Every leader and employee knows that the number of sources of distraction can be infinite. Beautiful weather behind the window, striking news in the online press, email from the girl you’ve recently met, uncomfortable chair, clutter, private worries, existential nausea… Have you ever wondered how all these things affect your efficiency? Trust me, you really don’t want to know.
Time vampires at work – what do we waste time on?
There are so many things that distract your attention from work tasks, but those special three are princes among time thieves.
1. Time-wasting websites. Main villains we should blame for not-working. According to a Salary.com survey, 64% of employees use the Internet for private purposes. In this group, about 21% admit to visiting non-work websites 5 hours per week. It means their employers pays them daily for one hour of non work-related activity. One hour? Doesn’t sound bad, if employee is good – you may think. But when you multiply for number of working days in a year… God, then your waste is not such harmless. According to Salary.com survey, most comon Web Time Vampires are: social media, online shopping, information and entertainment services.
2. Extracurricular breaks own the second place on the podium because they cause many undesirable situations. Employees often complain about lack of challenge and incentives. Painful truth is, brains of most people are some kind of lazy, and when they are not properly “pushed”, they see no reason to get overworked. When your tasks aren’t ordered, and responsibility is low, cigarettes, coffee, fourth lunch and news reading seem much much more engaging than working, don’t they?
3. Colleagues. Hell is other people, wrote Jean-Paul Sartre once upon a time. It sounds very pessimistic and it’s not always true, but when we talk about stealing time, it makes a big sense. People lose plenty of time at work, having little chats, discussing unimportant stuff and talking on the phone on and on.
Why do we get seduced?
Frederick Herzberg, an American psychologist, in his world-famous publication One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees? mentions main reasons why we don’t focus on our tasks. It’s so called Motivator-Hygiene theory. It’s about two factors, which makes employee feel comfortable and motivated.
Hygiene factors – contains all aspect of fine fettle in workplace: from toilets tidiness to fair salary and safety during working.
Motivator factors – when employee feels comfortable, those second factors appears. It’s about the highest level of psychological needs – self-actualization. As Hierarchy of needs’ creator, Abraham Maslow have said, What a man can be, he must be – this factor is about realization of person’s potential. According to that, motivator factor involves potential for promotion, recognition and biggest responsibility to employee.
If both these factors are respected, temptation of time vampires will not be a problem, no matter how attractive they are.
How to defend against time vampires?
Avoiding time vampires can be difficult and very demanding, but this effort is totally worth-while.
1. Think about yourself. Thinking of a success of your company as source of personal happiness is noble and idealistic, but it doesn’t work in real life. Try to think of your tasks as the challenges which lead you to win and being satisfied, and about time vampires who want you to fail.
2. Be assertive. You have no obligation to talk to colleagues exactly at work. There are a lot of nice places outside workplace, where you can socialize as much as you need.
3. Say “farewell” to Facebook… and also to Twitter, Amazon, Youtube and all these things, which are not related to your current tasks. They only procrastinate things, you need to do anyway.
4. Take a break only when you really need to. Creating fake causes of not-working are not a solution…
At the end, pinch of moralization. Look at it this way: avoidance of duty is an escape, nothing more. Stop escaping and do your job! Carefully, honestly and enthusiastically. It’s a big part of your life, so take it seriously. It may be hard at the beginning, but after that you will be satisfied. Believe it or not, there’s nothing more pleasing than going a straight way.