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7 biggest time wasters in the workplace and how to deal with them

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About 31% of employees waste about 30 minutes a day. With conversations about water coolers, social media and the internet, it’s easy to get lost for the entire workday. And there are also some hidden time wasters that you and your company should watch out for. But what are these so-called time wasters? And how do you deal with them before they get out of hand?

Time wasters to avoid

We all know there are time wasters in the workplace. But do you know what they are? By identifying the biggest time-consuming tasks, you can avoid them altogether (and save time to focus on more important things). So, what are the biggest time wasters in business that rob you of productivity? Let me break down the top seven.

1. Unnecessary Meetings

Let’s face the facts: not all meetings are productive. Some are even downright unnecessary and a complete waste of time. And if your business is like many others, you might also be wasting precious time in meetings.

According to a study, 67% of employees argue that spending too much time in meetings hinders them from being productive at work. And a whopping 92% of employees find themselves multitasking during these meetings. Can you say time sucks?

Unnecessary meetings not only waste time, they can also cause your team to lose focus on their work and become unproductive. Not to mention it could cost your business money (and nobody wants that). The solution? Well, there are a few.

Instead of having unproductive meetings, you and your team can:

  • Organize meetings in advance and discuss points
  • Only meet if it is really necessary
  • Set time limits for meetings
  • Ask your team to prepare talking points
  • Schedule shorter meetings
  • Stay focused on the subject at hand

2. Multitasking

Jumping from task to task may seem like it will save you time in the long run. But guess what? It will not. Multitasking is actually one of the biggest pastimes for businesses, with only 2.5% of people able to multitask effectively.

Multitasking can cause you to make mistakes, reduce the quality of your work and inhibit creativity. Not to mention, it can be a major culprit of burnout.

So, what should an entrepreneur do? Instead of trying to multitask to get everything done, you and your team can focus on the task at hand. Trust me, you’ll get a lot more done if you focus on one task before moving on to another.

3. Micromanaging Employees

Micromanaging may seem tempting, especially when your business is your baby and you are in charge of its success. But micromanaging can do more harm than good while wasting your time.

Of course, you probably want things to be done a certain way in your business – I get it. But you hired your team for a reason: to delegate certain tasks and get things done. You haven’t hired employees to breathe over their shoulders and watch every move they make.

Micromanaging not only wastes your time, but also your team’s time. Instead of lingering, set clear expectations and goals, provide feedback, communicate openly, and develop employee ownership. Oh and one more thing: don’t be afraid to ask employees for suggestions. You never know what kind of ideas they might have to streamline processes and improve your business.

4. Disorganization

Have you ever struggled to find an oh-so-important document for a big meeting? Or have you had trouble finding a record or file that you “know you just saw?” If so, you have fallen victim to disorganization, which (surprise, surprise) is a major waste of time in the business world.

Wasting time going through paperwork and files is something no one wants to do. Plus, being disorganized is stressful and frustrating for everyone, not just you. To avoid this waste of time and make your workplace more efficient, consider:

  • Set up an organizational system (e.g. files, folders, digital storage, etc.)
  • Cleaning up workstations
  • Keeping a schedule and checklist

5. Irrelevant Emails

Emails have become a big part of communication at work† But they can also be a major waste of time if not used properly.

It can be easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of emails throughout the day, especially if you are a business owner. Business leaders waste 3.4 hours a week reading emails that don’t add value to their business. That’s about 177 hours a year (about a whole week!) in wasted time – yikes.

Of course, deleting your email isn’t really an option. So, what options do you have to avoid wasting time searching through emails? Here are a few:

  • Choose a phone, video call or face-to-face conversation
  • Avoid checking emails first in the morning
  • Check emails only a few times a day at regular intervals

The less time you waste going through emails, the more time you’ll save on more important tasks in your business.

6. Lack of delegation

I mentioned delegation before, and I’m about to mention it again. Why? Because it is That important. Oh yes, and because a lack of delegation can lead to you wasting precious time during your workday.

If you spend too much time on small tasks that take you away from your business, learn to let go and delegate tasks to your team. Otherwise you will waste time and energy instead of growing your business.

So, how do you deal with this time waster? Simple: start delegating. Let employees take projects off your board so you can get back to work.

7. Online distraction

When much of the work is done with a computer these days (especially if your team works from home like mine), it can be easy to get distracted. Small distractions like checking social media for a few minutes or doing a quick Google search can easily add up and waste time.

To avoid wasted time with online distractions and encourage your team to do the same, track your work time (using an app, for example) and make sure you and your team take plenty of breaks and lunches. Limiting distractions and making time for breaks can help you increase productivity and stay focused throughout the day.

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