|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
Let’s face it, we all waste time. Whether we are at work or on our own time, we waste a lot of time doing things that are time consuming and really serve no purpose other than keeping you busy doing nothing. In today’s high tech world, we try to relieve our down time or boredom with browsing the internet or playing electronic games when in fact, we could be doing something productive.
The downside to this kind of behavior is the clear fact that while we are wasting time, we can’t focus on what really needs to be done. Based on business assessments and informal surveys conducted to detect wasteful efforts, it is estimated that the average employee wastes approximately anywhere from 5 percent to almost half a day, if they were to self-report their activities honestly and openly. Unless you are one of these self-motivating or high-energy driven employees, there are those who do this deliberately and not deliberately. Some are wasting hours of the day without even realizing they are doing it.
Thus, this article is about raising your awareness that you are wasting time. In order to do so, we must track down the roots of your behaviors and correct those discrepancies. Although some tasks may be necessary, there are better ways of performing or planning them and that’s the focus here.
The first thing on the list is your daily rituals of preparing for the job or task assigned. Do you make it a point to conduct small talk or chat or gossip before work starts? Are your rituals so set on habit that you actually waste your time driving out of your way to and from work or even shopping? Are you easily distracted and take too many breaks when you are supposed to be working?
Distractions are a major cause for loss of time, productivity and are rarely justified to delay your work responsibilities. If you carry your iPhone with you at work, the access to the internet is a major factor of distractions as it gives you instant access to browsing, games, emails, etc. and should be eliminated to reduce your wasted time.
In an attempt to better manage your time you need to become a better communicator and spend less time with drawn out conversations either face to face or on the phone and shorten your emails. Being long winded or writing lengthy emails does not improve productivity and often distracts the others of what your message really means. Keeping it simple is the best way to communicate.
The old adage of “we have always done it this way” shows a refusal to adapt to new habits or standards. Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something different can change your productivity and reduce the time spent doing it the old way. Be open to advice or criticism from others. Allow them to give you hints or tips to do it a different way and see if that works for you.
Good time management includes working on the right priorities. Making efforts to maximize your productivity means addressing the most important issues first and spend more time on these rather than the lower rated ones. At the end of the day, you should have completed those prioritized and leaving the less important to be handled the next day with a new priority list. Categorize and prioritize your workload and be more effective.
Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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