Office Time Wasters and How to Avoid Them

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July 6, 2010 – How many times have you been “in the zone” with your task at hand, only to be interrupted by the reminder that you’ve got something else supposedly more important to do? Breaking your workflow can be a huge blow to your productivity.

Meetings are one of the biggest wastes of your time in an office setting. 
They take you away from your desk, rarely start on time, often go over schedule, and in many cases accomplish (or try to) what can be done in 15 minutes with fewer people.

If you’re the one who calls the shots when it comes to meetings, stop and think next time you’re ready to send that Outlook invite. Some things to consider:

  • Have I included people that aren’t really necessary to solve the issue being addressed in this meeting?
  • Am I just making an announcement? Can this be accomplished through email instead?
  • Can this issue only be solved by a gathering of the minds, or can we have fewer people or alternate methods?
  • Can I accomplish this meeting in my own office rather than the formalities of a conference room?
  • Could I get the point across with 75% less PowerPoint slides?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then you may want to reconsider scheduling a meeting and look for a different solution. You’ll be saving your co-workers/employees and yourself time and distractions.

Team-building exercises or outings are another way to try and increase productivity and office morale while wasting time and frustrating your employees.
 You see this practice a lot in large companies with too much money in their HR budgets, or an overzealous boss who just read the latest business success guru book.

Don’t waste the time and money planning a corporate retreat, especially if your motives are to engage in team-building exercises. Most employees would rather just do their job than answer the “If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?” question.

Ironically, one of the biggest wastes of time in office operations is the calculating and analysis of what you’re wasting time on – your ROI (return on investment).
 There are numerous programs, methods, and calculators out there designed to help you increase your productivity by identifying where you waste most of your time. Some methods have you meticulously track where you spend your time, down to the 2 minutes it took you to get a cup of coffee.

Think about the time you’re wasting tracking how you’re wasting your time. Realistically, you can sit down at the end of the day, think back, and realize that you probably spent nearly an hour checking your social networking websites. Sounds like a bit of a waste of time, or at least something you could task another employee more involved with your marketing to do. There, problem solved, you found out on your own where you’re wasting time and it didn’t take you wasting more time to figure it out!

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