Wasting Too Much Time at Work? Here’s How to Reclaim Lost Time

In the past years, many have dreamed about the idea of working from home: no more office drama, annoying boss or colleagues, and dispiriting hours of commutes. Nothing feels better about having some quiet time while working in a private, personal space right in your home.

Fast forward to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of employees around the world to transition to remote work with little to no preparation. The new work plan was refreshing for most employees, believing it will help them achieve the work-life balance they always wanted. But as remote work went on for months, employees gradually noticed the downsides of working away from their office spaces. Working from home is becoming a nightmare for those who can’t use their time wisely.

For years, companies have studied ways to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Others have developed a time study software program to help companies better track how their employees spend their time at work.

Procrastination is now a huge concern among remote workers. They end up wasting time that seriously endangers their overall productivity. Without the watchful eye of their bosses, employees end up easily distracted and aimless. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to help employees avoid spending time while working from home. Take note of these tips to avoid getting trapped by time-sucking culprits!

Organize your distractions (and thoughts)

No person can hold their focus on any task for a long time, even for a full 10 seconds. So don’t be hard on yourself if your mind keeps wandering, no matter how you want to keep it sharp. There are many people, particularly remote employees, who are always perpetually distracted during work hours.

While distractions have a bad rep in the world of business, they’re actually helping our brains by giving us time to re-focus and re-organize. The secret lies in how you prevent them from dominating and defining your work time.

Creating a plan helps manage these everyday distractions. Set the timer for quick breaks to give your brain some breathing space. Breaks should also include lunch preparation, time with the pets or kids, or a quick outdoor trip for a little dose of sunshine.

You can also create bulleted lists about your thoughts and unfinished tasks that clutter your mind. A bulleted list is a great way to organize mental clutter and free up your mental space for things you should remember.


Learn when to say no

We have a habit of going in different directions when working. Commitments are everywhere, where we tend to accommodate everything at once. If you’re a diligent worker, you likely have the urge to accept random requests from your colleagues and do them perfectly. Saying yes to everything easily hampers productivity.

We don’t have to agree to everything to satisfy the people around us. The more tasks we accommodate, the less time to spend on important matters. Thus, it’s perfectly understandable to tell your colleague to assess your current load first before committing to anything, and it’s also acceptable to reject unreasonable demands. After all, it’s wrong to accept tasks assigned to someone else if you’re already dealing with a lot of work.

Knowing how to turn down requests can be difficult. That’s why you have to create a strategy about saying no in the most tactful way. Instead of giving an outright no, tell them about your tasks at hand and a list of your priorities to show how busy you are and why it’s impossible to accommodate requests.

When it comes to personal obligations, ask yourself questions. Does everything have to be a top priority or simply accomplish it at any time? Are there any non-negotiable tasks? Evaluate which of those tasks you can eliminate or delegated. Knowing the nature of your responsibilities will help you prioritize and organize.

Design your workflow

Design your workflow instead of simply managing it. If your obligations are never-ending, evaluate how you’re prioritizing and organizing your work. It’s easy to get distracted by the smallest things, from meetings, emails, and quick errands, and including them on your to-do list is the perfect recipe for work burnout.

Streamlining work processes by dividing your tasks into categories: business operations, transactional tasks, representative tasks, and people development. You can also use a workflow management tool to sort tasks according to priority.

It’s all right to have cheat days once in a while, but if it’s hindering your quality of work, then it’s time to put yourself together. As remote work becomes the new norm, employees need the flexibility to make things work for them in these uncertain times. Following the suggestions above will help draw the line between work and personal life.

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