The office is a minefield of distraction.
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A UC Irvine study revealed that, on average, office workers are interrupted every 11 minutes. And yet it takes around 25 minutes to get back on track.
Eliminating distractions—as many as possible—can have a profound impact on your productivity, output, and mental wellbeing. So rather than only focus on what you should be doing more efficiently, consider the detractors you can eliminate.
Here are 10 of the biggest workplace time wasters you should watch out for:. On one hand, they enable us to be more connected and tuned in than ever. However, as well all know, this connectivity comes with a cost in productivity.
This level of use can mostly be attributed to our natural brain chemistry. Yet because that pleasure is fleeting, we continually seek it out. But rather to make it less of a time waster. At one extreme, you can delete all distracting apps.
But at the minimum turn off all notifications and try to have a few sessions where you go into do-not-disturb mode during working hours. Your notifications will still be waiting for you once the day is done.
You might think multitasking makes you extra productive. But the reality is exactly the opposite. Your workplace task juggling has the same effect as texting while driving just slightly less dangerous. Instead of trying to do multiple things at once, spend a bit of time creating a focused daily schedule that promotes single-tasking.
Ambient noise and unnecessarily loud coworkers can have a massive impact on your productivity. And modern, open-office floorplans often exacerbate this issue. Researchers have found that to concentrate on cognitively demanding work, we should be in an environment no louder than 50 decibels.
However, most open offices are closer to the decibel range. It might not seem like much, but the sounds of conversation, laughter, clinking coffee cups or even mobile ringtones can quickly wrench you out of a focused state.
1. smartphones and other digital devices
Cubicles and sectioned off spaces are certainly not homely and can be downright bleak, but they do help eliminate noise that would otherwise carry across the office. Neuroscientists at Princeton University discovered that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, adding to stress and decreasing your performance.
Making a habit of getting rid of your distracting clutter is a great way to protect your productivity. Set a reminder, either daily, weekly, or bi-monthly to clean, sort, and discard your physical and digital clutter like all those browser tabs you have open.
2. multitasking and trying to do too much at once
In fact, making your space your own with family photos, plants, and other personal items makes sure you feel at ease and enjoy coming into the workspace each day. Our bodies go through natural ebbs and flows of energy throughout the dayand what you eat and drink will determine whether you spend the day on a high, or barely make it through.
While there is lots of advice out there on nutrition and most of it will depend on what works for youremember to keep yourself properly fueled throughout the day. Keep a water bottle or time wasting chat at your desk and fill it every few hours or more and try to avoid foods and drinks with high concentrations of sugar, which give you an initial boost of energy followed by a full-on crash.
Yet procrastination only le to more stress. Writing is a perfect example. Rather than stress over the blankmost writers force themselves through a first draft and worry about editing later. Just as smartphones and similar devices can be major time wasters, so can websites, news, and, of course, social media networks.
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If you find yourself pursuing distracting sites at work, a better bet is to install or use a distraction blocker. Meetings tend to be huge time sinks. If you feel that a majority of your day is wasted on unimportant or unnecessary meetings it may be time to seriously bring it up. Ask to do a calendar audit and see which meetings need to be attended and which are just legacy bookings that can be killed.
Decision fatigue refers to the natural deterioration of our decision-making abilities throughout the day.
6 huge workplace time wasters
Or why the average worker switches between tasks more than times per day. Start by trying to eliminate the amount of decisions you make each day.
Especially less impactful ones. This could mean developing a set morning routine, mapping out your most important work the night before, or even eating the same thing for lunch every day. Collaboration and communication are great for productivity. But it can be beneficial to limit their use.
Managers and senior-level staff can help with this by setting better expectations for response timessuch as not requiring employees to communicate or respond immediately. Use this list to help identify your personal time wasters, and then squash them. Want to learn more about spending your time well and doing more meaningful work? Get our latest blog posts in your inbox every week.
From Time Management. Here are 10 of the biggest workplace time wasters you should watch out for: 1. Smartphones and other digital devices Smartphones are a bit of a conundrum for most workers.
Want to know how much time you actually spend on your phone each day? One comment Great tips!
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