Avoid these common time wasters to ensure work productivity

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

Professionals lose an average of three hours of productivity every day to various forms of distractions. For some, it could even be more than three hours. Apparently, that little chit-chat here and there or the quick peek on TikTok could be costing you more than you imagined. So many things compete for our time and attention, but only a few are actually worth it. The problem is we often do not recognize these time wasters but are always left to rue their consequences.

The fact is there are so many time wasters in this era, and it has become even easier to get carried away without even knowing it. Besides, time is a precious commodity in the workplace, and it's important to make the most of it. Unfortunately, these time wasters can eat away at your productivity and leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled at the end of the day.

So let’s talk about the common time wasters, how they affect your productivity, and how you can deal decisively with these issues.

Biggest time wasters at work you should avoid

First, time wasters are activities that take our time but do not bring us any real benefit or satisfaction. They can range from small distractions like checking social media to more significant ones like binge-watching TV shows. Let’s explore some of them and how to avoid them.

The social media frenzy

You know that urge to check out the trending topic on Twitter or upload your picture-perfect Monday morning attire on Instagram? Sound familiar? It hampers your productivity and takes more work time than you think. Don’t believe it? A Zippia study shows that 56% of employees reported that social media was one of their biggest time wasters at work.

Social media platforms are designed to be engaging and addictive. They are full of notifications, likes, and comments that can easily distract you from your work. In fact, studies have shown that employees spend an average of 2 hours per day on social media during work hours, which can add up to 10 hours per week!

This can significantly impact productivity, as employees who use social media at work are often not fully focused on their tasks and may take longer to complete them. 

Another issue is that social media can lead to less engagement with colleagues and decreased collaboration. When employees constantly check their phones or scroll through social media feeds, they may miss out on important conversations or opportunities to work together on projects.

As a result, professionals need to be mindful of their social media usage during work hours and for employers need to establish clear guidelines and policies around social media use in the workplace.

Chatty colleagues

Sounds funny? But every office has that chatty colleague who loves to share every detail and information about what’s happening around the society and office. The problem is that these little chit-chats eat up productivity and are a major time waster in work. The Zippia survey says these sets actually affect over 75% of people in the workplace.

Interestingly, talkative coworkers also create a stressful work environment, leading to decreased job satisfaction and even burnout. This can be particularly true for introverted or highly sensitive people, who may find it difficult to concentrate in noisy or distracting environments.

Of course, it's important to remember that social interactions at work can be valuable and necessary for building relationships and fostering a positive work culture. However, it's also important to set boundaries and communicate your needs to your coworkers. 

If a particular coworker is consistently interrupting you and impacting your productivity, try politely letting them know that you need some quiet time to focus on your work. You could also suggest a specific time later in the day when you'd be happy to chat with them.

Multitasking

Surprised? Well, don’t be. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t exactly something to be proud of because it just may be affecting your performance and output on individual results. Although the popular belief is that multitasking can make you more productive, research has proven that it actually has the opposite effect. In fact, trying to do multiple tasks at once can lead to a decrease in productivity and quality of work and even increase stress levels.

One study by the American Psychological Association found that switching between tasks can cause a 40% decrease in productivity. This is because when you switch between tasks, your brain needs time to refocus and get back into the flow of the new task. This refocusing time adds up and can take longer than if you had just focused on one task at a time.

So, while it might seem like multitasking is a good way to get more done in less time, it actually has the opposite effect. It's much more efficient to focus on one task at a time, complete it, and then move on to the next task.

Too many meetings

I guess we may all agree on this one, well, except for the heads who convene these meetings. Meetings can be a valuable tool for communication and collaboration in the workplace. However, they can also be a big source of frustration and inefficiency if not managed properly.

One of the main ways that meetings can be wasted time is by simply taking up too much of it. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, executives spend an average of 23 hours per week in meetings, which is nearly half of their working week! That's a lot of time that could be spent on more productive activities.

Another issue with meetings is that they often involve too many people, many of whom may not actually need to be there. In fact, a survey by software company Atlassian found that 91% of employees admitted to daydreaming during meetings, and 73% said they do other work during meetings. This suggests that many people feel that meetings are not an effective use of their time.

This doesn't mean that all meetings are bad - it just means that they need to be managed effectively in order to be truly productive. By setting clear goals, inviting only necessary attendees, and sticking to a structured agenda, meetings can be a valuable tool for communication and collaboration in the workplace.

Procrastination

Procrastination is one of the top time wasters affecting more than half of the global workforce in varying degrees. According to a study, over 80% of workers admit to procrastinating for at least one hour a day. This implies that there, for many, it’s over one hour.

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task or activity, even though we know that it's important or necessary. While it may feel good at the moment to put things off, it can actually end up costing us a lot of time and productivity in the long run.

When we procrastinate, we often end up rushing to complete tasks at the last minute, which can lead to mistakes and errors. This can be especially problematic in jobs that require attention to detail.

By prioritizing tasks and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable steps, we can avoid procrastination and stay on track to meet our goals.

Staying put on manual processes

Manual processes are those that require human intervention and effort to complete. These could be anything from data entry, sorting and filing paperwork, manually sending out emails or messages, and other tasks that require repetitive or menial work. While these tasks may seem simple and straightforward, they can be time-consuming and tedious, taking up valuable time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

Studies have shown that manual processes can be a major time-waster in the workplace, taking up about 40% of work time. That's a significant amount of time that could be spent on more important tasks or even on personal development.

So if you’re an employer, an employee, or a freelancer, it is important that you embrace automation to manage your tasks and work activities.

For instance, the Workee software is a smart tool for independent professionals and freelancers who work by appointment. This tool helps to save time and resources by providing critical facilities, including;

  • Booking and scheduling to enable clients to book your services and schedule meetings 

  • CRM enables you to track and manage your clients

  • Video conferencing for easy collaboration

  • The finance tool enables you to issue automated invoices, track tax payments, and track your due payments. Workee integrates with processors like PayPal and Stripe so that you can manage your finances from one place.

Want to know more? Get started on Workee for free

How do you avoid time wasters and enhance productivity

To avoid timewasters and make your work more productive, here are some tips:

  1. Set clear goals and priorities: One of the best ways to avoid timewasters is to know exactly what you need to accomplish and prioritize your tasks accordingly. This way, you can focus your time and energy on the most important tasks and avoid getting sidetracked by less important ones.

  2. Create a schedule and stick to it: It can help you stay on track and ensure that you're progressing toward your goals. Make sure to set aside specific times for tasks and try to stick to them as much as possible.

  3. Use productivity tools: There are plenty of tools out there that can help you stay organized and focused. For example, you might use a task management app to keep track of your to-do list or a time-tracking app to see how you're spending your time.

  4. Minimize distractions: Distractions can be a major timewaster, so it's important to minimize them as much as possible. This might mean turning off your phone or email notifications while you work, or working in a quiet environment.

  5. Take breaks: While it seems counterintuitive, taking breaks can help you be more productive in the long run. By giving your brain a chance to rest and recharge, you'll be able to come back to your work with more focus and energy.

To conclude 

Time wasters can be a significant obstacle to productivity and success. By setting limits for ourselves, focusing on one task at a time, breaking down large tasks, and finding productive forms of entertainment, we can avoid wasting time and achieve our goals.

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