4 THINGS THAT ARE KEEPING YOU FROM BEING PRODUCTIVE AT WORK
The dreaded time wasters; they are everywhere, especially at work. How many times have you asked yourself “where did my day go” or “how did I not have time to finish that task” at the end of the day? According to an article by inc.com out of the 8 or 9 hours we work everyday, we do actual work for only 3 hors or so. And it’s all because of those sneaky time wasters! Below are only 4 of many things that are keeping us from being more productive at work:
Prolonged coffee breaks disguised as “quick coffee runs”- what should only take 5-10 minutes usually ends up taking 20 or 30 minutes. You go down to your favorite coffee shop with your BFF or a few of your colleagues and it turns into a social hour where you usually loose track of time and momentarily forget the 5 tasks you need to complete before the end of the day. And hey, I am not vouching against coffee breaks—I need my caffeine—but rather I want to advise you to take purposeful breaks. For example, you could use your coffee break time to synch up with your supervisor, have an informal meeting with a customer, have a mentoring session, write up some notes about your upcoming meeting or presentation, among others. Make your coffee breaks—or just breaks if you don’t drink coffee—productive and take advantage of those 20 or 30 minutes!
Your cellphone—the organ that lives outside of our bodies, that thing that we can’t seem to let go, that device that makes us suffer from separation anxiety every time we are away from it for prolonged periods of time…our cellphones. This one is probably our worst enemy when it comes to time wasters. Not only do we check social media, but the news, our emails, text messages, and the latest snapchat stories, to name a few. Some workplaces in government require employees to lock up their phones in cubbies before going to their workstations. If you work in one of these office spaces, then you don’t really have that big of a problem with your phone being a distractor at work. If you don’t, then you are most definitely tempted to check your phone every 10 minutes during your workday---yes I see you! As hard as this may be, try turning off your phone while you are at the office and only check it--if you absolutely have to--on your way to the bathroom---but don’t take 30-minute bathroom breaks just to check your phone! Trust me, those 10 minute phone checks add up and next thing you know, you spent 2 hours of your work day checking your phone.
Answering/checking emails—yup, we spend about 3.2 hours answering work emails and about 3.1 hours answering personal email according to an article by The Huffington Post. I would say that’s ok only of your job consisted of answering emails and nothing else. And let’s face it; most jobs are heavily reliant on email so it will inevitably take up a good chunk of our time. However, what makes it a distractor is having it open at all times. Picture this: you are working on a brief and you are super focused creating some amazing charts and all of a sudden you see an email pop up in the bottom right corner of your screen, you click on it to open it…and there goes your focus. Unless you work at an emergency call center, I’d say that most emails are not urgent so this is my advice: if you have tasks that require a high level of focus, close your work email and designate specific times in the day when you are going to check/answer emails. This will reduce interruptions to your work and will allow you to finish tasks faster. This of course is possible if your work doesn’t require you to be on email 24/7.
Multitasking—unless you want to fail at several things at the same time, don’t multitask! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing that we should all be skilled multitaskers in order to achieve more at work. I’ve tried it and I am sure you have too—I don’t know about you but when I multitask I do a lot but don’t achieve much. Multitasking is one of those things that are keeping you from being productive at work. Chances are that the quality of those 4 projects that you attempted to work on at the same time, may not be very good. So you messed up not 1 but 4 projects. So here’s my advice: focus on 1 or 2 tasks at time, and when time permits, focus on just 1 at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew or you’ll end up over promising and underachieving. If you know you don’t have the time to work on something, don’t take it on assuming that multitasking will save the day—it won’t! Trust me, the quality of your work will be 100 times better if you are able to give it your all.
Hope these tips help you be a bit more productive at work!