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The 6 Biggest Time Wasters in the Workplace (And How to Tackle Them)

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. According to Executive Management Advisor Jim Alampi, “You’d be shocked by how much unnecessary work you do each day.” Why? What takes up the most time of our working day? You might be surprised. I have listed six 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 #1: 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. Solution #2: Never check your emails first thing in the morning. Instead, spend at least 30 minutes (or more if you can manage) working on something important. This is a great time saver because you are concentrating solely on what you need to work on without being distracted or bogged down with emails. Time Waster #2: Meetings And dare I even mention work meetings and/or events? Forty-two percent of employees feel that work meetings take away from their productivity and are basically a huge waste of time.

Solution #1: 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. Solution #2: Consider Jon Petz’s (author of Boring Meetings Suck) “first in, first out” approach. He says when you are invited to a meeting, respond by saying you will attend, but also ask to meet the host a few minutes before the meeting to share your insights since you won’t be able to stay the entire time. In this way, you’ll still appear interested, but you will get to walk out early.

Time Waster #3: Online Distractions Obviously the Internet is a huge temptation while you’re at work. According to a survey by, only 20 percent of workers claim they don’t visit any non-work related websites while they’re on the clock. And another study discovered that between 60 and 80 percent of the time employees spend on the Internet at work has nothing to do with their jobs. Solution #1: If you can’t resist checking your personal social media accounts every five minutes, block them. StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to set a daily fixed amount of time for certain websites, and once that time is up denies you access to them. Harsh, but brilliant. Solution #2: Allow yourself a proper lunch break. While 30 percent of employees don’t take an hour for lunch, use that time to check all of your social media accounts and non-work-related interests without feeling guilty about it! Time Waster #4: Colleague Interactions Forty-three percent of people who responded to the survey said interacting with coworkers caused them to miss the most work, beating the 28 percent who answered with surfing the Internet. Nobody wants to spend their workday in silence, but who can truly admit to be a master of multitasking?

Solution #1: Wear headphones while you’re working. It signals to your colleagues that you’re busy and focused, and they’ll only bother you if it’s something important and work related. Solution #2: If you’re busy working on something, and a chatty coworker starts talking about last night’s baseball game, tell them you’re glad they stopped by because you need them to [insert pointless work-related task here]. If they leave with a job to do, they’ll be reluctant to come back to chat.

Time Waster #5: 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 #1: 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. Solution #2: Mix up your to do list. Do you have a set of routines that are the same every day; every week? Get out of that routine. Try new techniques and alternative methods to what you’re using now. Not only are you making your job interesting again, but you’re also learning and expanding your knowledge – and hey, if you find a new technique that is more efficient, you’ll look good in front of your boss!

Time Waster #6: 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 #1: 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. Solution #2: Keep a schedule/checklist, and give yourself time at the beginning and end of every week to go through it. This may seem counterproductive at first, but documenting exactly what you need to do, and checking off the list as you do each item, will help you smoothly roll from one project to the next, without wasting precious time in between. At some point in your working life, you’ve probably encountered some, if not all, of these time wasting factors. But now you have no more excuses. Source: read://

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