A study in the UK that polled nearly 2000 office workers discovered, on average, they spent a mere 2 hours and 23 minutes a day actually getting work done. The rest of their time was spent on things like browsing social media (an average of 44 minutes) and checking news sites which averaged over an hour each day.
Be honest with yourself. How much time do you spend productively working a day?
You might be thinking, I barely have time for anything—I’m constantly busy! This doesn’t apply to me. But here’s something to think about:
Busy doesn’t mean productive.
Productivity is about meeting goals, completing whole tasks, and continually moving toward the center of your target. Busyness tends to look more like a widespread range of tasks that take up a lot of time but move you no closer to your goal.
Ever spent hours organizing your computer files or cleaning up your email inbox only to realize the day is nearly over and you haven’t completed any hard tasks? Activities like those are important—time spent organizing helps things run smoother in the future—but they should be done in a segmented, reasonable amount of time.
Turn busy into productive
If you find yourself getting bogged down by tasks like these, break your day up into sections and allot a specific amount of time to spend on “busy” tasks. Creating a list or a calendar to keep your schedule from getting overtaken helps keep you accountable and on track.
Take a second look at the time you spend on busy tasks. Is there any way you could turn them into a productive work activity?
If you are one of those people who checks social media throughout the day, think about how you might turn that habit into something work productive. If you’re part of a small business, chances are your company is sending out social media content—this is your chance to comment, like, and share! Engaging with your company’s social media helps build SEO and spread their message. If you are in Sales, you should already be doing this.
If you find yourself reading news sites while at work, why not use this time to read up on your company’s competitors and look for ways your company can fill gaps in available services or improve its own.
Or go on social media and read reviews about your company or its product/services. This is an important part of discovering how your company is being talked about and finding areas where improvements to products/services could be made.
Don’t be your own worst enemy
In the end, if you aren’t willing to take an honest look at your habits at work and take accountability for areas where you’re falling behind, it won’t matter how many articles you read about time management. The first step to becoming more task focused and productive is awareness.
So today, as you go through your work day, follow your working habits with a birds-eye view. At the end of the day, ask yourself what you’re really spending your time on and how you can do better.
Is your benefits broker also a compliance consultant? What about a trusted business partner? Are you confident your policies and processes are doing what they need to ensure that your company—and your employees— are healthy and productive?
Photo by Nomad_Soul