Top 10 time-wasters at work
We are sometimes our own worst enemies when it comes to how we organise and spend our time. Have a look at the following list and see if there are things here that ring a bell with you in these Top 10 time-wasters at work :
1. Doing too much of something
2. Waiting for details / people /Chasing for information / people / deadlines
3. Bad work ergonomics
4. Over-processing information
5. Searching for things that are misplaced or forgotten
7. Getting things wrong
10. Lack of forward and backwards planning
1. Doing too much of something – over-creating things or over-engineering things that may be needed for a later date which, in fact are superfluous to requirements or just redundant before they are needed.
2. Waiting for someone or something – that you need to complete tasks. This can also be waiting to use various pieces of equipment. It can also be endlessly chasing people up for things you need / planning or meetings.
3. Bad work ergonomics – can be in the immediate vicinity of the work place, desk or office, unnecessary traveling when a phone call or otherwise would suffice or having to physically move from your workplace to see people unnecessarily.
4. Over-processing information – putting too much detail or final touches unnecessarily to tasks. Holding meetings that go on for too long and which result in very little.
5. Searching – Looking around for misplaced or badly placed items that you need – tools, papers, emails etc.
6. Distraction – being distracted or wanting to be distracted from tasks – questions from colleagues, Twitter, Facebook, Emails, tea / coffee breaks, answering the phone for others, attending meetings when you don’t need to be there.
7. Getting things wrong – This can include misunderstanding your own objectives and priorities, not having the skills to do a job (computer software etc.).
8. Interruptions – this is similar to distractions but are avoidable – keeping cell phone on or on vibrator during meetings, leaving the Email alert on in your email client, open door policy in the office, bad multi-tasking, doing several jobs badly at the same time.
9. Procrastination – putting off “unpleasant” tasks and getting on with tasks that you like more but which have less business payback.
10. Lack of forward or backwards planning – not having a clear plan for your day and a coherent debrief at the end of the day leads to foggy thinking and ineffective time and priority management.
We are all aware of these Top 10 time-wasters at work and probably a lot more, but we can also hold our hand up to actually allowing them to steal our time.
This is all well and good, but the net effects of allowing these things to happen can cause or aggravate stress in the workplace, can lead to ill health from stress and in extreme cases can lead to depression.
There are many studies on time management which we can learn from.
For example it has been shown that each interruption in the day can lead to a loss of between 7 and 11 minutes of concentration for each interruption – do the maths and see how much time you are wasting a day – you may be unpleasantly surprised.
For example, if we are concentrated on a task and interrupted in mid-flight, it takes between 7 and 11 minutes to regain the same level of concentration that we had before the interruption.
This also shows up in a more sinister aspect of stress, which is poor or diminished self-esteem – starting a lot of tasks and not being able to terminate them effectively.
It all leads to a spiral effect that can in extreme cases, lead to anxiety, brown-out, burn-out or even depression.