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Time Distracting Activities At Work

It does not seem that wasting time at work is a big deal. In certain cases, it’s a small issue at maximum. And many time-distracting activities eat up our precious time compromising our productivity. Consider the following scenario:

Imagine that you have to stay for eight hours on one foot. Isn’t it an impossibly long time? It feels like a lifetime because you’re just up for eight hours. But what about a normal workday? Suddenly, eight hours does not seem to be that long.

You and your colleagues finish the day with a large portion of the to-do list unfinished. You don’t make any significant progress on the most important tasks. You’re hitting deadlines and everyone seems to be running out of their time.

Although, working eight hours regularly are more than enough and one should be meeting their goals during this time duration. So, why are we still stuck and unable to make the most of our regular working hours?. If you find yourself and your team in this problem, look for the distractions that might be a cause of wasted time at work. And if you and your colleagues want to think of yourself as success superstars, there’s a fair possibility you and your coworkers engage in some time-distracting habits.

But remember, you are not the only one. Most of us fail to make the most of our working hours, as shown by statistics like these:

Per week, the average employee spends approximately 8 hours on personal activities and mobile devices and only about 60% of the time spent at work is directly beneficial. The cost of missed work time due to constant distractions is projected to be $650 billion annually in the United States.

You should avoid time-distracting activities and track your time by using time tracking software. if you’re trying to maximize productivity for your team or want to learn opportunities to work more effectively yourself. Every day, 9 out of 10 workers confess to wasting time at work.

Common Activities That Waste Time At Work

There are still plenty of time distractions, including the coworker who regularly comes by to talk to the endless pings of email communications. Interruptions damage your efficiency and concentration. The first step in reducing your time wasters is to identify them.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common time distracting activities so you can spot the pitfalls you and your team might be falling into.

Work-related time wasters

It’s easy to blame intimate conversations or social media scrolling, and these time-distracting activities do consume your constructive time.

However, the work-related tasks and disruptions that bring your team off track can surprise you. It’s unlikely that the staff spends all day on Facebook if your tasks are still pending.

Look for these less obvious productivity killers in your company:

1) A Large number of incoming emails

Reading and listening to email will effectively consume 28% of a workweeks’ time.  As well as, consider how long it takes to search through old conversations searching for the one significant thread where someone exchanged a document. If your business is highly dependent on email, you’re frittering away hours of valuable time.

2) Instant message notifications

For quick and casual conversations, chat programs like Slack have replaced emails. For work-related communications, both virtual and co-located teams use immediate messaging tools. They’re perfect for group discussions and strategic planning. However, these constant blips can divert focus away from the tasks we are doing.

It takes over 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction, which explains why 34% of employees say they’d get more work done if they uninstalled their work chat platform. It takes a little over 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction.

After a distraction, it takes about 23 minutes to concentrate again which explains why 34% of workers claim they get more jobs done if they deactivate their work chat platform.

3) Excessive meetings:

Employees have probably complained of meetings being a huge waste of time. These complaints are quite considerable. Your coworkers are not unhappy because they don’t want to see each other. Meetings distract large numbers of individuals from constructive jobs for extended periods. People spend a little more than five hours per week in workshops. Even worse — 67% of workers report that excessive meetings keep them from doing their best work.

4) Multitasking

Doing two items at the same time is not the same as achieving two tasks at the same time. Most of them are incompetent in concentrating on several tasks at once. Yes, even mothers are included. The assumption that women are better at multitasking is a misconception that drains productivity. Multitasking has been shown to reduce productivity by up to 40%.

People tend to multitask at work for a variety of reasons, including approaching deadlines and high workloads. You may think you’re getting things done, but you’re simply making the same activities take longer and, most likely, producing poor results.

5) Ordinary and repetitive tasks

You selected the team based on their qualifications and experience. Don’t you want them to devote their time and resources to the important job you’ve hired them to do?

Employees also waste hours per week on boring, low-value jobs. Filling out manual timesheets, informing on what was accomplished this week, designing fancy slide decks for staff presentations, and formatting spreadsheets are all examples of this.

Every week, the average worker spends at least one workday on jobs that can be streamlined. That is not just a complete waste of time. It’s just a financial waste.

It’s unrealistic to ask the employees to be completely focused on their job all of the time. Because it is impossible for a human being to be attentive all the time.  Personal disturbances, on the other hand, are a major source of time wasters in the office.

Here are some time distracting activities to watch for:

1) Social media

It’s fine to take a casual look at Instagram after a coffee break. The issue is that when you refresh your feed 5 or 6 times a day, those brief glimpses easily add up.

Employees spend at least an hour and a half per day browsing through their social media pages during work hours, according to research. That’s 7.5 hours of scrolling over a week which means approximately you are wasting an entire day on social media.

2: Online shopping

It’s difficult to avoid doing any personal things during work hours. A short mental break can be as simple as doing any online shopping. 57 percent of workers admit being habitual of online shopping while on the job.

For the most part, it’s not something your managers should deal with regularly but when it comes to compromising team efficiency. Though, these little time distractors may make a big difference and managers have to look into this problem seriously.

3) Personal conversations

Chatty coworkers, text messages, and even personal phone calls can take a bite out of your day without you even realizing it. Have you ever gotten talking and realized that an hour slid by before you noticed? As counterintuitive as it sounds, you should encourage personal conversations between coworkers.

Undoubtedly, it takes some time away from your to-do lists, but it’s also essential for your team to build friendships and trust. Remote teams are wise to set aside time specifically for chats between coworkers.

It’s best to keep an eye on the amount of time you and your team spend chatting and texting with non-coworker friends. That doesn’t mean you should ban cell phone use, but it’s smart to keep an eye on it.

Alma Reed is an author and researcher dedicated to enhancing productivity. He is deeply interested in areas like time management, increasing productivity, and fostering healthy routines. Through his writing, he aims to assist people in boosting their job performance and attaining an ideal balance between work and life.

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