Most of us can pinpoint the biggest time wasters in our lives. Social media, television, these distractions can eat up hours, even days of our lives.
But what about in the office? What hidden time-wasters are disguising themselves as productive tasks in your day?
The below article from Forbes lists the 7 biggest workplace time wasters. Here they are, with my thoughts attached.
- Unnecessary meetings. Only have scheduled meetings when necessary, and use OBC (Objective-Based Communication) to help keep meetings organized and focused.
- Multitasking. Only 2.5% of people can multitask effectively. Stop trying to do it.
- Micromanaging employees. Put in the time to hire the right people the first time. Then, let them operate in their Unique Ability.
- Disorganization. Constantly looking for emails or sifting through folders? It’s time to update and automate your processes.
- Irrelevant emails. Business leaders waste 177 hours per year reading through emails that do not add value. Automate your emails and move on.
- Lack of delegation. Your time is important. Start delegating efficiently.
- Online distractions. This is the one we know. Social media, YouTube, etc. Block these websites when you’re at work and stay focused.
There’s more detail in the article below. Start reclaiming your time.
7 Biggest Workplace Time Wasters And How To Handle Them
Approximately 31% of employees waste around 30 minutes a day. With watercooler talks, social media, and the internet, getting off track throughout the workday is easy. And, there are also some hidden time wasters that you and your business need to look out for. But, what are these so-called time wasters? And, how do you handle them before they spiral out of control?
Time Wasters To Avoid
We all know time wasters exist in the workplace. But, do you know what they are? Identifying the biggest time-sucking tasks can help you avoid them altogether (and save time to focus on more important things). So, what are the biggest time wasters in business that are robbing you of productivity? Let me break down the top seven.
1. Unnecessary Meetings
Let’s face the facts: Not all meetings are productive. In fact, some may just be downright unnecessary and a complete waste of time. And if your business is like many others, you may be wasting precious time with meetings, too.
According to one study, 67% of employees state that spending too much time in meetings hinders them from being productive at work. And, a whopping 92% of employees find themselves multitasking during said meetings. Can you say time suck?
Unnecessary meetings not only waste time, but they can also cause your team to lose focus on their work and become unproductive. Not to mention, it can cost your company money (and nobody wants that). The solution? Well, there are a few.
Instead of having unproductive meetings, you and your team can:
- Structure meetings ahead of time and have discussion points
- Only have meetings when absolutely necessary
- Set time limits for meetings
- Ask your team to prepare talking points
- Schedule shorter meetings
- Stay focused on the topic at hand
Jumping from task to task may seem like it’ll save you time in the long run. But guess what? It won’t. Multitasking is actually one of the biggest time sucks out there for businesses, with only 2.5% of people being able to multitask effectively.
Multitasking can cause you to make mistakes, decrease your quality of work, and inhibit creativity. Not to mention, it can be a major culprit of burnout.
So, what’s a business owner to do? Instead of attempting to multitask to get everything done, you and your team can focus on the task at hand. Trust me, you’ll get much more done if you concentrate on one task before moving on to another.
3. Micromanaging Employees
Micromanaging may seem tempting, especially when your business is your baby and you’re in charge of its success. But, micromanaging can do more harm than good while wasting your time.
Sure, you probably want things done a certain way at your business—I get it. But, you hired your team for a reason: To delegate certain tasks and get things done. You didn’t hire employees so you could breathe over their shoulders and monitor every move they make.
Micromanaging not only wastes your time, but it wastes your team’s time, too. Instead of hovering, set clear expectations and goals, provide feedback, communicate openly, and develop employee ownership. Oh and one more thing: don’t be afraid to ask employees for suggestions. You never know what kinds of ideas they may have to streamline processes and better your business.
Have you ever struggled to find an oh-so-important document before a big meeting? Or, have you had trouble finding a record or file that you “know you just saw?” If so, you’ve fallen victim to disorganization, which (surprise, surprise) is a major time waster in the business world.
Wasting time sifting through paperwork and files is something no one wants to do. Plus, being disorganized is stressful and frustrating for everyone—not just you. To steer clear of this time waster and make your workplace more efficient, consider:
- Setting up an organizational system (e.g., files, folders, digital storage, etc.)
- Decluttering workstations
- Keeping a schedule and checklist
5. Irrelevant Emails
Emails have become a big part of communication at work. But, they can also be a big time waster if not utilized properly.
It can be easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of emails throughout the day, especially if you’re a business owner. Business leaders waste 3.4 hours each week reading through emails that don’t add value to their business. That’s roughly 177 hours per year (about one whole week!) in wasted time—yikes.
Of course, getting rid of your email isn’t really an option. So, what options do you have to avoid wasting time sifting through emails? Here are a few:
- Opt for a phone, video call, or face-to-face conversation
- Avoid checking emails first thing in the morning
- Only check emails a few times a day at set intervals
The less time you waste going through emails, the more time you’ll save for more important tasks at your business.
6. Lack Of Delegation
I mentioned delegation earlier, and I’m about to mention it again. Why? Because it is that important. Oh yeah, and because lack of delegation can cause you to waste precious time throughout your workday.
If you’re spending too much time on tiny tasks that pull you away from your business, you need to learn how to let go and delegate tasks to your team. Otherwise, you’ll wind up wasting time and energy instead of growing your business.
So, how do you handle this time waster? Simple: start delegating. Let employees take projects off of your plate so you can get back to business.
7. Online Distractions
When a good chunk of work is done using a computer nowadays (especially if your team is working from home like mine is), it can be easy to get distracted. Small distractions, like checking social media for a few minutes or doing a quick Google search, can easily add up and waste time.
To avoid wasting time with online distractions and encourage your team to do the same, track your work time (e.g., using an app) and ensure you and your team are taking proper breaks and lunches. Limiting distractions and setting aside time for breaks can help you boost productivity and stay focused throughout the day.