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5 Ways to Waste Time at Work


Ever wonder where the time goes at work? One minute, you’re sitting down to make your to-do list, and the next, it’s 5 p.m., and you still have two hours of work left to do.

wasting time 

(Photo Credit: Rennett Stowe/Flickr)

Even the most organized among us waste time, often without even realizing it. If you’re finding yourself stuck at the office later than you want to be, or taking work home with you on a regular basis, it’s time to examine the ways in which time gets away from you.

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Here are a few things most of us do that steal valuable hours:

1. Checking email constantly.

Productivity experts suggest not checking email first thing in the morning, to avoid getting caught up in other people’s priorities at the expense of your own. It’s also a good idea to set up a schedule for dealing with email, so that you don’t fall into the habit of checking every few minutes. While you’re at it, disable those email notifications. If it’s an emergency, there are better ways for people to get in touch with you.

2. Having meetings for the sake of having meetings.

If you’re a manager or otherwise in charge of scheduling meetings, ask yourself: “Is this trip really necessary?” There’s no bigger time-waster than the pointless meeting. Some companies don’t have meetings at all, but if that won’t work with your culture, at least try to minimize the number of unnecessary ones. Ask yourself what you’ll accomplish by gathering everyone together. If it can be accomplished via email, for example, consider doing that instead.

3. Working in the office when you don’t need to.

Sure, there’s value to face-to-face collaboration, but many of us get more done while we’re heads-down at home. Again, if you’re the boss, consider letting your reports work at home one day a week. If you’re not the boss, ask him or her if you can have occasional WAH days.

4. Doing non-work things while you’re at home.

If you are granted flextime, don’t waste it by doing household chores. It’s tempting to put the laundry in and do the dishes in between projects, and if you do so only occasionally, it’s probably fine. But if you find yourself reorganizing your bills and cleaning the whole house while you’re at home, it might be time to change things up.

5. Multitasking.

Do one thing well, or multiple things poorly. Studies have shown that we’re not capable of doing more than one thing at a time, and doing them all as well as they deserve. Concentrate, and save time and frustration.

Tell Us What You Think

What time-wasters would you add to this list? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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