Combatting Time Wasters at Work

Feeling swamped at work? You’re not alone. Many professionals struggle with time management, finding themselves drowning in tasks and frustrated by the end of the day. The culprit? Often, it’s the subtle time wasters that chip away at our productivity, leaving us feeling less than accomplished.

Here are some common time wasters and strategies to combat them…

1. Unnecessary meetings

Let’s face it, meetings can be notorious time drains. We’ve all been there: hour-long calls that could have been emails, endless agendas without clear goals. Here’s how to fight back…

Ditch the one-hour meeting as the norm. Offer shorter slots (15 or 30 minutes) as the default option and set a clear agenda, designate a facilitator, and stick to time limits. Encourage active participation and avoid going off on tangents. This forces everyone to consider if a longer meeting is truly necessary.

2. Email overload

The constant ping of incoming emails can be a major distraction. Checking them constantly disrupts your focus and can lead to inefficient multitasking. So, how can you eliminate this distraction?

Designate specific times to check and respond to emails. Turn off notifications outside of these designated windows to avoid the constant pull. If emails require frequent monitoring, consider bringing in a virtual assistant or using an email automation tool to handle this for you.

3. Micromanaging (even if you don’t mean to)

Before you scroll past this one, no one ever considers themselves to be a micromanager! But if you find yourself…

● ‘Checking in on your employees’ a couple of times a day
● Checking the shared inbox more than you check your own
● Assigning people emails (and maybe leaving them notes suggesting how they ‘might’ reply)
● Intervening and taking over tasks that were assigned to others
● Fixating on minor details and processes in a project, and spending excessive time on them even if it has minimal impact on the overall outcome

… then you might have fallen into the micromanagement pit. The biggest problem with these actions is that it hinders independent work and slows down progress.

Project management tools like Trello or can help even the worst micromanager handover tasks more effectively. These platforms provide transparency and encourage communication, allowing team members to update progress and collaborate efficiently without the need for constant supervision.

4. Multitasking

While it might feel productive to juggle multiple tasks at once, multitasking actually reduces efficiency. Switching between tasks requires refocusing, leading to errors and wasted time. Ironically, attempting to do multiple things at once often results in doing none of them well.

This is why we recommend all our clients use a default diary. In this you can block out dedicated time slots for specific tasks. This allows you to focus solely on the task at hand, minimising distractions and maximising your output. Schedule breaks throughout the day to refresh your mind and prevent burnout.

5. Planning Procrastination

Sometimes, the act of planning itself becomes a form of procrastination. Spending hours meticulously planning your day down to the minute can be more time-consuming than simply starting the first task. You might find yourself caught in an endless loop of planning and never actually getting anything done.

The way to overcome this is to scale back your plans. Create a simple daily to-do list, prioritising the most important tasks and get started. Avoid getting bogged down in elaborate planning and commit to taking action instead. Remember, even small steps forward are better than remaining stagnant in a planning rut.

Remember, conquering time wasters is an ongoing process. Experiment with these strategies and find what works best for you. By identifying and eliminating these productivity drains, you’ll be well on your way to a more efficient and fulfilling work day.

And if you’d like any support, drop us a message at

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