5 Time Wasters at Work That Are Killing Your Productivity

Do you ever feel like you can never get anything done at work? Are there time wasters at work that are killing your productivity that you might not realize?

Your days seem to whiz by in a flurry of activity. But how much are you really getting done? According to recent research, the answer is, not that much. With productivity down, American businesses are looking for the reasons why. What they have found is astounding.

Today’s worker is wasting more time than ever before – and that is cutting deeply into employers’ profits.

When surveyed, the average worker admitted to wasting about three hours of their workday on non-work-related tasks. That’s three times as much time as employers had suspected, costing businesses about $759 billion in wasted salaries every year. But, it gets worse.

According to a report issued by Salary.com this year, about 4% of workers admit to wasting as much as half of their workday doing things that have nothing to do with their jobs. So what are people doing during work hours?

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How We Spend Our Time

According to statistics, 64% of workers use the internet for personal use during the workday and 50% make personal phone calls or send texts during office hours. As many as 60% of workers admit to making online purchases when they are supposed to working, and many more play video games.

But, the personal use of time aren’t the only workday wasters impacting businesses. Here are some in-office time wasters that employees report:

  • Gossip (42%)
  • Social interaction with C-Workers (32%)
  • Snacks and Breaks (27%)
  • Meetings (23%)
  • In-Office Noise Distractions (24%)

How Much Our Time Wasters Cost

None of us have to waste much time to have a real impact on a company’s profits. It makes sense that wasting hours each day is going to cost your employer big bucks. But, what about those small time wasters we rarely think about?

One report estimates that if every employee in the United States wastes a mere 36 seconds per day, the cost is an astronomical $120,484,000 every year! Now, multiply those few seconds by the minutes and hours most of us waste in a single day and you can see how much productivity is being lost in America’s workforce.

How to Break the Distraction Habit

No matter how conscientious you are, we all need to look at the tasks that strip us of the time necessary to get real work done. Here are a few of the most common culprits, along with some simple solutions:

1. Office Gossip

It’s hard not to fall into this trap, but statistics show that gossiping eats away as much as an hour a day in some offices. The easiest solution is to walk away when the gossip starts.

2. Socialization

Limit friendly banter to breaks and lunchtime.

3. Distractions by Noisy Co-Workers

If a noisy co-worker keeps you from being productive, wear noise-cancelling earphones, or ask to have your cubicle moved to another part of the office.

4. The Internet

Unless you need it to get the job done stay off the internet altogether while at work.

5. Email

Sifting through dozens of emails every day can be a real time waster. Instead of reading and responding to every message when it comes in, set aside a time each day to handle non-emergent correspondence. Here’s another tip: only read the most important messages. Skip over the rest.

6. Meetings

If meetings are eating away at your productivity, do your best to eliminate unnecessary ones. If you really aren’t required to be present, skip it. And when you are required to be in the room, do your best not to sidetrack the discussion. Keeping everyone on task can save hours of table time every week.

Snacks and Breaks

Everyone needs a break from time to time, but do your best to limit them to only a few minutes once or twice each day.

It may seem impossible to get through your to-do list in a mere eight-hour workday, but if you are diligent to eliminate these common time eaters, you may discover that your day goes much smoother, and you get a lot more accomplished!

Eliminate these time wasters and see how your productivity improves! Learn how to structure your day at work so you don’t waste any time with my Prioritization Tool.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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