You’re wrong, if you think just attending office every day counts as work.
You’re wrong if you count finishing monotonous tasks as getting work done.
You’re wrong if you think you can hide from your manager all day. Believe me, they know.
And finally, you’re outright immoral if you stretch a one hour task to fill the 9-hour workday.
But wait! Let me explain my gripe …
Now, before you start hurling comments at me (like, “Who are you to give me tips to stop killing time?”), here’s the thing. It’s totally possible that you sincerely don’t believe you’re draining any time in office by doing activities I wrote above.
So, let me ask you this
“Do you think setting up good time management practices is an employer’s responsibility? Or more specifically, a manager’s?”
Well, you’re not alone. A majority of the workforce is with you there.
So, when we need folks taking initiatives to create solutions and stop killing time, the crowd is almost non-existent.
In fact, every office has that infamous lot whose only job is to kill office time. You know these folks – the ones who always try hiding in plain sight from the manager. But if you can’t point them out, sadly, you’re one of them.
Stop killing time! Ok, but who else is killing it?
Apart from time-wasting champs, a majority of other employees can’t manage their work hours too. But for them, it’s an honest mistake.
These guys are guilty of only one major crime – No impulse control. Whatsoever!
But if you can resist the lure of Facebook or Instagram, if your email doesn’t kill your attention span, if you come out of a meeting gaining new insight, if your thick skin can save you from stupid office-gossipers, and if you hate taking part in office politics – I think I made a mistake pegging you as the wrong one. You can stop reading now.
Rest of you, keep reading for help. The tips I’ll introduce in a bit, not just help you stop killing time. They’ll also boost your productivity, concentration, and make you faster so you meet deadlines every time with a smile.
1. Shift the focus of Rewards
This is an effective way to get rid of a bad habit. All it takes to change a habit is breaking the loop.
See, every habit has 3 phases – A cue, a routine, and a reward.
- So when triggers(cues) for time wasting activities enter your head, you should be able to instantly recognise it.
- Once you’re sure that a habit, say, “A beer every night with a colleague,” is actually a false cue hiding as “socialising/networking”, you can easily avoid it.
- Taking your active thinking forward, it’s now time to reward yourself for an activity that’s opposite of, “A beer every night with a colleague”. Nature or size of reward doesn’t matter, as long as it gives you satisfaction.
Now, repeat it until this habit system replaces the older one and you’re set.
2. Work hour ≠ Stealthy distraction checking time
Let’s assume you work for an hour, but you are not effective. You waste at least half an hour. That’s just 50% efficiency.
Now, if you can’t find a reason why you lost half hour to “nothing”, have a look at your cellphone. We check our cellphones in the middle of meetings, operations, or what have you. In many ways, a cell has become an extension of our bodies today.
And this should worry you. A great deal!
So, to beat the inefficiency and get real work done, carve out hours separate from all sources of distractions.
For instance, don’t touch your phone during a window of 50 minutes when you work. Set aside 10 mins to read, check notifications, and reply to everyone.
Benefit? Distractions can’t creep up on you since you’ve locked them in a 10 min window.
3. Fall in love with your work!
Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? You can’t try in love! You either do or you don’t, right?
If you’re smart about how you approach your work, it’s challenging, and the rewards you can potentially reap, you’ll be hooked on your work in no time.
Actually, work=stress for most of us in India. And that’s the reason widespread myths such as “travelling to find your passion” have gained popularity. So, what gives?
Well, the secret element that has to change for your unparalleled productivity is – You.
Not a place. And definitely not other people.
Finally, since a job can’t text ‘I love you’, ask yourself, “Is this what I want or need to be doing right now?” throughout the day. Drop anything when you hear no.
4. Measure everything. And then analyse it.
This is one of the best ways to deal with time management. The simple concept behind it – if something is measurable, you can improve it.
Start by determining every step in your schedule in detail. Even if it is tiny or seems immaterial. For instance, if you make to-do lists for your daily work, write the tasks down the previous night.
Then shift the tasks on the basis of their priority on the list so the most important is on top and the least at bottom on. Plus, always mention the amount of time you plan to take for every task. B
Once the schedule is ready, it is time for actually following it. That means, getting down to do the task.
Pro tip: You can monitor your whole web activity with just an app (like this one). And if you don’t really trust yourself, ask a colleague to oversee you and warn you when a deviation of the schedule occurs.
5. Bring back the Teams/Groups
We’re all human beings and it is normal sometimes to get bored after repeating the same task for hours at office.
So, teaming up comes in handy at this point.
The selling point is – if you can’t do a task or get bored with another, simply switch with a team member. There is no productivity loss, no time killing.
But there’s one concept in grouping that removes its last straws of uncertainty. And that is – learn that “Where you’re needed” is not the same as “Where you can help”.
And that was all the wisdom you need to stop wasting our only true wealth – time. It doesn’t matter if you’re brilliant as hell, don’t pay respect to time, your most wishes, like ‘a promotion’, will remain a dream. Now stop killing time reading this. Go and start applying the principles in life.
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