The Results Are In: “Constant Interruptions” the Biggest Waste of Time

RL05-12-2016In April, we asked our readers to share with us about the biggest waste of their time on a daily basis. And with 21% of the votes, “Constant interruptions by employees/co-workers” was the top choice, followed closely behind by “Reading/replying to email” at 17%, and “Unnecessary meetings” at 15%.

The rest of the results are as follows:

  • General disorganization (9%)
  • Social media/internet browsing (9%)
  • Idle chit chat with co-workers (8%)
  • Micromanaging employees (5%)
  • Last-minute projects (5%)
  • Phone calls/texting (3%)
  • Dealing with personal tasks/errands (1%)
  • Smoke/snack breaks (1%)

Just over 4% of respondent to the poll selected the “Other” option and submitted their own answers, including:

  • Poor communication
  • Bouncing between projects
  • Computer issues
  • Legal red tape
  • Fixing mistakes

Stop the interruptions before they stop you

In any workplace, interruptions are always going to be a way of life. However, there are steps you can take to reclaim your time and get some work done.

Set boundaries – Close your door and make your intentions known—you are in work mode now and can’t be interrupted. If you set clear boundaries and give enough notice to your employees and co-workers that you will be out of hand for a few hours, they may be more apt to give you some space.

Unplug – Of course, if you need to take building your fortress of solitude a step further, try completely unplugging. Close your email, turn off your phone—even your personal mobile phone—basically, make it nearly impossible to reach you.

Get off the grid – Finally, if you need complete confidence that you can’t be found, it may be necessary to leave the office altogether. Whether that means going to a local coffee shop, heading home, or to some undisclosed location nobody knows about but you, find a spot where you are assured total isolation.

What are some ways you waste time at work? What steps have you taken to address them? Let us know in the comments section below.

4 Responses to The Results Are In: “Constant Interruptions” the Biggest Waste of Time

  1. Gail May 18, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    As a floor supervisor, the locked file room is a great place to go for a “working” lunch when needed.

  2. Ted June 7, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    The big question is, what are these people’s jobs. If you are a manager or working with a team, by definition, interruptions are part of the job, not a waste. As part of communication, today, you MUST email and read email. Again, this is an integral part of the job, not a waste of time. Get rid of the emails and these same people will complain how poor communications are. So, 38+% of these, so called. “wastes” are part of the job, if they are removed, your company might as well fire you, because you are near worthless.

  3. Barbara June 13, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    Amidst all the reasons given, have you considered many people may be distracted and/or disengaged because of legal or identity theft issues and don’t know where to turn, or if they do cannot afford them so things get worse?

    For instance there may be child support issues, sickness, bills piling up, and people using work time searching for help. Identity theft is huge, and getting worse. With our plans, Members have access to our attorneys on any personal legal matter.

    In the event of a breach, plan Members are assigned a licensed investigator to manage the situation and restore identity. We do the work.

    Plan Members have 24-7 access to both services in the event of an emergency via app or toll free number.

    My company offers legal and identity theft protection services as a voluntary benefit for companies, and for individual purchase.

    Disengagement, poor performance and low productivity may have more to do with
    matters of the heart and wallet than disinterest in their employment.


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