How Much Time Do We Actually Spend Working at Work?
Whenever you find yourself scrolling down the newsfeed on your social media accounts or checking the latest trends and gossip online while at work, you shouldn’t feel guilty or stressed out. In fact, your colleagues around you have probably spent the same amount of time being non-productive and taking little breaks browsing the web. Even though it may sound outrageous to some of you managers and employers reading this, this happens every day in the real world and something that should be expected.
Employees are humans and humans are not wired to work non-stop for eight to ten hours a day without losing their focus or concentration. Since work requires being productive in order to obtain results, the outcome will always depend on the employee’s input. However, being productive for a prolonged amount of time, without any breaks or distractions is clearly impossible. So, working without any breaks shouldn’t exceed 45 minutes of intensive work. After working for 45 minutes, take at least a five minute break to do something which is not work-related. This short break is crucial in order to continue working effectively and productively throughout the day!
However, when you work in an office, there are many distractions and the initial 45 minutes of work might get disrupted, starting with your colleagues, the interesting content online, texting and calls that you are tempted to make and endlessly checking your email to taking cigarette breaks. Some of these activities can be avoided while others cannot and need to at least be limited so they don’t become a problem.
Studies have found that the average employee works effectively for three hours out of their eight hour work day! Well, even though this may sound strange and outrageous to many of you, the statistics speak for themselves. Once you get a grip of reality, you may be asking yourself whether it is worth spending that much of your time at work while you are being productive for less than half of it? If you feel discouraged, then you should look into the things that take up your time and are your biggest distractors. Writing down everything that you regularly do at work, while identifying those activities that are not part of the work that you should be doing, will give you clear insight into what really soaks up your energy and your time as well. Whenever you catch yourself spending too much time on social media or something that isn’t work related, you should start to set limits to those activities because that is the only way to finish your tasks before the deadline.
Statistics show that employees waste most of their time on emails that require no response and team conference calls or meetings which are purposeless and unproductive. For more engagement, sometimes the boring meetings and calls should be made more efficient by reducing the length and scheduling them only when something worthwhile or urgent needs to be dealt with, rather than simply keeping a routine. Even though team meetings and gatherings may seem like a productive thing to do, they can be a waste of time which will leave only a few hours for you to do real work.
To work more effectively, you should tackle the most difficult tasks first, finish your tasks for the day, do not spend a lot of time checking your mail, do make frequent but conscious breaks and be sure to limit the time you spend on time wasters such as leisurely activities, responding to unnecessary emails, calls and meetings.
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