Budapest Offices


5 Ways You're Wasting Time Without Even Realizing It

Mar 22nd, 2016

We all waste time but it is painful in workplaces. According to recent data, the vast majority of employees know they waste 30 minutes or more every day, with 4 % wasting half the day or more.

“I believe that, but that’s not me. I’m not the type of person who wastes time.”

If at this point you’re thinking it to yourself, this is because you don’t waste time deliberately -- unfortunately, most forms of wasting time are sneaky and go beneath your notice until it’s too late to do anything about them.

What’s the solution?

·         raising your self-awareness

·         tracking down the roots of your time-waste 

·         accounting for and correcting those discrepancies

1. Rituals

We all have rituals at the office -- small routines that we do every day, some of which are productive and most of which are not. You might circle by the water cooler, making small talk for the first 15 minutes, or you might start out by reading the news for 20 minutes. The danger here comes in not being conscious of your time spent meaning you’re spending this time doing rituals without even realizing what you’re doing. Taking breaks and reading the news aren’t necessarily bad things, but they can put a damper on your total productivity.

2. Distractions

Distractions are a major cause of time loss, and this is well-documented. Most people understand the obvious, superficial distractions that catch their eye in the middle of a project -- for example, you might check Facebook instead of working through that tough problem or shop online between tasks. These can be easily identified but tough to beat. Usually, disconnecting from the Internet (or source) and scheduling time for these activities later are good strategies. However, you’re more likely to suffer from distractions you don’t recognize as distractions -- such as answering emails that constantly pop-up or being drawn into an office-wide conversation.

3. Communication

Communication is necessary and, in an ideal world, efficient. The most efficient communicators can use things like emails, meetings and phone calls to actually improve their collective productivity. However, these mediums and institutions are ripe with the potential to waste time. How many times have you received a long-winded email that spent several paragraphs explaining a very simple idea? Strive for more efficient communication, and you’ll find yourself with more time that you can spend productively.

4. Refusal to adapt 

People have different reasons for refusing to adapt. Some like their pace and aren’t comfortable changing anything. Others are forward-planning perfectionists who don’t like changing their approaches when circumstances change. In any case, refusing to adapt your working style or focus when the situation shifts will cost you dearly in terms of time spent. For example, if you gain new information about a client’s needs for an RFP, you’re better off stopping and readjusting than you are muscling through the proposal and hoping it hits home somehow.

5. Prioritization problems

Let’s say you’ve managed to identify and conquer all the temporal fault points listed so far. Are you sure you aren’t wasting time doing the wrong kind of work? Are you burying yourself in unimportant tasks or ones outside your wheelhouse, only to realize at the end of the day that you still have your most important projects to take care of? If so, you have a prioritization problem. Fortunately, this can be addressed by more proactively categorizing and working through your tasks.


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