You’ve finally stopped playing phone games. You’ve stopped taking personal calls, and you’ve limited Facebook to a couple times a day. But somehow, at the end of each work day, you’re still not getting quite enough done.
Here are some surprising ways you might still be wasting time.
Meetings are a huge time-sucker. If you want to avoid them though, you need to be proactive about it.
If you’re scheduling a meeting, include only those who are absolutely necessary. More talking equals more time. If you’re invited to a meeting, think carefully about whether you really need to be there.
Often, issues can be resolved via a quick message instead.
When you do have meetings, make sure you’re using your time wisely. Come prepared with an agenda and a set deadline for the meeting to end. Often, meetings can go on for hours in a circle over unresolved issues.
Related article: Productivity A to Z for Home-Based Content Writers
If this happens in a meeting you’re running, table the issue and explain you will address other concerns via email.
If you don’t have filters on your inbox, turn them on now. You’d be surprised how much time can be wasted just sorting through spam and promotional emails.
You should also set aside a specific time each day to answer your work emails. If you are constantly checking your email throughout the day, you’ll lose focus on your work at hand.
Lack of focus
Speaking of losing focus, this is a huge potential time-waster. You can work without interruption for hours, but if you’re not focused, nothing will get done.
Have you ever stared at your computer screen for fifteen minutes, your thoughts wandering this way and that, before you realized you’d just wasted a chunk of time?
Sometimes, the key to staying focused is actually to take a complete break. Try leaving your desk and walking around for a few minutes every couple hours—it can do wonders.
Lack of deadlines
Studies have shown that the time it takes us to do our work will naturally stretch or shrink depending on the allotted time we have.
That’s why it’s so important to set realistic deadlines for each task you do. Make the deadline too far away and you’ll waste time. Make it too short and your work could get sloppy, forcing you to redo it.
Try breaking longer projects assigned to you into manageable segments. Then give each segment a set deadline.
Saying yes to everyone
It’s great to be the go-to person at the office. Everyone loves feeling needed. However, it can also turn into a time-wasting nightmare if you’re always saying yes to everyone.
Think about each favor you’re asked to do before you agree to it. Will it add value to the company? Could someone else more easily do it? Does it need done right now, or would later be fine?
This principle doesn’t mean you need to say no all the time, it just means you should consider requests before automatically agreeing to them.
I’m currently the VP of Marketing for an accounting app called ZipBooks, which is fast emerging as a QuickBooks alternative. Working for a startup invites a busy work schedule where I need to be careful with my time. I’ve found avoiding these major time wasters has been a huge help.
What is your biggest time waster at the office?