Have you ever gotten to work, with a fairly open day, only to find that you did not get anything done you had planned at the start of the day? You are not alone. Just because you show up to work, it doesn’t mean that you will have a productive day. I mean what day goes absolutely according to plan without any interruption? Many managers blame poor time management for employees wasting time at work, however, according to Salary.com, there are other reasons for a lack of productivity. The top time-wasting activities for employees are talking to coworkers, texting and personal calls, and just plain motivation as employees often suffer from the incurable diseases of boredom, lack of interest, and the absence of a good challenge. Below are 8 tips to combat these sneaky time wasters, for a more productive workday. 

  1. Set your priorities. Make sure that you take care of your most important tasks before anything else. Also, tackling big or complicated projects at the beginning of the day will help you avoid the afternoon slowdown. 

  2. Get your sleep. Research out of Harvard has found that employees are losing about 11 days of productivity a year due to loss of sleep. It will affect your ability to focus, take you longer to complete tasks and make it harder for you to come up with creative ideas or solutions. 

  3. Mute your phone. A simple text here and there throughout the day may seem harmless, but it is more than just a few seconds of time. It’s an activity that pulls you out of work mode and makes you less effective. Maybe you are still considering the advice you were given, or chewing over an issue one of your friends shared. Save time, and be sure to keep your mind on the task at hand by waiting to check your phone during breaks and after work. 

  4. Identify what work is non-productive. Did you really need to watch that training video during work hours? Is checking your email 50 times an hour an effective use of your time? Evaluate where you spend your time, and modify and schedule a designated time to complete all tasks based on your goals and your set priorities. 

  5. Set attainable daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Setting your schedule allows you to be accountable for your own time and success. Set a goal, schedule your time, and stick to it. 

  6. Don’t skip lunch. Taking breaks throughout the day keeps you energized. It helps you remain fresh and avoid frustration or burn out.

  7. Focus on your work. Mistakes often take more time to fix in the larger scheme of things. This may mean going slower, checking your work, or taking one task at a time. 

  8. The coworker chat. You know them. I know them. The friendly, well-intentioned coworkers can gab for 15-20 minutes, completely interrupting your workflow. Interactions at work can be tricky to navigate, and you shouldn't have to sacrifice a friendly, fun work environment just to stay on task. Instead try to limit interactions to coffee breaks, lunch or get-togethers after work. 

Aiming for a distraction-free workday will help you develop your own ladder to success. How you use your TIME affects your potential for success. It is so easy to get distracted on the job, but results matter in the big scheme of things. If you are not effective during your workweek you are likely not experiencing the personal, emotional or financial growth you are hoping for.


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