waste time at work

Don’t Waste Time at Work!

If you are a new employee, a senior management professional or just ambitious, you would like to increase your productivity. The best way is to optimize your time at work so that deadlines are met and tasks are accomplished efficiently. For this, you need to recognize how valuable time slips past you inadvertently and try to take steps to prevent time wastage.

Time-wasting distractions at work

In a study, it was revealed that mobile phone calls and texting, gossip, internet browsing, social media, snack and smoking breaks, noisy co-workers, meetings, e-mails, co-worker interruptions (particularly when they drop by) or co-workers putting calls on speaker phones were important reasons for wastage of time while at work.

For some, wasting time is a habit. There are those who spend time browsing dating websites, they snack or smoke frequently, take selfies in the restroom or sleep in the bay. Some annoying habits include bringing pets to office, and women employees shaving their legs in the restroom!  There are those who change clothes in the restroom and others who take a shower and change after a workout in the gym before they get down to work.

It has been found that starting from 30 minutes a day, wastage of time extends up to nearly a half day in non-work related tasks!

How to prevent wasting time at work

  • Meetings are considered prime time-wasting practices. If you are a team leader or manager, decide whether a meeting is necessary or if you can share inputs through emails or brief conference calls. If a meeting is unavoidable, try to keep it short and ensure all attendees have their inputs, documents and necessary information for the meeting beforehand. Ensure everyone reaches the venue on time and create a practice of starting every meeting at the scheduled time. If possible, set apart a day and time for meetings, so everyone is aware and completes their work well on time. Avoid unscheduled meetings. Try new collaborative project management software that enables teams to work and access status updates from a central location, making meetings superfluous. Be fully prepared for meetings and establish the practice of attending only those meetings where your role is important. Otherwise, take permission to abstain and send in the required info well before the meeting.
  • Cohesive and organized teams ensure timely completion of work. Clear priorities, transparent project management tools, effective communication and organized teamwork saves a lot of time. Ensure transparent communication with your team members if you are the leader or find out what your exact role is if you are a member.
  • Distractions by team members interrupting for inputs or to make small talk divert you from work. To re-establish focus on your work, you need more time. Try to curb interruptions. If not urgent, ask your colleague for a suitable time when you can catch up or give your inputs. Close the door to your cabin and hang up a ‘Do not disturb’ sign. If you sit in an open bay, try wearing headphones. Close all browsers, apps and documents, turn off emails and instant messaging. Keep your smartphone on vibration mode.
  • Informal chats and socializing with colleagues are important in a workplace. But such interactions are also reasons why employees miss doing their work on time. Enhance productivity of social interactions and coffee-chats by exchanging information, ideas and problem-solving strategies. Such conversations can transform into morale boosters and help build self-esteem. Be cautious you don’t digress to unplanned and casual conversations. Keep your small talk brief and pleasant. You can also consider after-office chats over coffee or drinks for informal interactions.
  • Social media and personal e-mails are major distractions at work. It is better to diligently avoid these during work time. Set apart 10-15 minutes during break time to check if something is important or to access information not related to work, or catch up with the news. Other than that, you should avoid the social media, personal mails and calls during work time.

Remember, if you don’t waste time at work, you can complete your tasks for the day efficiently and satisfactorily. You can leave the workplace on time and pursue other interests that will add zing to your life.

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Swati Amar calls herself ‘the write person’ precisely because she claims her brain starts functioning only when her fingers dance over the computer keyboard. Gripped by an obsessive compulsion to write, her day is incomplete until she has ‘keyed’ in a few lines. Moving from counting money as an erstwhile banker in State Bank of India, Swati has been counting words for more than fifteen years. She has contributed copiously to various print and online publications in English and Tamil, numbering over 15K articles on varied subjects. Swati Amar swears allegiance to the Chennai Press Club and prides on her experience as a media entrepreneur and consultant, never losing a ‘write’ opportunity. Swati’s favorite pastime is to watch News on television, read, revel in melody, doodle and dawdle and follow the footsteps of global chefs when time permits. She believes that a good laugh peps up one’s life! And the write words too…