Tips to Cut Down on Office Time Wasters

“The trouble is, you think you have time”…powerful and poignant words, my favorite of all the fake Buddha quotes – deep stuff the enlightened one never said. Of course what he would have meant by this is that the one unifying constant in all of our lives is time slipping away…and that’s doubly true on the job. Efficiency is an industry because organization is hard; lack of it has given lots of us the opportunity to update our resumes.

 

There are hysterical ways to burn the corporate clock when you want to…duct taping the height adjuster on a coworkers chair or mismatching their shortcut icons…both classics and hilarious but what’s funny about losing ten minutes looking for an email?

 

Throw in a little managerial pressure and the typical workday stress and you’re cooking up the kind of frenetic exasperation that begins with mumbled nonsensical expletives and soon escalates to a Griswold karate chopping reindeer outburst that honestly is a level of crazy you don’t want to parade at the office.

 

No Laughing Matter

Today’s workplace is about technology and technology is both our greatest tormentor and savior. If you’re in sales, project management or any business with customers there are moments when it’s game-on. Your reputation and earning potential ride on how efficiently you handle your business.

 

Practical jokes aside, wasting time at work is no laughing matter. Data from Salary.com reveals that not only do people waste time, the problem is getting worse. In 2013, 69% admitted to goofing off. By 2014, that number was up to 89%…and the time they wasted got longer. In fact, 4% of workers said they waste half the day or more.

 

How is Employee Time Wasted?

Much of it is spent chatting and texting – on the phone, with co-workers or on social media. That eats up a lot of time. Then there’s surfing the web, snack or smoke breaks, distraction from other people being noisy (also known as eavesdropping), meetings, and email.

 

Finding Solutions

Workers waste time when they don’t feel valued at their jobs, or their jobs are boring. Start by finding positive ways to motivate your staff. Get creative and have some fun with it.

 

Your employees want to be empowered. They want to contribute ideas, make decisions, and have a voice in company direction. They will appreciate flexible scheduling and the opportunity to work from home when they have a sick child.

 

We’re all global now, so does it matter that an employee does his best work in the evening or early morning when it’s quiet, and likes to take afternoons off or come in to the office at noon? Allowing them to choose their own workday means you’ll get peak performance and they won’t be distracted by a doctor’s appointment or school play they’re afraid they’ll miss.

 

Working out flextime means you have to ensure you have enough people in the office at all times, but don’t worry. Many people are perfectly ok with 9-5 most of the time. You’ll be able to work something out. Even offering special occasion trade-offs is valuable.

 

Giving Them the Proper Tools

The first and second points on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are “be proactive” and “begin with the end in mind.” There is software tailor-made to help you do just that.

 

Customer relationship management software, or CRM, is designed for the sole purpose of making you better at what you do, so it definitely increases productivity. A good CRM not only manages your contacts and their information but ties any notes associated with a specific client to them. It will boast an integrated calendar and to-do list to keep you organized, and project management software with a financial tool that you can use to manage virtually anything you’re working on.

 

All that efficiency will pad your annual review with praise and put lots of minutes back on your clock. Who knows, you may even save enough time to laminate that official looking legend of voice commands for the office microwave or just wait around the break room for someone to try your complimentary chocolate covered tuna balls.

 

 

The Costs of Job Stress and How to Combat

 

There are certainly a ton of stressors out there that can make life challenging, but job stress likely leads the pack for most of us. The costs of job stress can be deafening. Afterall, you probably spend 40-80 hours working a week, making a living, surrounded by stress .

In the U.S. job stress is the top dog. The stress from your job has a trickle down effect to other facets of your life.

Top 5 Causes of Stress

 

1) Job Pressure

If you ever heard the phrase, “Do more with less” run for the hills. That equals we’re going to work you to the bone, and don’t ask for a penny more.

Other factors causing job stress include bosses who micro-manage or are professional meeting attendee’s. If they’re in your face or you can never find them (if you need them) this can be stressful.

The inability to get along with your fellow employees can certainly increase your stress levels.

Work Overload can generate incredible stress. The kind where you come home at night, fall asleep within an hour, wake up to do it all over again. That schedule can paralyze you after a while.

2) Money

It makes the world go around. It also causes people to go crazy. There never seems to be enough of it for the majority.

This usually relates directly to job stress. I don’t hear many say, “I’m so overpaid” too often. If your perception is you’re underpaid to make ends meet, the stress meter usually lands hard right.

3) Health

If all you do is work and still there isn’t enough money, here come the health problems. Oh, they might not be immediate, but that stress is taking a toll. Eating on the go, not time to exercise, consistently living at 100mph. It’s a recipe for disaster.

4) Relationships

You see where this going. You know it, and you live it. If the three above are in a spiral, your relationships usually suffer immensely. It can take the face of constantly arguing or shutting down.

5) Poor Nutrition

Always on the go is generally associated with poor eating habits. The #5 large with a diet coke, order through the drive thru won’t lead to competing in the Olympics. Eating poorly is the cherry on the top off this stress cycle.

The Google Way

You know them, you love them. You’re company probably doesn’t have a 380 billion dollar market cap, but this how the big boys help their employees deal with stress.

Open physical space for collaboration
Free yoga and pilates classes
Subsidized massages
Your own personal health counselor
Free Food
Fitness Facilities
On-Site Doctors
Laundry Rooms

“You don’t need a lot of money to do what Google has done. If you give people freedom, they will amaze you.”
Laszlo Bock

Well you do need a lot of money, but most large companies could do something close. Most small businesses don’t have anything in place, and they could also set up programs that wouldn’t break the bank. They just have to make it happen.

Google Employee Perks
Photo Source

How Employees Can Reduce Stress

Time Management – Write down what you do for a week. Yes, everything. Then see where you’re spending too much time, or not enough. Create balance and your efficiency will rise.

Have a few go-to people – You need to consistently “get it out” and vent. Having people you trust that will listen and make suggestions is very important. A sounding board if you will.

Eat, Sleep, and Exercise – Find a way to do all three correctly. Limit your eating out, find 15-30 minutes to exercise per day, and get at least 6-8 hours. When these three things are out of whack, your overall stress is amplified.

So are you stressed? What do you do to temper your stress?

 

The Cost of Job Stress
Image source: www.top10onlinecolleges.org

Mental Strength: How?

 

A Forbes article that has gone viral over the past week or so highlights 13 things that people who are mentally tough avoidin order to keep themselves on a positive trajectory. While the article is geared towards a more general audience, I definitely think that these tips can be applied to a business/tech perspective.

Mental Toughness

Are you guilty of not being as mentally tough as you wish you were? I definitely am. While reading the list of things to avoid in the article, I absolutely do some of these things. I can also identify some of these traits in my friends, family members, and coworkers.

Here are a few highlights of things that you shouldn’t do if you want to be mentally tough:

Feel sorry for yourself

When something bad happens, those who are mentally tough rise above. Instead of dwelling on the issue at hand, they either come up with a way to fix the problem or simply move on to the next thing. This includes taking responsibility for your own circumstances and not blaming things on others.

Be afraid of change

Let’s face it, most of us are resistant or hesitant about change. People who are mentally strong tend to embrace change more than the rest of us. While most of us are afraid of the unknown, mentally strong people see change as an opportunity to learn and grow more. Try to see change as a positive. Over time, you’ll be able to adapt your worldview.

Worry about things that are out of your control

This is something that I have had to work on for many, many years. I used to worry constantly about the what-ifs in life. I’ve slowly been able to teach myself that whatever happens, will happen and there’s often not much that can be done about it. Wasting your time thinking about what might or might not happen is not an effective use of anyone’s time. Try to focus on the present moment and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much less cluttered your mind is.

Expect results immediately

Instant gratification sure is nice, isn’t it! But we can’t always expect that we’ll get the results that we want immediately. You know the old saying, patience is a virtue? Well, it’s true in nearly every aspect of life. People who are mentally strong are able to wait to get the results that they want.

So are you mentally strong? Do you possess these qualities? You can see the rest of them in the full article here.

(Photo Source)

Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.