This is a guest post by Stephanie Lynch, founder of How Much Is It, a place where you can find the cost of unknown things in life.
Wasting time can be bad or good, depending on how you look at it. If you want to get things done at work, well, wasting time isn’t probably what you want to do.
On the other hand, wasting time while you’re waiting at the airport is probably your goal.
While taking a break from time to time is okay, many people don’t realize they are wasting time when performing many tasks throughout the day.
To make your day more productive by taking advantage of every minute you’re working, here are six things that may be putting a damper on your daily routine:
1. Checking email.
Whether you have a notification going off each time you get an email, forcing you to check it, or you’re the type that checks your inbox every 10 minutes, checking your email causes you to lose your focus, making it hard to go back to what you were focusing on.
Instead of checking your email every few minutes, set a schedule for the day and only check your email at this time.
2. Attending meetings.
All meetings aren’t created equally, but raise your hand if you have ever attended a meeting where you didn’t learn a thing?
I’m sure you see what I’m getting at now. Meetings are slowly becoming a productivity killer and unless these meetings have a place, it could be wasting your time. While you can’t control your management’s meetings, consider your options if you have the power to set one up.
Ask yourself: Do you really need this meeting?
Remember, you’re paying this person to attend this meeting, and if you’re not getting anything out of it, you’re better off putting them to work.
3. Using gadgets when paper will do.
While it’s great to save the trees and use your iPad to write down your notes, this could actually be a productivity killer.
Think about this scenario for a second. If you were working on a project and had an idea, you would probably have to turn on your table, click the icon and jot down your notes.
Well, what happens if, while you’re scrolling, you see the USA Today news app and you think to yourself, “I wonder what happened today?” Clicking that could eat up the next 30 minutes.
I think you catch my drift here. If you’re going to write simple notes, consider using a pen and paper to make it quick.
4. No to-do list.
What do you want to do today? If you don’t have a to-do list, then how do you know what you want to accomplish?
Even if you think you can remember everything you have to do, you may be skipping something or you may forget about it.
Creating a to-do list is a great way to visually see your goals and it feels great to scratch off each task as you do it.
5. Limit your Internet browsing.
If your work requires browsing the Internet, that’s fine, but when doing so, avoid the aimless surfing.
We all know how it starts: You see a story on your Facebook feed about how a man proposed to his wife in a unique way. 35 minutes later, you’re watching a YouTube video on a cat doing tricks.
Aimlessly browsing can waste a lot of time and can make it very hard to keep focus. To stay productive, consider downloading the StayFocusd extension on Chrome. This extension will block popular websites, forcing you to do your work.
6. Being too available.
An open door policy is great. However, this can really slow you down as people wander to chat about nonsense most of the time.
You can still be friendly with your door shut.
And remember, many managers keep their door shuts so they can focus. Again, this doesn’t make you a bad person! If you have an open door policy, consider setting limited hours so you can focus on what’s important.
It can take time to develop new habits and schedules, but if you’re able to do so, it could save you 30, 60, 90 minutes or more.
Just think of what you can do with all of this newfound time!
How do you avoid wasting time? Have you made any of these changes in the past?
Did it work out? I’d love to know!