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10 Ways to Stop Employees from Wasting Their Valuable Time

10 Ways to Stop Employees from Wasting Their Valuable Time

More than 60 percent of workers have admitted to wasting up to an hour of time every workday. There are a variety of reasons that this happens, and some of them are inadvertently caused by the tools that they are given to perform their job. After all, even if someone is actively working on an assigned task, this does not mean that time is not being wasted by a less than desirable setup. The good news is that there are numerous ways to reduce time waste, ranging from keeping employees focused on their job to eliminating work-related time suckers.

1. Keep Meetings Short

The typical meeting is twice as long as it needs to be, and this causes 91 percent of attendees to end up daydreaming instead of focusing on the topics at hand. Therefore, it is critical to make your meetings a more realistic length, and you also need to stop inviting people who do not absolutely need to be there. Take a moment to think about mandatory team meetings and the people who actually attend them. If someone is going to be in a meeting who will not gain any useful information to fulfill their role, then they should not be forced to attend. This combined with shorter meetings will minimize wasted time and help boost productivity.

2. Invest in Proper Tools

The software and other tools that you provide your employees with can either help them excel or drastically hinder their performance. For example, if you are using an outdated point of sale machine, your employees may end up being forced to waste time on getting everything to run properly. On the other hand, modern iOS and Android POS setups such as those offered by mSteamPOS.com are designed specifically to be simple yet powerful tools that anyone can utilize.

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3. Have Notification Free Times

The typical office environment causes employees to spend a whopping 28 percent of their day reading and responding to emails. Although this is a good way to share information, being constantly plugged into emails can actually be the root cause of a lot of wasted time. This is because people tend to automatically respond to each new notification that they receive, whether it is for an email or a comment on their latest Facebook status update. To help combat this problem, you can designate certain notification free times during the workday. Having everyone close their inbox and turn off the notification sound for an hour or so at a time will enable them to pay closer attention to other tasks.

4. Consider Changing Your Schedule Parameters

Have you ever had a specific task to complete in one day that you knew you could finish in four hours but waited until after lunch to focus on? The truth is that many people are motivated by deadlines, and they will also waste any extra time that they receive. To remove this issue, you may wish to consider changing your schedule parameters to encourage speedy and accurate work. When it comes down to it, if people could go home early if their work was performed in a satisfactory manner, many of them would stop wasting so much time. If you actually need to get eight hours out of everyone, you could consider offering rewards for meeting certain faster deadlines.

5. Implement Several Short Breaks into the Day

Surveys have shown that the majority of workers can only focus for one hour or less at a time, so it actually makes sense to offer a five minute break every hour to help purposefully concentrate wasted time. In other words, allowing your employees to goof off for the last five minutes of every hour should help them stay more on task throughout the rest of the day.

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6. Install a Social Media Blocker

Installing a social media blocker can help reduce wastefulness. However, if you leave the blocker in place all the time, employees will simply turn to their cellphones or personal laptops to get their social media fix. A good compromise is to turn the social media blocker off during scheduled breaks or to install a blocker that allows you to input specific time variables. This will give workers some flexibility but will also instill the message that most of their day needs to be productive instead of wasteful.

7. Create a Training Culture

Surveys have shown that approximately 40 percent of employers do not place a major emphasis on training. This is one of the biggest mistakes that your company can make, especially if you want to reduce wasted time on the clock. Consider for a moment how inefficient employees tend to be when they do not have the necessary training to attend to all of their daily tasks. Not only does this reduce productivity but it also causes job satisfaction to plummet. As a result, even well-trained employees will suffer due to the actions of those around them, and your company will lose more time finding replacement employees. You can avoid these problems by creating a training culture.

8. Provide Solid Instructions for Each Task

Most people want to do a good job, but this becomes very difficult if they are not given good enough instructions. In fact, spending a few minutes giving a thorough overview of how a task needs to be completed can end up saving you tons of wasted time in the long run. Keep in mind that each employee has different needs when it comes to instructions. Therefore, repeat instructions when it is necessary and allow other employees to take the ball and run with it after they have exhibited a high level of competency in the desired area.

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9. Tie Goals and Timely Completion into a Bonus Structure

It has been proven that a realistic goal and bonus structure can boost productivity and reduce time waste, so this is definitely something that companies of all types should consider implementing. One study by the Harvard Business School found that quarterly bonuses are more effective than annual ones, and you may even want to look into switching to a monthly structure to get the best results.

10. Utilize Vacation Time and Flextime to Minimize Burnout

Professional burnout can happen for a variety of reasons, ranging from repetitive tasks to constantly working long hours. The good news is that vacation time and flextime can be used to help prevent burnout from occurring. Essentially, you need to make sure that each of your employees has a break every so often because this will be good for their mental and physical health, and it will also make them waste less time when they are on the clock.

Now that you have a better grasp of how to prevent employees from wasting time, it is also wise to give them time management tips that they can put to work in every aspect of their life. Always remember that the training, breaks, bonuses and other tools that you put in place can be instrumental in reducing wasted time and improving employee morale.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

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