceed to Step 3. Be sure to drag your feet while doing it too. ;)
Step 3: Get Your Timesuck Out Of The Office
There’s a reason why your necessary timesuck is probably a timesuck. No one wants to do it. This is exactly why you should just make moves to not do it yourself and outsource it.
Outsourcing is actually cheaper than you think. For around $800/month, you can hire a qualified professional in India or the Philippines to complete any timesuck for you, and you can hire companies to manage the worker for you so that you don’t have another thing to worry about.
Step 4: Automate Your Timesuck
If outsourcing seems like too large of an on-going commitment, ask if you can automate your timesuck. Many tools like Zapier and Python scripting can actually automate a lot of your timesucks without much effort or start-up cost. In fact, you can hire someone on websites like Upwork.com and Fiverr.com to automate timesucks for less than $500.
Step 5: Realize Savings (Money & Happiness)
Let’s do some simple math.
Timesucks cost you money. Let’s say your business spends 20 hours a month at an average cost of $25/hour to complete a monthly timesuck.
$$ — 20 hours X $25/hour = $500/month
:) Factor — 20 hours of depressed / under-satisfied colleagues
Now, let’s say you outsource it:
$$ — 20 hours X $8/hour = $160/month (68% savings)
:) Factor — 20 hours of freed-up time for meaningful projects (∞ increase in happiness!)
Automation will of course be more of an upfront cost depending on the project, but it can have substantial ROI for killing your timesuck.
TL;DR — Kill Timesucks With Automation & Outsourcing
Don’t dread your timesucks. Face them straight on, kill them outright if possible, and kick them out of your office if they’re unavoidable. Quit your office’s cycle of co-dependency with the timesuck, don’t look back, and join Atticus and me on our quest…