Procrastination can be a tricky habit to identify. After all, you feel busy, but constantly struggle to meet deadlines — often, because you're filling up your time with non-essential tasks. By figuring out how to stop wasting time at work, you can increase productivity and feel more accomplished at the end of each day.
Organize and Prioritize
If you're trying to stop wasting time in the office, the first step is to get organized. Make a list of everything you need to get done. Then, rank the items in order of importance. An orderly list makes it easy to identify your top priorities — that way, you don't waste hours cleaning out your inbox when a deadline is looming.
Create a Schedule
Do you ever find yourself getting lost in a project, spending an entire afternoon on a task that should take 45 minutes? If so, creating a schedule can help you stop wasting time. Each morning, select the most pressing items from your to-do list. Decide how much time you have for each task, and schedule them into your day. Consider setting a timer to alert you when each period is over. This method keeps you on track, helps you work more efficiently and makes it easier to increase productivity.
Identify Top Distractions
Distractions in the office can contribute to procrastination. As you learn to stop wasting time, it's also important to avoid the activities that can break your focus. Engaging in phone or text conversations, surfing the web, engaging in office chatter or responding to casual emails are common culprits. When you're working on a high-priority tasks, do what you can to silence these distractions. Turn off your phone, route calls to voicemail, mute notifications on your computer and shut your door. Help your colleagues respect these boundaries by letting them know that you need distraction-free time until a specific hour. If you work in an open office, ask your boss if you can complete your work at a public library or at home.
Plan for Breaks
Sometimes, procrastination happens when your brain is too overloaded to think clearly. You might find yourself staring into space or reaching for mindless tasks. If you want to stop wasting time, it's important to schedule in time to rest. Take all of the coffee breaks and lunch breaks your company offers, and use the time to relax. Chat with colleagues, go for a walk and step away from digital devices. Even small bursts of downtime help you process and reset, so you can go back to work feeling fresh and focused.
If you procrastinate often, use these proactive steps to get back on track and complete your work. With increased focus and better organization, you can stop wasting time and get more done each day.
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