“I know it’s here somewhere”.…
Solution #1: Spend some time to declutter your workstation. Get a desk organizer and folders (a must if you’re constantly submerged with paper hard copies). Label your folders as required and put everything in its place before you leave work each day.
At some point in your working life, you’ve probably encountered some, if not all, of these time wasting factors. But now you have no more excuses.
#3: Online Distractions
Salary.com, conducted a survey and found that 80% of workers admit visiting non-work related websites while on the clock. These included social networks, online games, emails, instant messaging, online shopping, etc. It can be very tempting to check something out for work and then wander off for a few minutes here and there before getting refocused to the job at hand.
Solution #1: Block your personal social media accounts if you can’t quit checking every few minutes, Google Chrome has an extension called “StayFocused”. It allows you to set a time limit for certain websites each day. Once your time is up you can’t access the site anymore until the next day. While it may seem a little harsh, it’s actually quite innovative and effective. Everybody needs a little help now and then.
Solution #2: Allow yourself to take scheduled breaks. That will give you time to check your social media accounts and non-work-related interests without affecting work. Hint – remember it’s a timed break – when it’s over, close the windows and get focused on productive work.
Solution #3: Another simple solution would be to track the websites everyone is visiting. A time management software like “TimeDoctor” could help you do this.
#4. Social Media
It’s tempting. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – they’re all so easily accessible to you while you’re on your computer during the day. Yet the moment you land on one of these websites, you’ve stolen away valuable minutes from your day.
Now that so much promotion is being done on social media, you actually give yourself an excuse to open up the sites.
To avoid wasting excessive time on social media, have a plan, set a time limit for each day and stick to it. When your time is up, close the windows the next day.
Automatic notifications that tell you when a new email arrives are very distracting and time consuming. One second you’re totally focused and the next you’re checking an email. Now you’ve lost focus and you’re reacting to something, that in all likely hood is not all that important.
Solution #1. A good rule of thumb is schedule times to look at your inbox e.g. once in the morning, right after lunch and just before you quit work.
Tip #1: Never check your emails first thing in the morning. Instead, spend at least 30 to 60 minutes (or more if you can manage) working on something important. This is your most productive time of the day and you don’t want to get bogged down with emails and follow-up.
Solution #2: If there’s something that needs to be discussed, opt for a quick phone call or face-to-face conversation instead. It can mean the difference between an hour of work and a two-day back and forth email discussion.
#6: Colleague / Family Interactions
Forty-three percent of people who responded to the Salary.com survey said interacting with coworkers caused them to miss the most work, beating the 28 percent who answered with surfing the Internet. Nobody wants to spend their workday in silence, but who can truly admit to be a master of multitasking?
If working at home, rules or restrictions need to be set so everyone knows that when you are “working”, nothing less than an emergency should cause a disruption.
Solution #2: Set a work schedule and make sure everyone knows it. Same rules apply as in #1. People will adapt if you stick to the schedule and rule.
Solution #3: If you’re busy working on something, and a chatty coworker starts talking about last night’s baseball game, tell them you’re glad they stopped by because you need them to [insert pointless work-related task here]. If they leave with a job to do, they’ll be reluctant to come back to chat.
#7: Motivation (or rather, a lack of)
How’s this for honesty?
When asked to identify the main reasons why employees waste time at work:
11 percent said it was due to a lack of incentive,
10 percent said they were unsatisfied in their jobs, and
9 percent claimed boredom.
Where do you fit in these results?
From time to time everyone finds it difficult to maintain a level of enthusiasm for their work. Maybe your job has become mundane and repetitive. Maybe you’re frustrated and just don’t care anymore. Maybe there’re just too much to do.
Solution #1: Set some personal goals. Working without an incentive quickly takes away any motivation. Try not to feel trapped in your job. Perhaps you should work toward a promotion or look for other opportunities that could improve your outlook. Identify where do you want to be and how are you going to get there? With clear goals, you’ll have better focus and find yourself working more productively.
Solution #2: Routines are great for efficiency and getting work done. But sometimes you need to mix them up. Get out of the rut. Try new techniques or alternative methods to what you’re using now. Maybe there’s a more efficient way of doing things e.g.:
– complete a task every second day instead of every day,
– do something in the afternoon instead of the morning,
– switch certain tasks to after your break so you’re more focused.
Also, in this day and age, there may be an app for that! It’s amazing how many repetitive tasks can be done or made easier with apps for your phone or computer.
You might just make your job interesting again. You might learn something and you might even eliminate some of your daily work. If you’re suddenly more efficient and have a better outlook, it will be obvious to everyone around you while giving you more personal satisfaction.
#8. Technology Issues
Sooner or later, if you’re working with technology, you’re going to have some problems. They can be little glitches or monster stumbling blocks to getting your work done. If you’ve got some skill in this area, lucky you. If you’re like most of us, it’s “oh, oh, what do I do now” time.
If you’re going to run a business online or off, you’ve got to keep good, up to date records and file your income tax forms as needed. Without good record keeping, you could put your business at big financial risk.
If you have a team, meetings are a necessary evil. You need to keep everyone on the same page. You need regular updates on what’s happening in each of your projects. But too often, meetings get drawn out, stealing away valuable minutes in your day.
Sometimes a simple memo will share all the required info in a much more efficient time manner. Also, there are some great project managing software solutions that are quite inexpensive or free. I use free versions of both Asana (Asana.com) and Trello (Trello.com).
#11. Packing and Shipping
Employee scheduling can be time consuming. There are lots of things to consider e.g. juggling time off requests, meetings, availability, shifts.
Spend less time trying to organize everyone’s personal agenda and more time running your business.
#13. Note Taking
As you go through your workday, have meetings, take phone calls, set up programs, adjust the marketing schedule, etc you’re always getting ideas, jotting things down on your “to-do” list, or keeping track of the steps involved in doing a certain task. When you finally get a moment to review everything it’s a logistical nightmare.
Sorting through the notes and papers trying to find the information you need takes longer than doing the work itself.
Solution #1. Having an app for your phone, tablet or computer is like having a virtual assistant helping you out.
Tip: Clearly label the book and make sure it has a prominent place in your work space.