On average, most Australian’s spend at least eight hours per day sitting at a desk. Sadly, some research suggests at least 30% of our time is spent chewing on the unproductive fat of wasted time. This doesn’t mean that we’re sitting at our computers playing Candy Crush either! Unfortunately, most wasted time is inflicted upon us by unpredicted distractions. To help you turn those distractions into deliverables, we collated four winter remedies to minimise office time wastage.
Remedy #1: Close Your Inbox
Email is a convenient form of communication and a great electronic record of all professional correspondence. But it’s also one of the biggest drainers of our time. To avoid spending the first two hours of your day responding to emails, try spending the first hour of your morning working on something important. Knocking something significant off your to-do list will benefit your workload and allow you to start the day motivated, rather than uninspired by other people’s email requests.
Remedy #2: Make Meetings Meet Your Workload
Meetings can disrupt productivity. Unless they’re paramount to your responsibilities, they can sometimes be a huge waste of time. To avoid leaving the office at 7pm due to the excess baggage of other people’s meetings, be pragmatic before accepting your next meeting request. Get the low-down on the purpose of the meeting from the organiser and then decide whether it’s fundamental to your role. If it’s not, then politely explain your reasoning and decline the meeting. But don’t forget to acknowledge that you are still a team player by requesting a post-meeting debrief. #BrowniePoints
Remedy #3: Feed Your Workload
Desks and workstations have become our new lunch room where more output is either a head turn or mobile scroll away from our fingertips. Yet our lack of focus and productivity is usually a result of our own refusal to take a proper lunch break. To ensure your afternoon isn’t spent in a no-break haze, leave your office or at least leave your desk and screen. Fresh air, food, non-work related conversations and even laughter, will rejuvenate your energy levels and productivity.
Remedy #4: Interact With Your Keyboard
The internet and our mobile phones aren’t the only hindrances on workloads; colleagues are actually one of the biggest distractions. To avoid multitasking between your workload and other people’s personal lives, try wearing headphones, going to a meeting room or letting people know you’re unavailable for a short period of time, when you’ve got important deadlines to meet. These initiatives signal to your workmates that you’re busy and they’ll only bother you if it’s very important. But don’t forget to spark a little conversation with them once you’ve pumped out your essential to-do’s.
Ultimately, your wasted office time is a result of one person’s inefficiency and that’s your own. Distractions will always arise to intrude on our daily priorities but the key to ensuring they don’t eat away at our lifestyle outside office hours is having the awareness to avoid them. Stay focussed and prioritise.
Got some tips of your own that help you manage time? Share them! Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org