Productivity time wasters

Top four time wasters killing your productivity

Technology enables people to be more connected than ever before. However, it needs to be used effectively if you want to make the best use of your time.

It can be a major source of distraction, wastes time, adds to the stress and pressure when you’re connected 24/7 at work and home.

Over 50% of employees now work more than 40 hours a week but only productive for 60% of their working days.

Here Time Management and Productivity Coach Clare Evans reveals the top time wasters that kill productivity and how to deal with them.

1. Email

Over 2 million emails are sent every 2 seconds. Senior managers and business executives deal with over 120 emails every day. Most people check their email several times a day, as well as checking it while at home or on holiday. Some employees spend 50% of their working day just dealing with email.

Manage your email better by:

  • Switching off ALL email alerts
  • Only check email 2-3 times a day
  • Set aside time to actively read/respond to email
  • Use rules, filters and folders to organise your Inbox
  • Follow good email practice to make it effective.

2. Meetings

Multiple meetings with multiple employees take up thousands of business hours every year. Busy professionals may attend up to 60 meetings each month.

Add the time for preparation, travel and follow up increases the time meetings take up. Face to face meetings take up more time and cost more than meeting virtually.

Reduce your meeting commitments by 30%:

  • Only attend important meetings – face to face or virtual
  • Reduce meeting time and expense by holding virtual meetings
  • ALWAYS have an agenda, objectives and outcomes
  • Invite the right people for an effective meeting
  • NO back-to-back meetings – leave time between meetings for overrun, moving locations, comfort break.
  • Avoid unplanned, impromptu meetings
  • Add in time to prepare, travel and follow-up when planning meetings

3. Distractions and Interruptions

Technology increases the demands on our attention. Distraction and interruptions waste 2+ hours a day – 80% of which are unimportant.

Every interruption breaks the concentration and it takes time to get back into the task. Minimise distractions by:

  • Prioritise interruptions with current work – ONLY deal with them if they’re more important
  • Focus on one task at a time – use Pomodoro type apps to say focused
  • Switch off sources of distraction – phone, mobiles, email
  • Set time limits when you get distracted or interrupted
  • Find a quiet place to work where you’re less likely to be disturbed.

4. Tools, systems and processes

People use and rely on technology for work. Out-of-date, poorly designed or disconnected systems and processes are ineffective and create more work. IT issues waste time and cause stress and frustration.

  • Invest in training
  • Keep technology updated
  • Implement the right tools and apps
  • Review systems and processes
  • Create boundaries around work
  • Inefficient technology and unproductive practices loses millions of hours and costs business £000’s every year.
  • Work smarter. Use the right skills and technology to improve productivity and reduce costs.

Check your time skills, take Clare’s Time Quiz

Clare Evans is a Time Management and Productivity Coach and the Author of Time Management for Dummies. She works with individuals and organisations in the UK and internationally. She coaches small groups, departments and teams through workshops and seminars for businesses and organisations.

For further details and information to improve your productivity read Clare’s blog.

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