Eye on the Prize: Stop Wasting Office Time!



We rarely seem to have enough time to do the things we want to do. This is especially true in the office. This results in late nights and increased office stress. If these things are happening, then work is being mismanaged. You need to cut down on the time-wasting that often occurs in modern offices. Here are the activities you need to make sure are cut out of your workplace:

An Over-reliance on Email

This is probably the most common way in which office workers waste astonishing amounts of time. Part of the problem is that people tend to think that emails are a surefire way of saving time. Sometimes, they are. But they’re hardly ideal when it comes to explanatory messages or important, long-winded conversations.



I’m sure you’ve noticed, at some point in your life, that it takes longer to write words than it does to speak them! Well, you need to keep that in mind. Emails can be brilliant in the office. They generally allow you to be clearer and more eloquent than you would be in a face-to-face talk. But that often comes at a great cost. And the cost, of course, is that of time.

Sometimes, it’s simply much quicker to get up and speak to the person. If they are very busy, then consider emailing them to let them know you’d prefer to speak to them in person. After all, you’ve probably got other things to be getting on with too, right? But so often these things can be solved by a face-to-face talk that lasts a minute or so. Read more about business email clutter at www.slate.com/articles/business/.




Winging It

There are a lot of people out there who love to plan meticulously. If you’re sniggering at them, then you’re probably guilty of wasting a lot of time at work. It may seem to you that planning is in itself a massive waste of time. After all, isn’t it better to simply get on with the task at hand?

That may seem like a good idea. But when you go in without a plan, you’re liable to make mistakes. This is especially true when you’re the manager of the business! You’re more likely to have to take several projects into account at once. Taking the time to plan is vital. Otherwise, you’re going to find that workers find themselves rather aimless.



Project management is an art that every business owner should be familiar with. Breaking down the larger task into a series of smaller tasks is the first step. Then you need to create a schedule based on the amount of time you have to finish the project. Estimating how much time it takes to complete each task is important, but make sure you leave some leeway. Not everything is going to go perfectly!

Timesheets can be a good way of helping your employees keep track of all this. You can find out more at www.avaza.com/online-timesheets/.


You may think meetings are incredibly important. Most business owners seem to think so. And, on the surface, they seem very useful. After all, what’s so bad about them? How could it not be practical to get loads of people in a room to discuss business? It ensures that everyone is on the same page. It helps people feel that they’re part of something important. It gives people a chance to put in their own ideas. Right?



In theory, meetings are great. But in practice, most meetings are actually a massive waste of time. A lot of people will tell you this, but defenders of meetings will claim that these people are just lazy. But this isn’t true.

Meetings tend to interrupt the workflow of your most productive employees. A lot of people don’t have anything to add to a meeting. This isn’t their fault – they’re there to work, not take part in meetings! They also cost money. You can actually calculate the cost at www.hbr.org.

Part of the problem is that people usually call meetings with only a vague idea of what to actually do in that meeting. They know that there’s an issue to solve, which usually involves having a decision to make. They don’t have time to think things through, or they simply don’t want to make a decision yet. So, they call for a meeting, hoping the solution with suddenly transpire during the proceedings. In other words, meetings often become a stalling tactic.



Silent Procrastination

A lot of people engage in silent procrastination. This term covers a lot of the sorts of “micro” time-wasting activities that workers do. Many of these things are really obvious. They’re things that business owners tend to be a bit more lenient about these days. When a worker checks Facebook and Twitter, or checks their phone, or even simply gazes out the window?

There was a time when most office workers would have been too afraid to do any of this. But a lot of managers don’t think too much about it if they see an employee doing these things. They trust that it will be a short task and that they’ll be back to work in no time.

And, most of the time, that is the case. The employee themselves rarely see themselves as having done anything wrong. It’s true that even small breaks every hour can increase productivity so it may not seem that bad. But the problem here is that time can pass you by so quickly. Before you know it, you’ve spent a good five or even ten minutes just idly browsing or gazing. Workers may do this several times a day. This, of course, all adds up.



You need to remember that getting fully settled into a task can take about fifteen minutes of solid work. When you break away from this to engage in these micro-tasks, you lose your focus You become less efficient. It’s best to try to crack down on this sort of behavior if you see it a lot. And if you do it yourself, you may need help concentrating! Find some concentration advice at www.artofmanliness.com/your-concentration/.


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