02 Mar Surprising Ways You Are Wasting Time
We all waste time at work. Whether you just can’t focus on what you need to do or you’re trying to relieve your boredom by browsing the Internet. Time-wasting is painfully common in workplaces all across the globe
According to recent data 4 percent of employees waste half the day or more — and that’s not accounting for self-reporting biases!
If you’re like me and are very self-driven, at this point you’re likely telling yourself that you believe others do this, but that you most definitely do not!
Maybe not deliberately but unfortunately, most forms of wasting time go unnoticed by you until it’s too late to do anything about them. Do you recognize any of these?
The most efficient communicators use tools such as meetings, phone calls and emails to ensure this is a consistent and productive process. Business communication is a necessary tool day to day, and in an ideal world, efficient.
But how many times have you received a long-winded email that spent several paragraphs explaining a very simple idea? How many meetings have you attended that could have been an email? How much time have you spent travelling to meetings that could have been done by Skype or a simple phone call?
These tools used well can enhance productivity but used badly just eat at time could be utlised so much better.
We all have small routines that we do every day. Rituals. At home and at work. Some of which are productive and most of which are not.
If you work in an office you might tidy the communal kitchen while the kettle boils for your morning tea, making small talk with colleagues as they pass through. How often does this truly last just until the kettle has finished boiling? If you work at home, as the computer warms up you unload the dishwasher (yes we all do it!) or check the news and tell yourself you’ll just dip in and an hour later you’re still catching up on Facebook or the news channel.
While these rituals are not always a waste of time, the danger here comes in not being conscious of your time spent. Taking breaks, connecting well with colleagues and reading the news aren’t necessarily bad things, but they can put a damper on your total productivity.
Distractions are a well-documented cause of time loss. Most people understand the obvious, distractions that catch their eye in the middle of a project — for example, you might check Twitter instead of working through that niggly problem or shop online between tasks. But usually, disconnecting from the Internet and scheduling time for these activities later are good strategies for nipping this one in the bud.
However distractions you don’t recognize as distractions can be more dangerous. Answering emails that constantly pop-up in the side bar or ping at you constantly. Or colleagues that like to chat where the conversation diverges from the initial work question. Do you know the best way to handle those?
Increasing your productivity and tackling the time-eaters starts with an acceptance. That you likely waste just as much time as everyone else!
Once you can hand on heart get over the “not me, I don’t do that”, only then can you identify the key areas of your daily schedule that need improvement and work on these.
This doesn’t mean you’ll eventually be perfect at managing your time. Nobody is. But every change and every improvement is progress and progress is all you can do!
For help managing some of your time-eaters and getting a handle on your emails, an ever ringing phone or just those admin tasks that swallow your day contact Alison at Alison@serenityva.co.uk to see how we can help.