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October 9, 2019

5 Time Killers You Must Kill

If 5 p.m. has come and you wonder, “What happened to the day?”, you may have been working your fingers to the bone, and the day just slipped by you. But just as likely, you were wasting your time on non-work-related items that make the time go by faster.

It’s a serious issue. According to Bolt Insurance, companies lose $130 billion in payroll loss from employees spending time on non-work-related tasks. Three percent spent as much as 10 or more hours a week on those tasks. That’s 15 minutes out of every hour!

Many of these tasks are still work-related, but aren’t related to your task at hand – dealing with office politics, answering emails, fixing others’ mistakes, and other types of “busy work.” But there are some things that you have control over that may be seeping into your work life:

1. Internet. Whether it’s catching the Black Friday sales, reviewing the scores from last night’s games, or reading the news, we all spend a little time on Internet-related tasks that aren’t tied to work. In small doses, this can be okay; think of it as a coffee break. But the Internet is a tempting thing, and many times our minds wander, asking a question that only Google knows the answer to

There are browser extensions that can help. Prod blocks websites you waste time on and unblocks them once you’ve finished your to-do list. Productivity Pal uses Elon Musk, of all people, to notify you when you spend too much time on unproductive websites. And Block Site lets you easily block any distracting or harmful website.

2. Cellphone. If it’s not the Internet, it’s your phone. Texting, social media, games – all of them are time-suckers and are just a foot away on your phone. Apple has realized this and now records the time you spend on your phone. And many parental control apps, believe it or not, are perfect for weaning your social media habit. Kidslox sets daily limits of screen time and blocks distracting apps so you’re always focused on the task at hand – not Instagram.

3. Colleagues. This may not seem like a time-waster, but we all have people at work who stop by our desks, gossip, talk about their kids, or discuss the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.” To combat this, politely but firmly explain that you’re on a deadline, and perhaps you could talk at lunch.

4. Meetings. There’s nothing worse than being caught in a meeting in which you are not needed, or the meeting itself is unnecessary. We’ve posted about how to deal with unproductive meetings before; follow the instructions there to reduce your meeting time.

5. Side projects. You may have a side job that you’re working or a hobby that you’re obsessed with. Be careful not to let that world leak too much into your day job. If you have too much work on your side hustle to get work done at your regular job, then you may want to consider going full-time with your second job. Or simply make note of things you need to do in your side job and do them when you get home.

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