Managing your time effectively and working efficiently in your role can help you accomplish more on a day-to-day basis. While most professionals are aware of how important it is to avoid wasting time at work, it can be challenging to do so. If you’re struggling with your productivity levels, it may be helpful for you to identify strategies for overcoming time-wasters. In this article, we outline why it’s important to avoid time-wasters in the workplace and list nine common environmental and personal factors that contribute to wasted time, including tips on how you can avoid them.
Why is it important to avoid time-wasters in the workplace?
It’s important to avoid time-wasters in the workplace because they can cause distraction, interruption or a lack of productivity. Avoiding these impediments can improve a professional’s ability to focus on their tasks, work efficiently and accomplish their goals. There are various environmental and individual factors that can contribute to wasted time at work, and being aware of these factors can help professionals overcome them to cultivate success in their careers.
9 time-wasters and how to avoid them
Here are nine time-wasters you may experience at work and strategies for avoiding them so you can work more efficiently and better meet expectations in your role:
1. Social media
Social media is one of the biggest time-wasters for professionals in any work environment. You can log onto social media platforms via any device, including your phone and computer, meaning such distractions are highly accessible regardless of where you are and what you’re doing at a given moment. Therefore, it’s important to be able to overcome the urge to scroll through social media feeds instead of focusing on other tasks. To avoid wasting time on social media, remove temptations by using settings on your phone and computer that block certain applications during designated hours.
It’s common for professionals to face a variety of interruptions throughout their workday, including those from email notifications, calls, text messages, and coworkers stopping by to ask a question. While these interruptions may seem harmless, they can distract you from the tasks you were originally working on and make it challenging to refocus. Consider setting a specific time period during your workday that you can use to focus without interruptions. You can put up an away message on your email, turn off your phone, and hang a sign on your door to notify colleagues so they can come back later.
Many professionals believe that multitasking—or the act of working on multiple tasks simultaneously—can help them save time and accomplish their goals more efficiently. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t usually the case because multitasking often takes the form of task-switching, where professionals shift between tasks rather than performing them at once. Therefore, to avoid wasting time, try to focus on one task at a time and see it through to completion rather than attempting to multitask.
4. Working without a plan
As professionals often face many tasks throughout a single workday, it’s important to plan strategically. If you work without a plan, you may risk wasting time as you attempt to figure out what duties to focus on and when. You can overcome this challenge by purposefully planning your workflow for the next day at the end of your shifts. From here, you can come up with a schedule that you can follow to achieve your objectives most efficiently.
5. Taking on coworkers’ tasks
In a collaborative work environment, it’s common for professionals to help coworkers by taking on some of their responsibilities. While doing this can periodically help move workflow forward, it’s important to avoid taking on too much so you can save your time and energy for completing your own tasks. You can overcome this challenge by being reasonable with your expectations of yourself and setting clear boundaries with your coworkers regarding project workflow.
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Working in a cluttered environment can lead to higher rates of inefficiency. If you need to spend time searching for paperwork in your office or finding files on your computer, you may waste more time trying to accomplish your goals than if you develop a more effective organizational system. You can avoid wasting time due to disorganization by decluttering your workspace and strategically organizing key items so you can easily access them when you need them.
When professionals procrastinate completing key to-do list items, they may waste more time than otherwise. This is because procrastination often results in professionals spending time putting off their tasks by worrying about them and rescheduling them continuously. To avoid wasting time procrastinating, shift your workflow principles and implement a personal policy for taking care of your tasks as they arise. This policy can help you become more efficient over time and strengthen your reflexes so you can overcome the impulse to procrastinate in the future.
8. Unnecessary meetings
Meetings aren’t always necessary. Sometimes, the information communicated in a meeting can be relayed through alternative methods like email, instant messages, or memos. Therefore, both in-person and virtual meetings can often lead to wasted time in the workplace. You can avoid unnecessary meetings by thinking logically about the objectives of a proposed meeting prior to its occurrence. Try to identify the goals you intend to achieve through a meeting and evaluate whether you may be able to meet those goals more efficiently through other actions.
9. Equipment issues
Many professionals use equipment such as computers, tablets, and phones to perform their tasks on a regular basis. With this, when equipment malfunctions, it can create significant delays to workflow and result in inefficiency. Therefore, it’s important to avoid facing equipment issues whenever possible. You can do this by ensuring all of your equipment is up to date, has functional software, and is serviced regularly.
I hope you find this article helpful.