The hidden threats stealing your time in the workplace

by | 03.06.2016
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We preach about productivity. Our aim is to make businesses more productive, to help them work better, to empower them to achieve more and to inspire them to create an awesome culture.

Whether it’s through managing a whole workforce more effectively or simply avoiding multi-tasking, boosting productivity can be done on both the micro and macro level with immediate impact. There’s plenty of ways to turbo-charge productivity, all of which can fail miserably if we work in an environment where our time is constantly sucked away from us.

Time is a precious commodity. Like anything precious, it needs protecting. If you walk into any office, anywhere in the world, you’ll always find hidden threats, lurking in the shadows, ready to steal time away.

 

These threats come in all shapes and sizes, here’s some of the chief culprits and ways you can combat them:


Being a hero

Who doesn’t enjoy being a hero? It’s great being able to help people, to leap to the rescue not matter the job or task. This is definitely a great trait to have but it needs to be used wisely and at the right time. Just because we can do a job, it doesn’t mean we should do it. When the marketing guy is trying to fix the IT systems it isn’t the best use of anyone’s time, it’s just a way of instantly becoming less productive. Don’t feel the need to jump to the rescue every time. Be a hero by delivering outstanding results on the work relevant to you.


Notifications

Notifications are wonderful way of staying connected, apart from when they become wonderful distractions. The average person checks their phone more than 150 times a day. When a notification on your phone or desktop interrupts a task, it can take up to 25 minutes to get back on track. When you need clear headspace to get the job the done, close your email, turn your phone off and focus. The results will speak for themselves.


Failing to ‘own’ it

Michael Pryor, CEO of Trello, has a simple saying he reiterates to employees in every meeting: ‘Don’t Do Nothing.’ He believes that through empowering employees, he gives them the ability to ‘own’ a decision. When we fail to own our work or job role it’s easy to fall into a pattern of coasting by. Businesses can set the goals and should be the catalyst for the employee's’ own drive to reach them.


Unnecessary meetings

These are one of the worst for taking up too much time. Look at your schedule and the amount of meetings you have each week. Add up the total number of hours you’ll be in meetings for and then think about what you could do with the extra time you could free up from holding better meetings. In the quest to optimise business and individual performance, reducing the amount of time wasted in meetings is always a great place to start.


Yourself

That’s right, you’re one of the biggest distractions to yourself in the workplace. Discipline, focus and mindfulness can all be improved by training your brain to focus on the task at hand. It’s easy to be distracted, it’s much harder to stay on task. Don’t multitask, fight boredom if you’re working on a dull task and check Facebook once you’re done!


We’d all like more time, both inside and outside of work. Time is precious and it is finite. Yet it’s possible for us to find more of it and to use it better when we apply ourselves to the fullest of our potential.

Tommy Tonkins

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