6 Biggest Time Wasters at Work and How to Fight Them

“When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

― A.W. Tozer

By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

It can be hard to avoid time wasters at work, especially in the digital world we live in. But if you can identify where you’re wasting your time, it’s easier to eliminate the time wasters and fully take advantage of your time at work. Here are six time management strategies you need right now:

1. Delegate Tasks

We often get caught up in completing menial, time-consuming tasks. While these tasks are certainly important, they have a tendency to pull us away from projects that really matter. One of the easiest ways to free up some time at work is to identify tasks that can be delegated to others.

Finding someone to help perform monotonous tasks, like data entry or account maintenance, can help keep you available for the necessary tasks. Delegation can end up helping other employees improve because they’ll be tackling new endeavors and learning new skills. Plus, practicing delegation allows you to become a better leader, so you can focus on the things that really matter. It’s a win-win!

2. Utilize the Cloud

If your desktop is anything like mine, it can be a scary place. Half the time I can’t find the files I am looking for, and when I do find the file, it isn’t the right version. Utilizing cloud storage is an excellent way to reduce time spent searching for files, especially from the road. Online cloud storage allows you to organize and sort important documents, so they can be found in moments. Plus, the cloud allows you to access your files from anywhere, at any time, via a regular internet connection. You can grant multiple people access to your cloud documents, if necessary, so that several people can view the most current version of a document in real time. By avoiding the shuffle of various files (and the disastrous desktop that results), you can save time at work.

3. Embrace the Headphones

It can be very tempting to listen to or participate in your co-workers’ conversations happening around you. Who wouldn’t want to hear about Katie’s killer party over the weekend? But constantly hearing background chatter can become incredibly distracting throughout the day.

If you work in an environment with several people surrounding you, headphones may be your new best friend. Popping on a pair of headphones with some light background music is a great way to drown out unwanted distractions. Plus, listening to music at work has been known to reduce stress and boost productivity. Sometimes, simply using noise-canceling headphones without any music at all is enough to do the trick.

4. Make a To-Do List

When you don’t have an organized plan for the day, it’s easy to get pulled in a million directions. Without a precise objective for what you need to accomplish, time can go by unchecked, and before you know it, the day is over with nothing accomplished.

A good practice to combat this is to create a to-do list for the day. It can be helpful to create the list the day prior, right before you leave work. That way, you can still include the objectives that you didn’t get finished, so you can start them first thing in the morning. As the day progresses, add new items to your to-do list. This will keep you organized and productive, and can even help eliminate stress.

5. Manage Your Email

Managing your email effectively is vital for improved productivity. When your email appears in one big wall, it can be difficult to do anything about it. Finding the important emails to reply to, the right name to contact, or even that one specific email with the details you need can be tough. Try sorting your email and taking advantage of separate filters and folders to stay organized. Dedicate separate folders for different job duties to help keep you on track. This will allow you to effectively prioritize, find and respond to the right emails quickly.

6. Eliminate Social Distractions

This one is probably the hardest part of eliminating time wasters at work. Our mobile phones and social media presence have become such a large part of our day-to-day lives, it can be hard to separate, even just for a bit. Try putting your cell phone on silent to avoid constant distractions and limit the amount of time you spend browsing social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you aren’t ready to completely eliminate social media from the workday, try blocking off a short window of time during the day that is allocated to social media. Set a timer on your computer desktop if you have to.

The flipside of that “nothing got done today” feeling is when you finish the day with your entire to-do list checked off. By implementing some planning, delegating, and discipline, you can get there more easily than you think.

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