Tackle those time killers!
Time is precious. We spend a lot of our waking time at work. How do we make it count?
We’re bringing you collection of tips for you and your employees, all aimed at becoming more productive and staying that way.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, we should look for time wasters and nip them in the bud! We can better serve our goals by identifying what is draining our time most for the least results. Telephone calls are one such example. Whilst calls can be quicker and more effective than other forms of communication like email, they can also easily turn into time wasters if not managed well. Schedule calls and allocate a time for what needs to be covered. Don’t be afraid to tell your caller that you have other commitments you’ll need to attend to once important matters have been discussed.
On that note, a second time waster highlighted by Entrepreneur is the Chatterbox. These people simply love to chat. Whilst a bit of chatter is healthy and good for relationships at work, too much of it drains time in a significant way. Set boundaries and keep to them, even if that means interrupting the person to explain you have a schedule to keep to or a work agenda to meet.
Our next time waster can be a real killer – meetings! How many meetings have you sat through that have been much longer than needed, or could have been avoided because they are not relevant to what you do?
A lot of time is wasted getting up to speed in meetings, and waiting for others to do the same. So why not set and drive good meetings practice in your personal capacity and make your mark as a professional at the same time? Create a norm of being committed and coming prepared. Request an agenda, start as well as finish times, and enquire about any materials that you can look over in advance. Ask for items where you are expected to make a contribution. Prepare for that contribution. Be really rigorous about starting on time. Arrive on time, up-to-date, prepared, with a contribution to make, and you will definitely stand out. If possible, make meetings a standing event, and make them short. Talking for hours is suddenly replaced with getting to the point.
In their article ‘Employers can help colleagues stay productive’, the People Development Network also highlights the value of taking breaks.
‘Being productive at work means having energy and motivation to complete all work duties during the day without spending much time and sacrificing your personal life.’
It is not possible for anyone to be productive all day long, breaks are important. Although taking a break when you are busy seems counterintuitive, it does not pay off to keep going over the long term. To boost productivity, try quick 15-minute refresher breaks, or ‘micro breaks.’ As an employer, you could even organize these breaks for employees. Breaks should be relaxing and social, not cognitive tasks, says the research. And getting out of the office for a walk could make a lot of difference.
‘Workers who spent lunch break using their smart phone, as opposed to chatting with friends, felt more emotionally exhausted in the afternoon.’
If you want to know more about the research around breaks, read it here.
Your time is precious. Get better at using it wisely. Everyone will benefit.