Don’t we all wish there were more hours in the day… more time for work and leisure?
But it seems that there just aren’t enough. We cram our days and come home exhausted, if you’re a business owner it may seem as though work never really ends.
We get into bed already dreading the imminent sleep deprived state we’ll be in tomorrow. You didn’t have time to go the gym, you didn’t buy milk and still haven’t popped past the post office. You feel like you barely have enough time to take care of yourself, let alone pay attention to family and friends.
Most surveys indicate that on average about 60% of us admit to wasting at least 30-60 minutes per day. Most experts believe that the reality is most of us waste about 2 hours a day recovering from a myriad of distractions. Per week, that is up to 10 hours of daydreaming and distractions. Per month that’s up to 50 hours of work. Per year that is a 520 hours or work. If you work a standard 9-5 job… then that is a staggering 65 days of paid work doing absolutely nothing.
This is definitely most daunting to employers, who are paying workers for wasted time. As an employee this news may also be shocking, to think what you could be achieving during these 65 days…
Why do we waste so much time? We can blame the types of distractions available to us, primarily the internet. But why are we so easily distracted in the first place…?
The average Australian gets about 6 hours of sleep per night, when we should be getting about 7 to 9 hours. It may not seem like a big deal, many of us can seemingly function with about 4 or 5 hours per night.
But what happens when we’re sleep deprived? Firstly, our behaviour is altered. We become more aggressive, anxious, short-tempered, depressed, cranky, and unable to regulate our emotions. This is particularly bad if you are an employer, or work in customer service.
You’re unable to do your job effectively, you become forgetful, bad at problem solving, have limited creativity, and it hinders your ability to grasp certain concepts and tasks. Also, during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, our brains stores long term memories. Meaning that a lack of sleep not only makes you far less capable of actually doing your job, it also greatly minimises your ability to retain the knowledge you gained.
It also impacts your ability to concentrate on tasks and avoid distractions… so it seems this would be one of the main culprits of wasted time in the workplace…
So from the beginning we are far from functioning at our peak. You probably skip breakfast and quickly down your cold cup of coffee in a futile attempt to perk yourself up.
At this point we go about our day, restless and hazy.
So how can you become more productive during your day so that you work more efficiently? Besides obviously getting more sleep…
Firstly, organise your surroundings. We waste so much time searching for files and notes, attempting to find the misplaced white-out or scrummage for a paperclip. Having your space organised, means you can spend your time productively instead of wasting time attempting to find order in an organised mess every day.
Make a list for what you have to do for the day ahead. Your mind wont so preoccupied with all the tasks you haven’t gotten through yet, and you can focus on the task at hand. Tick each task off, you’ll find you’re more motivated. You can see what you’ve actually completed each day and you’ll feel accomplished. You can also see if throughout the day you aren’t working as much as you think you are, or you’ll be surprised by the amount of work you plough through each day.
Lastly… get off your phone! We are constantly bombarded with emails, texts, voicemails and more. Unless they’re business calls, or particularly urgent… then put your phone aside. Usually if these means of communication are even business related at all, they can usually wait. Try not to check your phone any more than a half our interval. This way you can adequately respond to necessary messages, but know you don’t have to be concerned with it when you’re trying to complete a task without distractions.
The saying ‘time is money’ is without a doubt based on an indisputable truth. How your time is spent, and how efficiently… is indicative of the productivity and ultimately the success of your business.