Did you spend part of this weekend working? If so, maybe you have a time management problem — or maybe you have a problem with other people not letting you manage your time. Either way, identifying the major obstacles standing between you and a more productive work week will free you up to spend next weekend resting (or at least, attending to the business of your personal, non-work life).
(Photo Credit: ryantron./Flickr)
Weekdone, a company that makes employee progress report software, recently published an infographic outlining the major distractions that keep us from getting work done at the office. Here’s how you can beat most of them:
If you’re a manager, this one is easier: stop holding meetings that aren’t totally necessary. How can you tell if a meeting is worth it? Ideally, it should communicate a decision that can’t be conveyed via another means, check goals and keep people on track, or allow team members to brainstorm. Plus, it should have a clear agenda, and end with action items. (Find out how to run meetings you have to have more like Google does, here.)
If you’re not a manager, you’ll need to get the boss on your side. Ask if you can be released from meetings where you’re not essential personnel for the discussion at hand. Better yet, see how she feels about your blocking off the occasional hour on your calendar to devote to heads-down work.
2. Chatty Co-workers
If you have a lot of folks dropping by your cubicle to shoot the breeze, you’ll need to get creative. If your office has conference rooms, consider booking one of the smaller ones in put in an intensive work session. If you work in one of those dreaded open offices, ask if you can work at home now and then. If you can stay disciplined, you’ll find that you can often get more done away from the office.
Don’t answer messages as they roll into your inbox. Better yet, pick a few set times each day when you’ll check email and sort it according to priority.
Even the most diligent worker can find himself falling down an internet rabbit hole now and then, especially if his job requires him to use social media or do online research. If you think you’re losing time to surfing, start keeping track. For a day or two, write down roughly how much time you spend on each task. If idle internet reading is eating up too much of your time, you’ll know in a hurry.
You can’t do more than one thing at a time and do anything well. If you find your attention pulled in multiple directions at once, stop. Pick one task, and do it until completion. Then move on to the next thing.
Even if you work in an environment where you’re asked to change tracks rapidly — tech support, for example — try to force yourself to concentrate on one thing at a time, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Switching back and forth rapidly can eat at your concentration, but it’s still better than fooling yourself into thinking you can do two things at once.
See the other big distractions that waste your work time, below:
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