How to Stop Wasting Time at Work

72 replies
Hi everyone! I'd just like to share a very inspiring blog post that I've come across.

If only all of us know how to maximize the hours that we have in a day, we would all be rich--in accomplishments! Being able to produce more output in a day will not only entitle you for a possible promotion (if an office employee) or extra revenue (if working from home or managing your own business). This also gives you an assurance that you made wise use of your time and a sense of pride that you could actually do more and be better every day.
Start with the Tough Ones
Procrastination is your biggest enemy. We tend to push the hard ones out and do the easy or clerical tasks first. When you've reached half of the day, you try picking out the hard tasks and finish nothing by the end of the day. Why not reverse this by getting the hardest and usually the most important job done? This works better because you have more focus and energy at the start of the day.
Get your Focus
This is the hardest and most important component. You may have already done a to-do list and you know exactly what to do to be able to deliver. The problem is no matter how hard you try to come up with ideas or compose your thoughts--the light bulb stays busted. To be able to beat this, do a little bit stretching and perhaps sip a cup of coffee. Get some help by browsing online specifically about the task or consulting your colleagues. Make sure to keep this soul-searching period short and particularly about the task at hand. Directing your mind and your actions ONLY to this task will point you towards getting it done fast.
Destruct Distractions
Keeping your IM and e-mail open, especially if notifications from your blogs and social networking accounts are flooding, will eat up your whole day. After all, it's more fun and exciting to check these out than to continue working on a spreadsheet your boss needs after lunch. While quick peeks during breaks won't hurt, getting used to these momentary amusements will make you want for more. So better to shut them off altogether or device a rewards system for yourself where you get to check ONLY when you have done such amount of work.
This simply means that you have a mental allocation of number of hours to be spent on a definite task. While you're at it and you are tempted to daydream or check out the latest Hollywood buzz, check your time. How many more minutes do you have? Time-boxing gives you a positive pressure as you try to beat the self-imposed deadline. Time-boxing also applies to your quick breaks and chit-chat--keep these short so that you don't lose your momentum.
Know When Your Plate is Full
It's true that you want to be as effective as you can be but if you flood yourself with so many jobs, you won't be able to focus and finish a thing. The more tasks you accept, the more people will be bugging you for follow up or feedback and it will be a never-ending cycle. Instead of taking up all these by yourself, why don't you get someone to help you? Perhaps a sibling on vacation can help but there is also a big risk that this may double up the burden since you'll have to check and redo if there are mistakes. Professional assistants are available for a cost but the productivity and relief that they provide is all worth it.
Always remember, time wasted is like money thrown to trash. Managing and spending your time well not only frees you from stress, it also works as your personal investment. You may not realize it but making wise use of your time also results to a constructive outlook in life as you continue to pursue and encourage yourself to achieve something all the time. Disciplining yourself to not waste time is the key to improving your work and your being as well.

So are you wasting your time at work?
#stop #time #wasting #work
  • Profile picture of the author Brett2000
    Hi Pepper,

    Thanks for the tips, very good, especially the timebox, and knowing when your plate is full!
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  • Profile picture of the author Expert212
    Thumbs up.... PepperVA you have made my day... Now I know a lot better that I was wasting time!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author rockyonfire
    Thanks! Very helpful post.

    Close all the Facebook, twitter windows and just work on your project.
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  • Profile picture of the author supernal
    Those are some pretty good tips but not anything that escapes common sense and some genuine thought. Focus on what you need to do and do it. Don't let yourself be distracted by the obvious (ie stop checking your text and FB messages). I heard a quote once that was definitely fitting: there is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when one goes about it with reluctantly.
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  • Profile picture of the author jushuaburnham
    I agree, keep on focus and avoid distractions will make your working time worthy.
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    • Profile picture of the author MIRENGE
      The tips above are very inspiring if only we all could be in a position to follow them.
      Interior design .... where beautiful homes is all we care.
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  • Profile picture of the author TroyNotes
    Two trick always helps me get stuff accomplished (despite having mountains of distractions) is asking myself:

    "What is my ideal outcome [for task] [ in time period]"

    Like on a Friday before going to sleep I will ask:

    What are my ideal outcomes for this weekend? What would make this a perfect weekend?

    How would that feel if I achieved all that?

    I write these down, strategize, try to figure out how best to get as many of them done, and

    Checking email/messages only 2 times a day is a good trick too.
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  • Profile picture of the author TroyNotes
    Originally Posted by PepperVA View Post

    Always remember, time wasted is like money thrown to trash.
    That's a great line! thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author DIGITALCHAMELEON
    keep on focus and always have a goal
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  • Profile picture of the author cherryannml
    Thank you for your post! Words of wisdom to live by.

    Simple, easy steps to build your List
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnnyC123
    I just do this at work..

    Can't be considered time wasting, can it?
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  • Profile picture of the author omoblessed
    Thanks so much for the tips. Indeed, time is the greatest asset God gave to man.
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  • Profile picture of the author JosephCale
    Great tips. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author spice

    I would add that being motivated early on in the day also helps to keep it going for the whole day
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  • Profile picture of the author jamelowe
    Maintaining focus and having a goal! for me, it's the key to success..
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  • Profile picture of the author Kate Campbell
    I am using stopwatch since couple of days in my PC and results are better. Productivity increased. I am using "To-Do" list, Stopwatch and I focusing only at one work. I check Gmail Inbox, Skype, MSN, FB, Twitter etc. only at 11 AM & 6 PM and I downloaded LeechBlock (Add-on to Firefox). Now my work is really on better level and results are immediate!

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  • Profile picture of the author hireava
    Nice post! Very helpful and useful. Thanks a lot for sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Johnson
    Thank you very much for the tips....very helpful in many ways
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  • Profile picture of the author warrich
    thanks for the very good tips , most important is concentration.
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  • Profile picture of the author heshootshescores
    Boy do need to pay attention to this! Start with the Tough Ones, now if I can only do it! Nice tips.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tuffy22
    Whenever I feel like I'm making the most efficient use of my time....I remind myself that I'm not. Thanks for your tips and reminders. I couldn't agree more about the importance of FOCUS. If you get overwhelmed by the scope of your "to do" list, it gets pretty difficult to focus on the individual tasks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Lim
      Good sharing! Currently I listen to Bryan Tracy audio - "'The_Miracle_Of_Self-Discipline". The audio give a good idea how to improve your discipline attitude.
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      • Profile picture of the author stopper
        Very enlightening tips on use of time. Time boxing is something that I need to pay particular attention to.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Curtis
    Thanks for the tips. I really need some techniques to stay more focused on my projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rozanne
    Actually, all it depends on personal attitude....Few people like to enjoy their work and few like to continue gossips and donkey work...So its up to you, what exactly you want. I like to enjoy my work in any consequences....
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  • Profile picture of the author etsuko23
    Thanks a lot for this post mate! I have tough time with focusing! Guess I am lucky I found this thread..
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  • Profile picture of the author Susovan
    1. Prepare a time budget
    2. Allocate time to each work before you start
    3. Keep a progress record (on paper/ in mind)
    4. Compare the results/ progress with your scheduling and try finding out the reasons for delay, if any
    5. Address the bottlenecks
    6. Be systematic in your approach
    7. Be innovative in finding ways to do the same job
    8. Follow a regularly maintained daily activity plan and tick the job once it is done and at day's end see how many have been completed according to your schedule
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    • Profile picture of the author Helena33
      Thanks for some smart tips!
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  • Profile picture of the author waltercrowder

    This post has made up my day. I really need these tips to make my day more productive.

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    • Profile picture of the author Jackson62
      Great post.

      I would add that I always like to attack big projects in bite-sized chunks. I tell myself that this evening's goal is to accomplish one simple task. I find that doing so really helps me keep moving forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author glenclarke
    Thanks for the share. I believe most of us has trouble in focusing especially when dealing with new tasks and activities.
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    • Profile picture of the author vverrall
      Someone should device a new time box for parents!
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  • Profile picture of the author Afreidman
    I made the mistake of not even thinking about all these.

    With experience I learned the hard way.

    I agree with every word.

    Thanks for sharing
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  • Profile picture of the author rosa23
    thanks a lot for sharing these amazing tips. I guess I would keep them in mind from now on...I really needed something like this!
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  • Profile picture of the author loisashby
    We should be constantly mindful of the value of every single moment your lives - moments that seems so insignificant that there loss often goes unnoticed. Perhaps GOD knew about us, and then he gave us more hours. We still have all the time we require. We still have plenty of chances, many opportunities - numerous days, months, and years to point out might know about is able to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Johnson
    I totally agree.....thank you so much for sharing....I can take this plan in action today
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  • Profile picture of the author Lucas Adamski
    Just turning out IM, email, phone, WF is enough for me. It's sometimes hard to do it though..
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  • Profile picture of the author mattbarnham
    Know your priorities and keep working on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frances Colleen
    Work with your moods, make the most of your inspiration and energy while it lasts. It feels good too

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  • Profile picture of the author ericelkins
    Thank you for sharing this. I often lose focus every time I sit on my often chair and start my daily tasks. Will check this out.
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  • Profile picture of the author bank1010
    great post ... very informative ... thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Joshua526
    This is wonderful. Everyday I am wasting too much time and not clear about what I want to accomplish during the day. This is very helpful that it made me realized many things about my lifestyle.
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  • Profile picture of the author ephame
    Time allocation is the big one after procrastination no good getting to work if it's all sporadic and isn't focused, good advice thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Inari
    for me, changing to a standing workspace because of neck problems has dramatically improved my working efficiency. you just can't really slack off very well when you're standing, even if you try. so I end up productively working near 100% of the time - plus the exercise from moving around all the time. total win/win. sitting is for the couch potatoes
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Walker
    I like the idea "start with the hard ones" this actually i have thought about a while, but haven't been applying it in real life. I tend to finish all the easy ones as i think they are less time consuming, but when you think about it as you said when i reach the half of the day, i find out i have my worst "enemy"...
    Very laughable indeed.
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  • Profile picture of the author thanhlan
    hi! thanks for the tips! very useful!
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    • Profile picture of the author PepperVA
      My gratitude for all those who viewed and taken time to reply to the post above. I hope it hadn't been a wasted time.

      Thanks guys!
      Pepper Virtual Assistants - Work SMARTER not harder!
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      • Profile picture of the author bradstern
        Originally Posted by PepperVA View Post

        My gratitude for all those who viewed and taken time to reply to the post above. I hope it hadn't been a wasted time.

        Thanks guys!
        It truly wasn't a waste of time reading it. There is so much wisdom in this thread. Thank you for the wonderful tips.

        I love the 'Start with the tough ones' tip. That is exactly the main reason why I can't finish everything in one day. I tend to have this "i'll start with this because it's easy" mentality and end my day scratching my head why I never finished everything. This clearly helps me!

        Also, regarding the distractions. Well, I admit I frequently engage in social media and personal emails. I didn't actually realize it fully until now. Those quick peeks really tend to add up a lot to the time I'm wasting everyday. I also stumbled upon this infographic on the time wasted at work which is really alarming.

        Big thanks for sharing all of these. Great read! This is something I need to apply to my life.
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  • Profile picture of the author abond
    I think the worst of the worst "time waster", if can call it that, might just be the wrong job.
    The wrong job teaches you all the wrong things: there's so little business from the company, the company doesn't let you do such and such, so you're left with no choice but to stretch the work.

    As a result, you learn all kind of bad habits such as IM checking, lack of planning etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author powell747 is a free tool I use to pump up my productivity. It helps me get energized before I start my work day, and gets me to stay focused and on target, best of all I get more done in less time! Thanks for the post PepperVA
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  • Profile picture of the author craigspohn
    Great tips, thanks for sharing. Very helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debra Barrow
    Even working at home doesn't mean you can devote the entire day to work; time must be made for home and family needs. On the other hand, I stay focused on my projects. Emails don't get opened until the end of the day.

    Also, I usually work late into the night when distractions are at their lowest. This works best for me.

    PS. I like your "start with the tough ones" suggestion. It adds motivation to complete the most difficult part of the project.
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  • Profile picture of the author emmndi
    Thanks for the tips. the idea of knowing when my plate is full... great idea. Will definately keep it.

    backpacking in Kenya

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  • Profile picture of the author taylatrefl
    Thanks for sharing, it helped me a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author RavishingRajni
    Thank you for the tips -
    I will remember them for my modelling shoot in Jan.
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  • Profile picture of the author Magento developer
    First of all, stop all your gossips about your colleagues in office. Sure you will find a greater improvement in your life too...
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  • Profile picture of the author Megyn
    I think my iphone and the schedule app helps with keeping time management on track
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  • Profile picture of the author ERPLeadsWriter
    It's weird cuz this is exactly what I've been trying to apply ever since I started working. I'd like to give special emphasis on the first tip: do what's most difficult first. In fact, I try so hard to go by this rule that it challenges me to honestly evaluate tasks according to difficulty. You will regret it if you start going for what's easy first.

    These tips are easier written on paper but I can personally attest that it is definitely worth following and you'd be surprised at the time you'll save.
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  • Profile picture of the author petragarbar
    I am going to share my personal experience. Whenever I was working on computer I felt that time is not sufficient for me to complete the job. But after a few weeks I realized that I am not doing the job smartly. So here are some points I have taken into care and now it quite easy for me to just work while i am working.

    1. Plan your whole day work then start it.
    2. Keep a notebook before you so that you dont forget what you have to do.
    3. Keep ticking the finished job.
    4. If anything is urgent, do that first otherwise later it will be hectic.
    5. Keep your phone and facebook or orkut accout closed till you are working on projects.
    6 Don't think to and fro other wise you can concentrate on your work

    Just use these tricks I am sure you can watch the difference.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryuchi
    Worth the bookmark, truly inspiring for a non-wasted working day! I am guilty of spending time waiting for new mails and notifications. A timebox is a great idea to manage time well. But in the end its still up to the person itself to have self-control on what he or she does online.

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    • Profile picture of the author NYC SEO
      Originally Posted by ryuchi View Post

      Worth the bookmark, truly inspiring for a non-wasted working day! I am guilty of spending time waiting for new mails and notifications. A timebox is a great idea to manage time well. But in the end its still up to the person itself to have self-control on what he or she does online.

      Any details on best type of timebox?
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  • Profile picture of the author DanielMilstein
    Great post, PepperVA. Tackling the tough ones head on is definitely a winner. The faster we get rid of the difficult tasks, the easier it becomes to move fast. And yes, the getting the focus right on. It's really important to get it spot on. Great tips and thanks for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author danlew
    Those tips are really good, and it really helps to stop wasting time. But the most important thing out of those five tips is to eliminate distractions.
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