Avoid These 6 Time Wasters and Be More Productive

Linh Tran, Tuesday 10 February 2015 | Reading time: unknown

Avoid These 6 Time Wasters and Be More Productive

Photo by Flickr User Sean MacEntee, Licensed under CC BY 2.0

For businesses it is always essential to work efficiently. However, it is not always easy to do so because there are many daily activities that can distract you. It is important to identify those activities and avoid or improve them in order to increase your workplace productivity. 

1. Emails 
How often have you been gone for a week or even just a few days and your email inbox was bursting at the seams? This has happened to all of us. Emails have been identified as the task employees spend a lot of (often unnecessary) time on.  

So how to avoid this problem? First, do not constantly check your email after getting an alert. Actually it is better to turn off alerts and to just check your inbox in regular intervals, e.g. three times a day. Second, sort your emails automatically in folders by importance, e.g. newsletters or Facebook and Twitter alerts could go into their own folder. That way you can concentrate on the important emails. Third, if you have a question that could be answered immediately just call or go to the office next door and personally ask instead of sending an email.

2. Meetings
Meetings are important to plan, to keep up to date on a project’s progress and to communicate. But if they do not have any specific purpose they can waste time too. Time that could be used much more efficiently.

How can you make your meetings more productive? The most important thing is to have an agenda! The next step is to tackle technical issues before the meeting. Make sure your beamer works and is connected to the laptop and there are no problems with the software.  It is also important to be flexible. Even if the meeting is scheduled for 60 minutes you do not have to use the whole hour if you have already reached a desired outcome. You also do not have to stick to the same routine for each meeting. Another tip: Just include the people that are essential for the specific meeting’s goals instead of having too many people and slowing down the decision making process.

3. Social Media
Social media plays a big role in promoting your business and interacting with customers, but it can also be a black hole of endless scrolling that will absorb all of your time. It is so easy to get caught up in reading through your timeline or off-topic conversations that have nothing do with your goals.

In order to use your time on social media more efficiently, you need to focus on the platforms that suit your business and those where your intended audience is. Like with emails, allocate a specific time frame that you dedicate to social media instead of checking it after every alert.

4. Procrastination
We all do it, even though it stresses us out. Not only that, it also eats up a lot of time, because when you procrastinate you spend much more time thinking about the things you have to do instead of just doing them.

The first step in stopping to procrastinate is to do things at once, especially those that can be done quickly. Many procrastinators are actually perfectionists, they delay doing something because they are not sure if they can do it well. It is not the end of the world if something is not done perfectly, it is more importantly to just do it.

5. Multi-tasking
Many people think that they have to do everything on their own and at the same time. Multi-tasking is often associated with productiveness, which is true, if you can do it effectively that is. Thing is, not many can.

In a company you’re a team, so you should work like one. Everybody has their own skills, so try to make optimal use of your greatest skill. Delegate tasks that you either don’t need do yourself, like small administrative tasks, or delegate those that you can’t do and which others could do better. You do not need to do everything yourself, because you will end up with more work than you can manage and can’t focus on the important tasks. It is better to focus on one task at a time instead of many at once. Partial focus does not bring top results. 

6. Overworking
Being productive does not mean that you have to work all the time and never take a break. On the contrary, overworking can lead to exhaustion and that in turn leads to being less productive and in a worst case scenario to a burnout, and then you won’t be able to work at all for a while.

We have all learned in school that when studying you need to take regular breaks for your brain to relax. The same should be applied at the workplace, sometimes you need to step back and it will help you clear your head and maybe find new solutions for problems that have been bothering you for a while.

If some of these time wasters sound familiar to you, then the first step of identifying them is done and now you can work on avoiding them or improving the tasks so that you can focus on the important ones. In today’s society and in the business world time is a resource that is scarce, so spend it wisely. 

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