It is an unpleasant feeling to leave the office at the end of the day and find yourself wondering, “What did I actually do today?” Between work-related time killers — such as managing email and attending meetings — and non-work distractions — such as surfing social networking sites and procrastinating — the workday can fly by without accomplishing much if you don’t pay close attention to time management and personal effectiveness.
OfficeTime.net published a survey earlier this month which asked business owners and professionals how much time they spend on workday productivity killers.
- 47 percent of respondents said email is their biggest time killer (40 percent said they spend an average of 1-3 hours per day managing email)
- 64 percent spend up to 1 hour on social networking sites every day
- 59 percent spend up to 1 hour every day surfing the Internet
- 49 percent spend up to 1 hour every day in meetings
- 34 percent spend 30 minutes to 1 hour procrastinating
Those numbers aren’t exactly encouraging for employers and managers advocating for personal effectiveness in the workplace, but the survey did have some positive news about time management trends:
- 46 percent of respondents said they track their time because it helps their workplace productivity (42 percent said they try to identify how their time is being used, and 31 percent said they want to know where their time is being wasted)
- 42 percent said time tracking helps them supply their clients with better invoicing and helps improve their own revenue
Do a Time Audit for Improved Workday Productivity
Do you know how much time you spend doing each activity during your workday? Spend a week taking notes on how you spend your time (and be honest about the 30 minutes you spent reading reviews of the new Batman movie or the 10 minutes you took to make a personal call). This is just for you, so it only helps if you track your time transparently. At the end of each day, record your time audit in a document on your computer. Read through the document at the end of the week and look for trends.
- What time of day are you most productive?
- What circumstances seem to help or hurt your personal effectiveness?
- On what activities do you waste the most time?
- What systems or situations lead to inefficient use of your time?
- What systems or tools can you implement to have better time management?
How do you track your own time at work? Add your comments.