5 Ideas to Reduce the Biggest Time Wasters
By Anne Bachrach
A.M. Enterprises (The Accountability Coach)
Have you ever thought to yourself: “If only I had more time?” You may even long for the old days when you were young and didn’t have many or any responsibilities. You have the whole world waiting for you. You can do anything you set your mind to—even the things that that you think you don’t have time for!
How is this possible? By scheduling time for what’s important as well as what is fun. Of course, along with this schedule, you have to take certain steps to eliminate time wasters. What are time wasters? Time wasters can be anything, from an inanimate object to a full living and breathing person. It is important that you first learn how to identify a time waster and then learn how to stop this person, place, or thing from distracting you. Let’s start by listing some of the most common time wasters.
1. There’s no question that computers and a high-speed Internet connection can provide many valuable services to you. However, these tools are among the worst time wasters in existence. Some companies have actually banned Internet usage during working hours. If you catch your hand slowly approaching your mouse with the intent to surf, catch yourself and get back to work. Ask your friends to not include you in the personal emails they like to send to other friends. You may even choose to only check email one or two times during the day, and for a specific period of time – one time not being the first thing in the morning when you arrive at work.
2. Interruptions from phones, team members, or pop-in visitors can be very distracting. Human beings have a natural inclination to sit around and chat. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this pastime, and there is no need to be rude with your peers, associates, friends, and neighbors. However, you do need to set some rules down and inform everyone who adores your company that during certain working hours you are unavailable. This applies to team members also. You create set meeting times when others can meet with you.
3. Unless you work on the phone, you may choose to unplug this device since telephone conversations can easily take up a lot of time. Once again, explain to family and friends that during working hours the phone is not an option.
4. The next time waster is to consider is not actually a tangible object, but a lack of time management. When there is no time management or scheduling taking place, then a person tends to be unfocused in his or her approach. A person may not prioritize their tasks, or in the opposite case, try to take on too much responsibility. Along with the threat of procrastination, a lack of time management makes for a potentially devastating time waster. The use of a calendar for time management will lead to more efficient and effective behaviors that produce even better results and increases your overall success.
5. One of the most often reported problems with office employees is the lack of education that newcomers are given. This takes up more time having to explain procedures and demonstrate how to work various systems. You could apply this lesson as well, whether you own your own company or work independently of others. Try to learn new systems or new information on your own time, so that by the time you start working you are not wasting any time reading over instructions or surfing for help resources online. Creating procedures manuals for all positions in the firm can have a huge impact on productivity and reduce wasted time. Create a goal to create one or more procedures each week for each position in your firm and put them into procedures manuals for each person and their position.
These are some of the most common time busters. If you sense that you are losing a lot of time, take steps to eliminate the source of the distraction or distractions. This may include sacrificing some items altogether or at least making it more difficult to access such fun, time-wasting activities. Your office productivity will improve and you will be better off!