As stated in my July monthly post  Crucial Things I’ve Learnt Through Let’s Talk Talent outlines, “Time is precious… It’s important to take command and to recognise how important it is.”

So, I wanted to investigate further the challenges of balancing time, managing time and taking time to step back and recharge.

 

Over the course of a year, an employee will typically spend approximately 28 days of doing non-work related things during work hours.

According to timetac.com, who investigated the amount of time employees in the UK waste at work, over the course of a year, an employee will typically spend approximately 28 days of doing non-work related things during work hours. Within those 28 days, 7 days are spent on checking personal emails, making personal phone calls and doing online shopping.

Furthermore, according to an annual time wasting at work survey from Salary.com, 89% of respondents admitted to wasting time at work each day. 61% of people according to the survey also reported to waste between 30 minutes to an hour each day. This can have a huge impact for businesses, particularly a small business owner. 30 minutes each day adds up to 2.5 hours a week (assuming they work Monday-Friday), which adds up to 130 hours each year. 130 hours is a substantially long time.

It can be difficult to measure the productivity of a busy working day as we are juggling responding to emails, going to meetings, answering phone calls and other tasks which demand our attention.

With this in mind, there are some brilliant pieces of software to help you focus on one thing at a time.

If you are trying to write a document and need to focus your attention just on the task, take a look at FocusWriter –  TechRadar’s favourite distraction-blocking software. This free word processor is designed to remove all possible distractions to allow you to work without background visual noise.

It utilises a hide-away interface so only a background and a blank page is visible to the user. The intention is to focus solely on your work at hand and not get preoccupied by the email notification you may have just received. This should in turn help you better focus on getting tasks completed as soon as possible and avoid getting procrastinated, which is known to be ‘the thief of time’.

Speaking of which, if procrastination is something you find yourself doing a lot of the time, there is a simple way to deal with it. You can simply ‘eat the frog’. It may sound odd at first, but as Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.”

The meaning behind this is the frog is that one task you have to do, but don’t want to do it, or not motivated to do it. Therefore, you are going to procrastinate to keep putting it off.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to avoid this is just to eat the frog/just do the task, otherwise you’ll end up procrastinating over it the whole day. This way, once the frog is eaten/ task is completed, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and it will make it easier for you to complete other tasks throughout the day.

As I said, “Time is precious…” and it’s about finding and maintaining the balance in your day-to-day lives. You have to find out what works for you.

For instance, if you really want to see how you spend your time on a computer each day, have a look at Spytech. Its purpose is to invisibly monitor all computer usage and internet activity. This monitoring platform allows you to record, see and respond to everything that happens on your computer, helping you to analyse more closely where you spend your time throughout the day.

To keep balance and use your time well, sometimes the oldest ideas are the best – post used to arrive once, maybe twice a day – and yet as soon as an email pops in, we drop everything to read it which is both a productivity killer and a huge distraction.

Inc.com’s article on Time Wasting states that the average employee will check their emails 36 times an hour, a figure I am sure would be higher in an average HR team.

In dealing with this situation, many CEOs set aside multiple windows of time during the day, usually one in the morning and one in the evening, to reach ‘inbox zero’.

Along with email blocks, making lists is also a part of what makes people focus on what really matters. According to Kevin Kruse’s blog on To-Do Lists, 50% of to-do list items are completed within a day, many within the first hour of being written down.

Valuing your time does not just revolve around managing it differently, it’s also about how you spent it. One way in which we all spend it, is sitting down. According to Nilofer Merchant’s Ted Talk on sitting and the importance of taking walks, we spent on average 9.3 hours a day, which is more than the average adult spends sleeping. This lack of physical activity for prolonged periods of time can lead to many physical consequences in the future.

So, to combat this Nilofer suggested ‘walk the talk’. If you have a meeting, take a walk. You can either “take care of your health, or obligations”, so why not do both?

The fresh air can drive fresh & out-of-the-box thinking, which can help you tackle that problem you’ve been struggling (and most likely procrastinating) with sitting at your desk

Taking a walk is also a useful way for taking a step back. Besides the physical benefits, walking when you’re not focussing on anything in particular activates the ‘default mode network’ of our brain, allowing your brain to recover from lots of focus and helps improve creative thinking, part of what helps you value your time.

 

Taking some time out of the day also helps to balance the time spent at work. It is about taking a step back. This allows you to appreciate what is happening right now in the present moment.

Taking some time out of the day also helps to balance the time spent at work. It is about taking a step back. This allows you to appreciate what is happening right now in the present moment. Meditation is one such way this can be achieved.

Based on a study on the effect of the Online Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Be Mindful course where participants participated in meditation practices over a period of time, there was a 63% decrease in depression, 58% reduction in anxiety and a 40% reduction in perceived stress.

With this in mind, the practice of mediation can be a beneficial practice for improving mental and physical health. The act of becoming more present and aware of your thoughts and feelings through mindfulness mediation can help better reduce stress, increase focus and build and improve relationships (Headspace is one such app that follows these practices can help you achieve these outcomes).

Therefore, allowing time for reflection within your work schedule can not only provide mental and physical benefits, but also provides for fresh thinking and being able to bring new insights to the table. These are factors that will inevitably help improve productivity and can help you value your time more than you perhaps used to.

Over the course of a year, an employee will typically spend approximately 28 days of doing non-work related things during work hours. Click To Tweet

 

Are you an HR leader? Take our complimentary Talent Diagnostic Survey which breaks down in detail how you can build, enhance and develop your Talent Management strategy. Upon completion, you’ll receive your own personal report, which we believe will give you the space to step back from your day to day activities, and look at the areas which you want to focus on, but maybe do not have the time to. The survey takes no longer than 5 minutes to complete.