Very few working professionals can honestly say they work every minute of every work day. In Salary.com’s 2014 Wasting Time at Work Survey, 89% of the respondents claimed they waste time at work every day. If you waste 30 minutes each work day, that amounts to 130 hours per year, which is more than a two-week vacation. As a business owner, poor time management will cost you more than just time, it will cost you productivity and money too.
Why People Waste Time
People waste time for several reasons, sometimes not even realizing it. While taking periodic breaks throughout the day has been proven to benefit your productivity level, too many breaks can leave you searching for more time to get everything completed by the end of the day. The second reason people take breaks is out of pure boredom. When you lose interest in what you’re working on, you can easily find something more enjoyable to do. So if you’re bored at work or need a break, what are you doing in that time?
Allocation of Wasted Time
- Email – Reading and responding to emails can easily eat up 45 minutes of your day alone, not to mention the constant back and forth conversations that could be quickly resolved by verbally speaking with the other person. Setting some time aside each day for checking and responding to emails can save you an hour or more of your time per work day.
- Google – Surpassing Facebook, Google is the biggest online distraction while working. Surfing the web leads to large amounts of wasted time. One minute you’re searching for something business related and the next thing you know, you are checking the weather and the latest news about your favorite TV program.
- Social Media – Personal social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are the second biggest time wasters during the work day. While you should be promoting your business on social media, you shouldn’t be browsing family photos on Facebook.
- Meetings – Meetings can be a huge time waster if not managed effectively. When there isn’t a meeting agenda, a 30 minute meeting could end up lasting an hour or even longer.
- Socializing – Your phone is a useful tool for communication, but it becomes problematic when you’re on the phone making long personal phone calls. Be conscious of the duration of the phone call and try to make those personal phone calls during your lunch break.
- Micromanaging – While it is important to know what your employees are doing, it is detrimental to your productivity if you are constantly micromanaging them. Delegating tasks to other employees will free up some of your time so you can focus on bigger projects.
A Productive Mindset
Being more productive doesn’t come overnight. You must train yourself and have a productive mindset from the moment you wake up. By avoiding some of the time wasters listed above, you might be surprised just how much time you will have to get work done.