Trapped by Time Wasters? Break Free with These Productivity Pointers
Ever wondered what some of the top time-killers are at work? Those activities, or distractions, that pull you away from feeling productive and just getting your “real job” done?
Studies of U.S. workers show the big time wasters include: employees chatting and socializing, non-business related internet/social media use, meetings, personal calls, texts and emails, and work-related email. Then there’s things like noisy co-workers, operating within cubicles, and smoke, caffeine and snack breaks.
Think about it. That’s a lot of stuff that can keep us from performing in our roles and responsibilities. Over time, we all know productivity suffers, impacting your ability to hit your goals and deliver sustainable results for yourself, your team and your organization at large.
So what can you do about it? To break free from the time wasters keeping you trapped in an unproductive work cycle, start with these pointers:
Focus on what’s vital. Using the Pareto Principle (The 80/20 Rule), identify the 20 percent of activities that will drive 80 percent of the results you wish to accomplish. And if you feel overwhelmed by what’s on your plate, create categories of activities, such:
- Activities Tied to Yourself
- Activities Tied to Your Team
- Activities Tied to the Entire Organization
Within those categories, create lists, then circle or highlight that 20 percent to prioritize and build focus.
Schedule daily planning time. Sure, we may pull up our calendar on our phones or computer and quickly go over what’s happening every morning. But it’s valuable to proactively review your calendar both in advance of the month, week and every evening (or afternoon at the workday’s end). Schedule in the daily 10 minutes or so to examine what activities can be shifted, shortened or deleted to make room for what’s vital. What can you assign to someone else? What events or blocks of “focus time” need to be added to boost productivity?
Cut back on (don’t kill) the watercooler talk. It’s important to connect with your people and maintain rapport. But if you’re finding conversations trap and take away from valuable work time, create strategies to minimize chit chat, whether that’s around the watercooler, in the break room, during group or individual meetings.
Turn off notifications. When you know you’ve got to be super productive, eliminate these distractions by just turning them (or even your phone) off. Sort of like shutting your office door to eliminate constant interruptions or the noisy distractions beyond it, this simple tactic can safeguard the time and space you need to be productive. That said, you may want to turn on one helpful notification: your timer. Using timers in meetings and for other activities can boost your ability to stay on track, alerting you when it’s time to start and stop.
When you build awareness and action around planning, you will find yourself building more habits that enable greater focus, scheduling, communication, accountability and time-management. MAP Consulting can also coach your organization around time management to help you—as well as those on your team—become more productive at work. Contact Us today!