You waste a lot of time at work.
Sorry to start off that way, but it's true. Just because you are at work, doesn’t mean you’re getting work done. And it is costing you. We call it opportunity cost; the cost of time you could have spent doing something else. From reading e-mails to daily office distractions, social media and whatever else life sends your way, there's a price.
You are not alone. Excessive email’s, pointless meetings & constant interruptions, these things never end. So let's talk about them.
#1 - Emails
According to a blog from atlassian.com: 304 weekly emails received on average. The employees surveyed checked their email 36 times in an hour. About 16 minutes, is spent refocusing after handling incoming email, increasing the cost. 10 IQ Points can even be lost when fielding constant email, the same as missing an entire night’s sleep… Yikes!!! Annual productivity cost per employee: $1250 spam, $1800 unnecessary emails & $4100 poorly written communications. That's $7,150 total.
#2 - Meetings
Most salaried employees attend 62 meetings of various scales (yes, this includes talking to your boss about his fishing trip). ½ of the meetings can be considered “time wasted”, totalling 31 hours spent in unproductive meetings over a month. 91% of people in a meeting, daydream, while 39% sleep, 45% feel overwhelmed, 73% do other work and 47% complain that meetings are the #1 time-waster at their office. It's estimated that there's a $37 Billion salary cost of unnecessary meetings for U.S. businesses altogether. A lot of this wasted time can easily be fixed by planning meetings properly and following a set agenda.
#3 – Interruptions
The average employee is interrupted 56 times a day. This average employee needs two or three minutes to switch gears after an interruption to their work. So two hours a day can be spent just recovering from interruptions, not even counting how long you actually handle them. 80% of interruptions at work are considered trivial, and often annoying.
60% of work time is actually spent productively. So how do you fix it? First of all, you should really consider what time wasters are a problem. We don't advocate an Orwellian workplace in which you only ever look at one task at a time, and meetings are rushed with no chance for small talk. Work shouldn't be miserable.
But if you want to make more money, clear your to-do list faster and, with any luck, have more free time that you can spend the way you want, you should pay attention to how you actually spend your time now. In a lot of cases, simply planning out your day, meetings and tasks included, will make you much more efficient. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with useless emails, consider filtering work contacts so you can prioritize and not check every single thing that comes in. Really think through your routine, and figure out what it's lacking. Everyone has room for improvement.
It's also good to remember the basics: sleep enough, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Your healthy self is you at your best, and no job is worth sacrificing that for in the long term.
Sources and Further Reading:
Email Stat Counter: http://emailstatcenter.com/Usage.html
University of California: http://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/Home_page/Research_files/CHI%202012.pdf
Microsoft Research: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/horvitz/chi_2007_iqbal_horvitz.pdf
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4471607.stm
Verizon Business: https://e-meetings.verizonbusiness.com/global/en/meetingsinamerica/uswhitepaper.php
Effective Meetings: http://www.effectivemeetings.com/meetingbasics/meetstate.as
Key Organization Systems: http://www.keyorganization.com/time-management-statistics.php