10 work time wasters and how to avoid them

timeflies Professional Services who charge by the 6 minute block (or less) are normally very  good at being effective time managers (as they are very aware of how and where they  are allocating and charging their time to). If you haven’t ever done that type of  exercise before….it is a good one to do to really measure your effectiveness. To start  with, imagine you were charging a client for every 30 minutes of your time. How  would you complete your time card?

Below are 10 common time wasters to be aware of:-

  1. Making a Coffee. This can in some instances take a good 30mins-1hour (if you include the tea room chats and requirements ‘to get back into the zone’.
  2. Checking Social Media. We are fast entering the stage where ‘social media’ withdrawal may become a big issue. The issue with Social Media is not just the checking and/or responding time but the potential distraction it may cause to the other tasks you are in the middle of.
  3. Emails and replying to non-priority emails. Especially the ‘bing noise’ or the pop up message at the bottom of our screen that alerts us to a new e-mail. Generally, most people will stop what they are doing to check it which will take them off task.
  4. Constant fire-fighting (letting your day be predicted by who screams the loudest).
  5. Not knowing where to start a project/task. This often causes procrastination or avoidance of a task.
  6. Not planning out a task before starting. If you don’t think about the end outcome, you can double up or not maximise your time effectively. If you think about it from a travel perspective, if you need to go to 3 places and you only look at it from a task by task basis – you will miss the opportunity to go to all 3 places in the most efficient way (rather than doing 1 at a time and returning after each visit).
  7. Talking to ‘those’ people (in person or over the phone). We all have people who we know will take at least 30 minutes of our time if we say hello to them (ie they could be work colleagues, friends, family, reception or the company gossiper etc). Generally we initiative conversations with them when we don’t want to start or finish a task we are working on.
  8. Cant find anything! Workspace is not in order or stocked up with what you may need.
  9. Smoking breaks (although this seems to be reducing in the workplace).
  10. IT slow or crashing– unfortunately this is probably the most frustrating and the one area you will probably have the least ability to impact but commonly, this could waste at least 1 hour per day per person.

Time Maximises – How to avoid wasting time (that link to the above)

  1. Keep access to coffee / tea close by to avoid long walks up and back.
  2. Don’t open and avoid social media surfing until breaks (it is important to note that most organisations will have this policy anyway unless part of your role).
  3. Start with your to-do list first and don’t look at other emails which can take you of course until 1 hour after you start (if possible). After all, the emails have waited at least 8-12 hours overnight.
  4. Plan your day (the day prior) with your first clear, ordered 3 steps to start with the following day. Don’t deviate from this unless you absolutely have to.
  5. As per 4 but based on a project basis.
  6. When planning out your day, identify any common tasks that may be grouped together.
  7. Know who and what your time distractors are. Avoid these people during your productive hours and if required, choose to speak to them in your non-productive hours (nb for most people this is after lunch).
  8. Start the day with a clear work space and set up the tools/stationary that you may need for the day so they are readily accessible.
  9. Most workplaces will have quite strict policies on smoking. If you don’t have set rules then you should definitely have some in place. If you think, each cigarette could take at least 5 minutes…. time could be quickly eaten up.
  10. Clean your inbox, back up your information and have a set of tasks readily to do that you can jump onto if your technology is down.