As a working individual, you should always aim to make the most of your precious time each day. Time management helps you meet important deadlines and be productive with your tasks and projects.
However, staying laser-focused on your job and can be a struggle sometimes. In reality, various distractions within your office space can rob you of productivity.
In this article, we help you determine the six ultimate workplace time wasters and how you can avoid them.
How do time wasters affect your daily work?
Any office environment will always have a minefield of time wasters and distractions. If you cannot steer clear of the potential time wasters around you, it may often result in some serious repercussions.
According to a UC Irvine study, office employees are typically interrupted every 11 minutes on average. It will take about 25 minutes before they can get back to what they were previously working on.
Time wasters in your workplace can interfere with your work productivity. It can lead to procrastination and unmet deadlines. It will also impact other people around you, especially if you are working in a team or with a partner.
When you let these workplace time wasters or distractions overpower your daily job functions, it may result in poor job performance. The worst-case scenario is losing your job due to failing to fulfill what is expected of you.
5 workplace time wasters that hold back your productivity
Here, we have six of the biggest time wasters that you need to avoid in your workplace:
Poor organization and prioritization
This is not only about your tasks. The lack of organization within your entire workspace, especially your desk, can lead to mayhem.
Without setting your priorities straight, you’ll be confused as to which tasks need to be completed urgently. This is especially true if you have several projects that you have to accomplish.
You could spend hours on one task that’s not your top priority. The lack of proper prioritization of tasks is one big time waster.
Checking your emails constantly
Incessantly checking your emails is also one of the worst workplace time wasters you have to keep in check.
One report published by McKinsey Global Institute found that an average employee spends 28% of a working day reading and answering emails. If you calculate its overall equivalent, you waste 2.6 hours every day for your emails.
Social media and other online distractions
Social networking sites and other online websites are perhaps one of the ultimate time wasters to anyone. It is easy to drown in browsing on different social platforms or online shopping sites.
This is what John Zeratsky, author of Make Time, calls “Infinity Pools.” You can scroll through social media’s never-ending content and refresh perpetually, taking you further away from your priorities.
Chatty coworkers and noisy office environment
Nonstop chitchats and a noisy working environment are intertwined time wasters that sometimes cannot be avoided. Sometimes, a quick catch-up with a co-worker can drag on for an hour or more, and it will directly affect your productivity.
Excessive and unproductive meetings
Too many meetings can also be time wasters, especially if they are unnecessary and ineffective.
These meetings can sometimes be hard to get out of unless you are one of the managers or a member of the upper management.
Ways to get around these time wasters at work
Now, let’s help you get around the time wasters we have discussed above. Here are key tips to keep in mind:
- First, you should create your to-do list. Categorize your tasks by identifying which ones are urgent. You should also make it a good habit to plan ahead of time.
- Set a specific period to dedicate to your emails. Determine which emails are essential and which aren’t. If you have subscribed to unnecessary mailing lists, unsubscribe from those invaluable to your work.
- To help you mitigate excessive use of your smartphone and social sites, put your phone on silent mode. You can also activate the Do Not Disturb mode during working hours to steer clear of one of these huge time wasters.
- As for your noisy colleagues, you have the choice to distance yourself from your chatty co-workers. Instead of engaging in chats, you can listen to soothing music while you work.
- If meetings turn out to be time wasters, you can ask your upper management to perform a calendar audit. This will help you determine which meetings require everyone to attend and which ones don’t.
Overall, you can get around these time wasters by properly managing your time, knowing your priorities, and maintaining your focus on work.
Whether you are in the office or working from home, it is best to be aware of these time wasters and know how to avoid them.