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Workplace Time-Wasters: 5 Tips to Avoid Wasting Time at Work

It is well known that navigating daily work means sidestepping time-wasting landmines. We can all accept responsibility for avoiding classic time-wasters like procrastinating, internet surfing and social media coffee breaks. But there are time-consuming processes built into many company’s operations. What does your organisation need to stop doing?

Below are five solutions for time-wasting processes in your organisation.

setting a times on a smart watch

Tip 1: Workplace Time-Wasters - Meeting Overload

Far too many meetings are unproductive. Unnecessary and disorganised meetings waste the attendees' time and can have cascading time-sucking effects in causing your team to lose focus and momentum.

The Solution: transform your meetings to be optimally productive by:

  • Establish meetings purpose and agenda and share with attendees in advance

  • Carefully select a leader and attendees

  • Set and stick to meeting time limits

  • Stay focused on the agenda and table tangential topics and conversations

  • Encourage participant feedback

  • Clarify takeaways, action items and who has to action what

Tip 2: Workplace Time-Wasters - Multitasking

Many of us fall into the trap of trying to do multiple tasks at once. The truth is that most of us cannot multitask effectively, and when we can, it is confined to our brains going into auto-pilot mode like making toast, coffee and read the news. Research, data crunching, writing and other forms of work requiring complete concentration should not be attempted while juggling other tasks.

In the long run, the split focus leads to mistakes that can eat up more time to correct than whatever perceived time-savings there was.

The Solution: help your team prioritise.

Multitasking is often a symptom of poorly prioritising work. When we look at a lengthy task list and cannot recognise the order of importance, it is tempting to perform tasks in tandem.

Help your team prioritise by encouraging them to use software tools that categorise and calendar tasks. Work with them in identifying responsibilities that are urgent and/or aligned with personal and organisational goals. Achieving this is one of the key solutions for time-wasting processes of all types.

Tip 3: Workplace Time-Wasters - Too many emails

Email revolutionised the way we communicate, but when not used effectively, a black hole emerges that drags us into reading and responding to emails at the expense of performing value-add work. Managers and employees alike complain about email volume and the hours wasted reviewing emails of little importance - an estimated 3.5 hours a week on average.

The Solution: respond to emails at certain times of the day and rely on other communication tools for certain situations.

Attempting to respond to emails as they arrive in your inbox is highly distracting, and so are notifications. Instead, switch off the notifications and designate specific hours for email triage - read, file, and if needed, respond.

Just as importantly, many situations are more suited for other methods of communicating. A quick question to a colleague or a team check-in on a project are better sent on messaging apps. Consider in-person conversations, video chat or meetings to clarify and plan certain projects, rather than hitting send on yet another email that may go ignored by your team.

Learn more: If you want to tame your Inbox and clear some head space, we recommend you also read:

Tip 4: Workplace Time-Wasters - Unorganised Workflow

You likely know what being organised looks like - diligently filing away documents, maintaining task lists, calendaring all work and meetings. There is a good chance that your team is following these principles. So why do tasks fall through the cracks? Why is information lost or unutilised? Why are there miscommunications? In other words, why do you not feel completely organised?

The Solution: establishing team processes that maximise the power of digital organisational and communications tools.

It’s become trivial to say that the modern workplace moves faster than ever before, but is a cliché for a reason. The speed in which events quickly shift, market forces move and disruptions undermine plans requires a superlative level of workplace agility.

Learning all of the nuances of software like Microsoft Suite and incorporating the knowledge into your workflow is a massive asset in staying organised and resilient. Every behavioral improvement you can identify adds up to time savings. Streamlined information-sharing, document collaboration, task tracking and other workflow efficiencies creates the opportunity for your team to be optimally productive.

But, we hear you say, "there are so many tools". Worry not, take a look at our suggestion:

Your Training Solution to Avoid Wasting Time at Work

Now that you know what to stop and start doing, you are likely wondering the best path forward. Yes, you can initiate these changes yourself.

But deeply ingrained routines are difficult to overcome on an individual basis, much less a group one.

This is where having a training partner that is fully committed to helping steer your team towards lasting and measurable behavioural advancements is immensely valuable.

Priority Management has been helping teams realise drastic improvements in their workplace for over forty years. If you want to vent about your Inbox frustrations, your Microsoft Teams headaches, learn to increase your productivity and more, we are ears!


Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.

Click Here to learn more about how Priority can help you and your team Work Smart, develop essential management skills and the competencies to....make life and work better and happier!

This blog has been sourced by Priority Management International and edited by Priority Management London.


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