Ways to Avoid Time-Killing Tasks at Work
Workplace productivity is often a daily battle for small business owners, especially during the summer when vacation daydreams and other distractions lead people astray.
Earlier this year, OfficeTime identified the top five time killers: email, procrastination, social networking, meetings and surfing the Internet.
OfficeTime subsequently checked back to see exactly how much time we were spending in what has been called “time-suck” areas:
- 64 percent spend up to one hour on social networking sites each day.
- 59 percent spend up to one hour each day surfing the Internet.
- 49 percent spend up to one hour each day in meetings.
- 40 percent spend an average of one to three hours dealing with email.
- 34 percent spend 30 minutes to one hour “procrastinating.”
“Add up the high end of those numbers and it’s pretty easy to understand why some of us leave the office wondering what exactly we accomplished in the first place,” Lisa Barone writes in a recent Internet post.
If you feel like you’re not stretching your days as far as you could, following are some quick productivity tips from Barone to help you avoid some of the time traps listed above.
First, create a plan.
“Every Sunday I sit down at my computer, figure out what it is I need to get done over the next week, and create a map for the next five-six days on how/when each task is going to get accomplished,” says Barone, a noted writer, content marketer and social strategist. “Know what you need to get done in your day and your week, and hold yourself accountable to that.”
Second, schedule email.
“Try to schedule set times where you respond to email so that you’re not spending your whole day bobbing in and out,” Barone says. “Choose whatever works for you, but get to the point where you’re managing your email, not the other way around.”
Third, find accountability tools.
“Online time tracking tools like Harvest, Toggl and OfficeTime can be incredibly useful for an individual or a team to help accurately track time and analyze how it’s spent,” she says. “If you’re not a fan of line tool trackers, then maybe a trusty old egg timer is your preferred way of staying on track.
“I keep an egg timer on my desk and use it religiously when writing content. Whatever tool you use doesn’t have to be flashy, just something that you’ll be accountable to.”
Finally, identify and limit distractions.
“Some distractions we’re well aware of — it’s the blinking light on our smartphone, it’s Twitter, or it’s our favorite blog that has nothing to do with work. Having been identified, it’s easy enough to curb these when we want to,” Barone says. “But there are other distractions that pop into our day that we may not realize. Like your office messenger system that’s filled with more conversations about lunch options than work, or that person who likes to call meetings when an email would have been more efficient.”
Barone notes that one of the perks of using an online time tracking tool is it can help you spot “time sucks” you may have not have noticed.
“Once you know, cut out the noise. You’d be surprise how easy fixes can add hours back into your day,” she says. “What are some of your biggest culprits to workplace productivity? Do they fall on the list, or do you have other secret vices?”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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