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7 ways you’re wasting time at the office

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ― Charles Darwin

There’s a lot of time wasted in a working day. And although short work breaks can actually improve our productivity, there are many ways that we are distracted or kept from getting our jobs done during the workday. Check out these 7 ways you’re wasting time at the office and see where you could save some time and energy.


1. Working without enough sleep

Several scientific studies have proved that not getting sufficient sleep negatively affects workplace productivity. Sleeping for fewer than 7 hours on a regular basis will slow you down at the office, even while you’re putting in the same effort. Not only will you be wasting work hours if you are underslept, but you’ll also be making more mistakes while you work – which means even more wasted time in the long run.


2. Facebook and Social Media

In the US, the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day on the site. While the global average is half that, that’s still a lot of time in front of the Facebook feed. Although it’s a fun way to share messages and media, Facebook and other social media sites are a major way that employees waste time at the office. It can be tempting to just open your favorite site for a minute and then fifteen minutes later realize that you’ve been completely sidetracked from work. If you have a Facebook problem, just don’t open it at work. Besides being a time waster, it’s also unprofessional to be scanning your personal news feed at the office.


wasting time at the office


3. Multitasking

Everyone is convinced that multitasking is actually saving them time. The truth is just the opposite. Multitasking splits your attention, making you less focused on each task and more distracted. Multitasking causes more mistakes and extends the overall time it would normally take to finish the tasks at hand.


4. Emails

So much of professional communication is done through emails – which means many people have inboxes that stack up with correspondence constantly. Having emails constantly popping in all day can be very distracting and end up taking more time than an actual in-person conversation or quick phone call. When it’s appropriate, opt for a 30-minute meeting or call instead of 2 days emailing back and forth. Also, it’s a good idea to pick specific times of the day, when possible, to go through emails. That way you’re not distracted by looking at them flow in all day long.



5. A messy work space

Having a messy work station will add more time to your day if you’re constantly having to look for files. This goes for both your actual desktop and your computer desktop. Stay after work for one day to get your workplace and computer organized and it will pay off in the long run.


6. Lack of focus

Being unfocused or unmotivated often slows down otherwise efficient employees. To-do lists and daily goals are a great way to keep your eye on the prize while in the office. Making check marks and crossing tasks off the list also add momentum to what you’re doing.


7. Engaging in too many office conversations

It’s important to have positive and friendly relationships with your colleagues. That being said, the most important thing while you’re at work is your work. Wear headphones if you need to disengage from conversation, or if you can do some work in a private space, take advantage of that opportunity.



Now you know how not to waste time at the office, apply now and boost your career with an international internship!



Photo 1. based on Time, by Laurence Edmondson, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on social media, by Sean MacEntee, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on texting, by Susan Murtaugh, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!