Choose your own adventure: You’re at work and can either A) Start that big project or B) Just check your Facebook first. Tough choice, right?
While it’s tempting to take advantage of technology’s vast supply of entertainment, communication and information sources, these minor sidetracks could end up costing major time. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 24 percent of workers admit they spend at least one hour each day on personal calls, emails or texts. The amount of time workers spent searching the Internet for non-work reasons wasn’t much better. But are employees really working less? Or can technology and other productivity killers actually help keep your work day balanced?
“While many managers feel their teams perform at a desirable level, they also warn that little distractions can add up to bigger gaps in productivity,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “It’s important to be organized and designate times to work on different deliverables. Minimize interruptions and save personal communications for your lunch hour or break. It can help put more time and momentum back into your workday.”
To learn about where you may be wasting your time, and what employers are doing to stop it, check out the infographic below:
While employers are taking measures to cut down on productivity killers, you can find ways to work smarter — not harder — by employing these tips Haefner offers to avoid wasting time on the job:
- Organize and prioritize – De-clutter your workspace and clearly lay out your game plan for the week. What do you need to accomplish each day? How much time will each project take? Which projects have the highest priority?
- Limit interruptions – Incoming calls and co-workers dropping by to chat about their weekend can break your concentration and eat up time. Block off a conference room to work on a project to avoid distractions at your desk. Read email at intervals instead of opening each one as soon as it comes in. Consider telecommuting on certain days.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings – Don’t set aside an hour to meet about an issue or initiative that can be addressed with a quick phone call. Politely decline the meeting invitation and follow up with the organizer.
- Get personal on your own time – Whether you want to call a friend, take advantage of an online sale or post a picture of your dog on your social profile, do it during your lunch hour or break time or after work.
- Communicate wisely – Don’t spend 20 minutes crafting an email to the person sitting in the next cubicle. Save time by picking up the phone or walking over to your colleague’s desk.
- Don’t delay the inevitable – Finding other things to do so you can put off a project you don’t want to work on will only end up wasting more time. Don’t procrastinate. Dive in and tackle the task at hand.
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