Do you find you never seem to have enough time to get all your work done at the office? There could be a number of things killing your time.
OfficeTime, makers of a time and expenses tracking app, recently did a survey to find out 2014’s “Top 10 Time Killers.” It polled more than 1,300 people (mainly freelancers, small business owners and other professionals) and discovered what are the largest consumers of time during the workday. And for the third year straight, email is the top time killer.
Here’s what made the list: 1. Email (44%); 2. Meetings (42%); 3. Surfing the Internet (22%); 4. Travel time/commuting (17%); 5. Procrastination (10%); 6. Non-business related conversations (7%); 7. Watching TV or Internet videos (7%); 8. Break time (7%); 9. Social networking for business (6%); 10. Dealing with computer problems (6%).
So why are workers wasting time? Most respondents cited “feeling uninspired” and “feeling stressed” (which tied) were the top reasons for 67% of respondents.
But you can be more productive.
Do Not Disturb, It’s Work Time
Have a set time each day where you can focus solely on the day’s necessary tasks. “Block out part of your days for completing important tasks so that you can get into the flow without interruption. That means phone, instant message, social media and email are all turned off,” Stephen Dodd, CEO of OfficeTime tells TNJ.com. “Tell your friends that you’ll be unplugging and for how long. Let your friends and colleagues know that you won’t be ‘connected’ so they know not to expect anything from you.”
Have Email Control
Answering, sending and deleting unnecessary emails takes a major chunk out of your day. Use a filter to get rid of spam and have an action plan on how to deal with your other email correspondence. “The No. 1 time killer in each of the three years we have conducted our survey has been dealing with email,” notes Dodd. “We all agree that the e-mail tsunami needs to be contained…First, calculate how much time you currently spend on e-mail, year-wise. I started by admitting to an average of about two minutes per e-mail and I deal with about 40 e-mails per day and when I calculated it all out, I was spending 400 hours per year (or 10 weeks) on email! If I can reduce the time spent on each e-mail by 30 seconds, I will be able to save 2.5 weeks of time spent on handling email.”
Have an email ban–of sorts. “To reduce the time you spend on e-mails, consider banning e-mail between late afternoon and 6:00 am on weekdays and all through the weekend. Designated ‘Blackout Wednesdays,’ with no emails being sent or received during that afternoon. You will be able to, in time, expand this block of time to an entire day,” suggests Dodd.
Kick It Into Gear
Everyone does it sometimes–procrastination. But when it becomes a habit at work, it can be detrimental to your career. “Another of our Top Time Killers was the one non-activity on the list: procrastination,” says Dodd.
But you can beat the temptation.”If a task or group of tasks seems to overwhelming and you keep putting them off, solve the procrastination problem by using a timer to work in short intervals,” he advises. “Keep a log of the activity and the duration of time you’ve devoted to giving your undivided attention to it. You might notice patterns over time that can help you get to the real cause of your procrastination.”