6 Things You’re Doing At Work That Are Killing Your Productivity

Stop doing them. Right now.

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All roads to work completion are fraught with cheap distractions, and it can often be an uphill struggle to stay focused. CareerBuilder has polled more than 2,000 hiring and human resource managers on the greatest productivity killers at work, and here are 6 of the worst.

If you’re constantly stressed out and unable to keep up with your workload, these might just be the culprits.

Texting

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Thanks to smartphones, blazing-fast LTE speeds (and some say emoticons), texting has become second nature to most of us. And unfortunately, so has the compulsion to respond to the deluge of notifications that flood our phones each day. But like all bad habits, this compulsion can be managed. For instance, a fixed time each day can be designated for using your phone at work. Setting those WhatsApp conversations to “mute” during your workday can also minimize unwanted distractions.

Internet

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The Internet is an essential component of modern living, and the bedrock upon which billion-dollar businesses are built. It’s also the world’s largest treasure trove of endlessly fascinating, ultra-accessible time-wasters like this and this. It was hence to no one’s surprise when Salary.com revealed that on an average workday, 64% of working professionals spend time on non-work related websites. Surfing the Internet at work can severely disrupt your rhythm, making it impossible to be productive.

So, if you find yourself clearing your browsing history at work more often that you’d like to admit, it may be time to take stock of how the Internet is killing your productivity.

Gossip

Keeping up with who’s dating who in the office may seem harmless to most, but it can definitely cause a great deal of damage to your productivity. Gossip not only takes your mind off work and disrupts your rhythm, it breeds negative feelings and distrust among co-workers, that can cause a huge drain in office morale, as well as hinder you and your colleagues’ ability to complete your work on time. Gossip also has the tendency to spiral out of control, and come back to bite you when you least expect it, leaving you with fires that take more time and effort than they’re worth to put out.

Gossip can be fun, and can make you feel like you belong to the “in crowd”. But when you find yourself drowning in work and hating your colleagues more than ever, it may be time to stop.

Social Media

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. These are but three of the countless social media platforms that have become firmly entrenched in our hyper-connected lives, and it’s difficult to imagine living without them. Scrolling through photos of your ex-classmate’s honeymoon on Facebook provides a welcome respite from the monotony of work, and can be a useful stress-buster for some. But social media is highly addictive, and if you’re not careful, it might just become a massive timewarp, and cause nothing to be done for the workday.

Email

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How often should you check your email before it ceases to be productive? And which emails should you attend to first? These are the questions that you should ask yourself, if you’re spending more time responding to email than on actual work. In the modern workplace, where Outlook mailboxes are stretched to capacity and instant replies are expected, being email-savvy can mean the difference between a productive workday, and being the last to leave the office.

So how does one become email-savvy, you ask? Be relentless in your organization and prioritisation of email. Fast Company suggests filtering incoming messages, labelling and archiving existing emails, trashing emails as soon as they outlive their usefulness, as well as designating specific times to check your email.

Unscheduled Breaks

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Just five more minutes! It’s only a small extension to our break, why so sensitive? Every little bit adds up, that’s why. In a 2013 study, a 45-minute smoke break each day was equal to an entire week off work every year! So the next time you decide to take extended breaks, remember this startling figure and think of how much more you could accomplish with all that time.

Featured image: Flickr user Alan Cleaver

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