5 Tips To Stop Wasting Time At Work

How much time do you usually spend at work? And how many hours are you really working on tasks? Considering numerous meetings and the solution of technical issues, not to mention the discussion of quite extraneous topics and watercooler talks, the 8-hour working day is sharply reduced to 4-5 hours of productive work. And this is according to the most optimistic estimates! How could project managers prevent this waste of time? In fact, there are a few simple rules, compliance with which could significantly reduce your number of broken deadlines and failed projects.

Wasting time

1. Avoid unnecessary meetings

According to The Muse, managers spent about 35 – 50% of their time on meetings. Such wastefulness annoys all members of the team, and over time, employees begin to find all sorts of excuses and pretexts to avoid them. This makes already useless meetings even less productive. Appreciate your time and time of your employees - reduce the number of meetings to those that are really necessary. The next time you are going to call a meeting, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is the goal of this meeting? If you just need to spread some information, won't it be easier to use email or another communication channel instead of a real-time live conversation? Likewise, if you only need to schedule or distribute tasks, can this be done with a project management tool you team uses? The only valid purpose of meetings should be to discuss and make team decisions, but even in this case it's not always reasonable to hold a meeting.

  • Are you ready for the meeting? Do you have all the necessary data to solve pressing problems immediately, without organizing additional meetings later? Or is this "a meeting for the sake of the meeting"? If so, postpone it until the moment when it will make sense.

  • Do we really need to gather all those people to cope with it? Of course, a team often should have a general idea of what happens next door, but they don't necessarily have to spend time on all the details and discussions. An appropriate project management tool can tell them enough about occupancy of the rest of their team. Instead, it would be more efficient to plan a short one-on-one conversation or a meeting with some particular involved employees.


2. Keep balance in communication

Communication is another ambiguous thing in the workflow organization. Being always in touch is a great way to stay an ideal colleague, but don't forget about your own duties. Constant distraction to conversations in all possible work chats, reading emails, checking multiple messengers in case of "there may be something urgent" can seriously affect your own productivity. Use appropriate means of communication depending on the situation, distribute chats according to their purpose, set up notifies so that to immediately respond to emergencies, but do not get distracted by idle chatter.

3. Encourage self-reliance

How much time do you spend planning and estimating tasks? Let your employees make own decisions within their area of responsibility, rather than coordinating each action with you or someone else. Proper distribution of roles and duties will not only increase the flexibility of project management and the independence of individual teams, but also significantly reduce time spent on bureaucratic issues. Develop responsibility and determination in your employees, and over time they will require less control, working almost autonomously on their tasks.

4. Automate your workflow

Proper project management and collaboration tools could simplify the workflow and free your team from some routine tasks. Artificial intelligence for accurate task estimation, automated time tracking, bots for constant notification and tracking the progress and so on - all these options let you stay aware of the whole project state without frequent interference in the work of your colleagues. Modern technologies work wonders, but even simple and long-known applications in the right hands will allow you to avoid unnecessary mistakes and reduce risks. Moreover, using of proven methodologies also saves you from unnecessary questions in the process of work - all team members will know what and when to do, so you won't waste time on organizational issues.

5. Look for the golden mean

Poor communication and lack of control can be as dangerous, as constant chatter and excessive bureaucracy. Extra meetings distract from work, but bring your team closer together and improve teamwork as a result. Using familiar tools and methodologies sometimes makes it difficult to see the best solution for a new problem. Each project and team may require a special approach, and managers always have to balance between the limited resources, such as time and people, and the desire to do everything well.

Learning from the examples of other companies is good, but there are no identical work conditions and unified means of collaboration, look for your own rules and share them with us.


Riter development team