The majority of workers spend an average of eight hours every single working day sitting at their desks, so it’s hardly surprising that sometimes we don’t have the motivation to work. It’s only natural, right? But momentary blips of concentration aren’t the only ways we waste precious time at work. What takes up the most time of our working day? You might be surprised. Here are five of the biggest time wasters we all face at work (some more than others), and also provided advice on how to tackle those distractions.
Time Waster #1: Emails
Emailing has become the number one form of communication at the workplace, as it’s convenient and a great way to keep an electronic record of your correspondences. But, a LOT of the working day is spent fielding constant email, which can cause us to lose up to 10 IQ points (the same as missing an entire night’s sleep). What’s more, a lot of these emails are internal. A study by Halton Housing Trust found that out of 95,000 emails sent, 75,000 were internal.
Solution: If there’s something that needs to be discussed, opt for a phone or face-to-face conversation instead. It can mean the difference between an hour of work and a two-day back and forth email discussion.
Time Waster #2: Meetings
Forty-two percent of employees feel that work meetings take away from their productivity and are basically a huge waste of time. Meetings are a necessary evil. You need to keep your team on the same page. You need regular updates on what’s happening in each of your projects. But too often, meetings get drawn out, stealing away valuable minutes in your day.
Solution: The next time you’re invited to a meeting, have a discussion about the agenda with the meeting host and ask why they think you should attend. Then set up a system where other executives go in your place and brief you on what you need to know later. It will save you time.
Time Waster #3: Social Media
It’s tempting. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – they’re all so easily accessible to you while you’re on your computer during the day. Yet the moment you land on one of these websites, you’ve stolen away valuable minutes from your day.
Test yourself to see how much time you’re wasting on social media. Set a timer each time you head over to one of these websites. You might surprise yourself.
Solution: To avoid wasting excessive time on social media, set a time limit for each day. Promise yourself that you’ll only spend one hour a day on social media for work and personal tasks. When that hour is up, close the windows and stop your snooping until the next day.
Time Waster #4: Motivation (or rather, a lack of)
When asked to choose the main reason why employees waste time at work, 11 percent said it was due to a lack of incentive, 10 percent said they were unsatisfied in their jobs, and 9 percent claimed boredom. Your job can easily become mundane and repetitive, and it can be difficult to muster up the appropriate level of enthusiasm from time to time.
Solution: Set personal goals. Nothing is more demotivating than working without an incentive. If you feel like you’re not getting paid enough, work towards getting a promotion within the next six months. If you don’t like what you’re doing, figure out where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. With clear goals, you’ll find yourself working more productively.
Time Waster #5: Disorganization
Your boss asks you for a copy of that important file, but you can’t find the hard copy through the huge pile of scattered papers on your desk, and your online document organization is just as bad. Being disorganized is one of the most common causes for slowing you down at work and wasting time. In addition, you’re more likely to forget something or miss that important deadline.
Solution: Declutter your workstation. Invest in a desk organizer and folders (a must if you’re constantly submerged with paper hard copies), and be sure to put everything in its proper place before you leave each night.
Don’t let your workday get away from you by wasting time on tasks that can easily be outsourced to another vendor or to an app. Make your life easier by organizing your workday. You’ll be amazed at how much time you save.