Are you worried that you’re wasting too much of your time at work on tasks that, ultimately, aren’t that important? If you’re required to do something, you do it. But think of all of the other tasks that pop up as part of your work process. These seemingly organic responsibilities may actually be time wasters. Look out for these 5 signs so you don’t ruin your productivity.
1. Can’t Instantly Name the Benefit: When you’re doing a task, you should know why. Everything you do at work has a reason, in theory. Make sure you know what that reason is and how the task benefits you, your team, your department, your company, or the project you’re working on.
2. You’re Doing it To Avoid Doing Something More Important: Some tasks are not time wasters in and of themselves, but, when you use them as a way to avoid doing something more important, they are ruining your productivity. Don’t just organize your inbox because you’d rather do that than work on a complex problem that needs to be solved for an important project. That problem will be waiting for you at the end of your other task and you’ll only be further behind.
3. It Doesn’t Relate to Any Company Goal: If you’re clear on the company’s goals, it’s a lot easier for you to see which tasks are important and which tasks are a waste of time. If you’re filling your day with tasks that don’t relate to any company goal, you’re not providing any essential value, which is dangerous territory to fall into as an employee.
4. You’ve Done it For a While and It Hasn’t Provided Any Benefit: Just because, in theory, this task has a benefit doesn’t mean that it actually does. If you’ve been doing this task for a while and you, your coworkers, and your supervisor haven’t benefited from it in any way, it’s probably a waste of time. Everything you do at work should get you, your project, your company, or your department one step closer to reaching its goals. Why waste your time on tasks that don’t achieve any of that?
5. You’re Doing it For Someone Who Doesn’t Notice or Care: While you may think it’s nice that you spend thirty minutes each day forwarding emails to your boss that show the problems you’ve solved throughout the day, it’s a waste of time if they never look at those emails because you’ve flooded their already full inbox. A lot of tasks can slip into the territory of doing them because you think other people will appreciate it, only to find out the person who could be benefiting from it isn’t. If they don’t notice or care and it doesn’t benefit you or the company in any other way, save your time and move on to something more important.
Prioritizing tasks is essential if you want to be productive at work. While you may think every task you currently focus on day in and day out is essential, if it comes with one or more of these five signs, it may not be as important as you think it is. Evaluate what you’re doing to avoid wasting time!