Do you feel like you never have enough time in a day everyday? Do you want to be more productive at work? These 10 time wasters are incredibly common and they may be the root cause of your unfulfilling, unproductive workdays.
1. Copying What Works For Someone Else: If you’ve based your workdays around what works for one of your coworkers who has the same job or what worked for the person in the position before you, this could be your biggest problem. Everyone’s work habits are different and, if you’re trying to match a schedule that doesn’t work for you, you’re wasting time. Finding the right balance requires trial and error but, if you don’t want to continue wasting time, you should start experimenting with different ways to organize your workday.
2. Tying Yourself to Your Computer: Do you feel like you’re chained to the computer, unable to get up and move around, because you have so much work to do? Putting yourself in this position is actually leading to more wasted time than you might think! Taking short, frequent breaks away from your computer can help you focus more clearly when you return to your desk and can cut down on your wasted time.
3. Disorganized Meetings: No one likes attending a meeting that doesn’t have a specific purpose or leads to zero changes and follow through. Whether you’re the one attending these disorganized meetings or you’re the one holding these disorganized meetings, you need to make changes so that you aren’t wasting so much time. If you’re attending them, ask the meeting organizers what actionable steps you can take after each meeting and, if pointless meetings continue to be held, ask if there’s a way to send this information in an email or shorten the runtime of meetings. If you’re holding disorganized meetings, make sure you’re only scheduling meetings when they are necessary and be prepared with a clear message and actionable plan your attendees can use to make necessary changes after the meeting is over.
4. Unplanned Workdays: When you don’t make plans or set goals, it can be easy to let some of your responsibilities slip or never advance in your career. If you want to stop wasting time, you need to start planning your workdays. Whether you pick a project deadline and plan tasks backwards from that deadline to now or you take time to schedule tasks in specific time blocks each day, having a plan will keep you focused, on track, and keep your from wasting time.
5. Perfectionism: Unfortunately, perfectionism is a double-edged sword. It can lead to fantastic results that are highly praised or it can lead to never getting started or never finishing a project because it isn’t up to your exacting standards. To avoid this time waster, strive for your best but set concrete deadlines so that you can satisfy some of your perfectionism but you’ll never turn something in late or avoid doing it at all.
6. Obsessively Checking Email & Social Media: Email and, increasingly, social media are necessary tools in the modern office. However, if you’re obsessively checking your email and social media every hour, you’re probably getting distracted too often and wasting too much time during your workdays. Set aside specific windows up to four times per day where you check email and social media and then avoid them at all costs during other time periods. And, if possible, avoid scheduling your first check in right when you start your workday.
7. Procrastinating the Difficult Tasks: It seems easier to tackle as many small tasks as possible but, eventually, the difficult and time consuming tasks need to be done. Productivity experts recommend tackling your most challenging task first thing in the day to build productivity momentum and avoid wasting time.
8. A Cluttered, Disorganized Workspace: One of the sneakiest time wasters is trying to find things in your cluttered, disorganized workspace. While cleaning up and tidying your desk may seem like a time waster, it can lead to more productive workdays in the future. Set aside the time now to clean and get rid of clutter and you’ll have a much easier time focusing in the future.
9. Saying Yes When You Don’t Have the Time: You want to help coworkers out when they’re in a bind and you want to go the extra mile when your boss throws another task your way but, if you don’t have the time, always saying yes to extra responsibilities could be your biggest time waster. Pick and choose these added responsibilities carefully. While you shouldn’t always say no, you also shouldn’t always say yes, especially if you don’t have the time to take on extra tasks at the moment.
10. Jumping From Task to Task: Are you constantly jumping from task to task instead of focusing on one thing until it’s finished? This could be one of the biggest time wasters in your workday! Scheduling and planning your workdays can help you avoid this. When you’re clear on what your priorities are and what you really need to get done each day, it’s easier to focus intently on one thing and avoid jumping from task to task.
If you’re looking to advance your career while maintaining a great work-life balance, avoiding time wasters is absolutely necessary. Get rid of these 10 time wasters and your workdays will be more productive, efficient, and less stressful!