Time thieves: get to know them← Back to blog
You arrive at the office, determined to work on that project that is driving you crazy. You sit in your comfortable chair, (which is crucial for being productive), and you turn on the computer while you take out a couple of files from the drawer. Suddenly and without knowing how it happened, it is 12 noon and you have not done anything that you were supposed to do. You get cracking and you convince yourself that you will do in one hour what you have not done in four hours. And you do it. What happened? Your time was stolen. Luckily, stress has functioned as a mechanism to help you raise your concentration and you were able to finish all of your assigned tasks.
Time thieves are those activities that we do without noticing and which steal the precious minutes from our days. So, we will give you a small list of common time thieves that you need to be aware of:
- The news. For the majority of people, the first web page that they open when they arrive at work is a news web page. They skim it and they read the headlines. It is a very common habit that can make us lose approximately a half hour of work. Keep in mind that there will always be at least some news that will interest you and that you will want to read completely. Try to avoid it. You can look at the news during your break (these days you can do it with your cell phone easily) or when you get back home. Although it is very important to be informed, it is also important to fulfill the obligations of your job and manage the time in your workdays correctly.
- Social Media Networks. They are your worst enemy. And you know it. Prohibit yourself from using Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other social networks. Firstly, because they will lower your productivity considerably. Secondly, because it is unprofessional and you can end up causing an argument. Thirdly, because you are an adult: if you are at work, you should work. If you really would like to respond to that Tweet or look at vacation photos from your cousin on Facebook, wait until you have some free time.
- The basic necessities. They are necessities, but they are also the perfect excuse to take a ten minute bathroom break, and in the end, you lose a half hour. Before sitting down and starting to work, try to go to the bathroom and take care of your other needs first. Getting up every thirty minutes to get a glass of water will make you lose time: get a big bottle before you sit down and start working and you will have solved the problem.
- Co-workers. They are also time thieves. It is important to get along well with your coworkers, but getting along too well will make you become less productive. If you want to explain to a coworker about the last argument that you had with your brother or the last dinner that you had with your mother in law, wait until you are outside of the office to do it. Having drinks or appetizers after work is an ideal time to talk about non work-related issues.
- Your cell phone. Cell phones have become an extension of our arms. It is a very useful but dangerous tool. Leave it in a drawer, your purse, or your backpack. On silent (if you are not awaiting an important call). If you leave it on top of your desk and you are checking it every ten minutes, this will stop you from concentrating and you will lose continuity with the activities that you are doing.
- Work related phone calls. Establish a schedule for talking to your clients on the phone. If they interrupt you every ten minutes, you will never be able to finish that report that you have to do. Continuity within your activities is crucial for being productive.
- Bosses. “Excuse me, do you have a minute to talk about something?” Sometimes bosses think you are always available, that you can always spare a minute that turns into a half hour. Say no. If you are in the middle of an activity and you want to finish it, ask them if they could wait a little while. Maybe it will not be a problem. Ask in a polite way, and explain your reasoning.
- Instant messaging. Forget about Whatsapp, Facebook Messaging, Gmail chat, and all types of instant messaging. Just like Social Media Networks, they can turn into our biggest enemies. Communicating through instant messaging (including with colleagues from work) will only cause you to lose time. Try to talk on the phone within the office if you have something important to talk to someone about. Of course, you also should not chat with people outside of the office. You should be working at work.
There are many time thieves that can hinder our productivity during our work hours. And now that you have identified them, you do not have any excuses. Do not let your cell phone, the news, or Social Media put your professionalism in question. Work in an efficient and productive way, always finish your assigned tasks and you will notice that you leave work more satisfied.