Time Wasters – 8 Things that Kill your Workplace Productivity

There are many metaphors about time. It flies. It heals. It stands still. However, when it comes to your business there be no truer metaphor than “time is money.” And if you’re not intentional with your time, that’s money going up in smoke.

The standard 24-hour day as we know it has been around since mechanical clocks were invented in 14th century Europe. After more than six centuries of innovation, we can wear time on our wrists, or more likely, have it at our fingertips. But despite all of the advances in timekeeping, no one has ever figured out how to stop time. Time can be squandered or stolen. It can even fly. But time still waits for no one. People complain more than ever that they don’t have enough time. More than likely we don’t need more of it, we’re just not making the best use of it.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” -William Penn

Technology, the very thing that we often rely on to  “get more done,” can often be one of the worst enemies of our productivity. A survey of professionals by OfficeTeam revealed that professionals lost an average of 56 minutes per day, or the equivalent of nearly five hours a week, using their cell phones or smartphones for personal activities while on the clock. Add to this the 42 minutes a day that they reported spending on non-work related tasks.

This means average employee could be spending as much as 20-percent of a forty hour work week on things that have nothing to do work, let alone boosting your bottom line.

Scrolling and shopping aren’t the only distractions that are crushing your team’s productivity.  

Here are eight more productivity killers and how to tackle them:

  1. Your email black hole. The constant pop up of messages, threads, Bcc’s, meeting reminders and unnecessary subscriptions is derailing you and your team from real work. When it comes to email, check it in the morning, right after lunch, and the end of the day. Look into Sanebox, or other tools that help you manage your inbox.
  2. Pop-ins. You know the pop-in. Your co-worker stops by your desk on way to the bathroom and ten minutes later, you’ve gotten an earful about everything but work. When multiple people do this throughout the day, it can add up to hours a week of lost productivity. Discuss quiet hours with your co-workers. Shut your door, snooze notifications on your phone or put on headphones if you have to. Don’t discourage community, instead plan team lunches or gatherings just for socializing.
  3. Procrastination. Nike said it best, “Just do it.” Putting off projects will weigh on your conscience and you will spend more time worrying than working. Set a timer if you have to to stay on task.
  4. Not doing it right the first time. Take the extra time at the end to make sure everything is right. It seems counterintuitive, spending more time to save time, but mistakes are killer.  Proofread the report, double check your totals when entering in numbers. Create checks in your process to avoid missing steps and having to redo your work.
  5. Not letting go. If you are like me I often find I delegate more work when I’m out of the office. Amazingly, my team always knocks these tasks out of the park. Delegating frees me up to attend important meetings, or better yet, strategize on growing my business.
  6. “Because this is the way we’ve always done it.” Are your employees required to take 10 steps to do something that can be accomplished in two? Inefficient processes and outdated technology minimize progress and maximize frustration. Invite your team to speak into your processes and influence new ways of doing things.
  7. Meetings for meetings’ sake. Every meeting should have an agenda and a specific goal that will be achieved by the end of the meeting, otherwise don’t schedule it.
  8. Low motivation. If you think you’re just punching a clock or collecting a paycheck you won’t be moved to make the best use of your time. Good leaders continually remind their team of their organization’s goals and the critical role each person plays in achieving it. Plan a huddle before the dinner rush at your restaurant or a Monday morning office pep rally where you review sales goals for the week. Don’t forget the music soundtrack to pump everyone up. (Our personal favorite is “Gonna Fly Now,” better known as the Rocky theme song.)

When it comes to your business, time is money. Patrick Payroll can help you spend more time on the tasks that help your business thrive, not just survive. Schedule a time so we can talk.