Workplace Time Wasters – Just Sign Out of Chat!


We all do it at work: procrastinate, read email, stay in touch with friends, and attend seemingly-endless meetings.

Welcome to the Workplace Productivity-Killers. There are three activities that we routinely do as part of our workday:

  1. Read email
  2. Use social media
  3. Go to meetings
  4. They also take up way too much time. So how can you still utilize these business tools and be productive?


    Don’t let an inbox full of email dictate the start of your day. Many of us compulsively open and respond to every message that we can.

    Stop it! Instead, schedule three times during the day to scan your email for items that need your immediate attention. Respond as needed, but have a time limit.

    When replying, think twice before clicking that “Reply All” button. Who really needs to see this information? Don’t leave anyone out who should be in the loop, but your whole office doesn’t need to know about the sandwich you’re ordering for lunch.

    Social media

    It’s OK, you can admit you’re on Facebook way more than you should be. It’s addictive to see what our buddies are doing. Social media can also be a great tool for work, but like email, it can be a productivity “black hole” – before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour.

    Deal with the distraction head-on. Acknowledge that social media can be a time-suck and set a time limit, or only use it during your lunch break. And please — turn off the chat feature. If you use social media for work, focus your time and energy where it matters.


    I don’t know many people who believe meetings are critical to the success of doing our jobs, but they are sometimes necessary. Decide if you really need to have a meeting or if a few emails or phone call will do. If your presence isn’t actually needed, perhaps declining a meeting invitation and getting work done at your desk is more productive. Schedule meetings at the beginning of the day if possible and keep them short – 15 to 20 minutes. Having a firm end time helps you prioritize to fit everything in during the period allotted.

    Part of mastering the art of avoiding the Workplace Productivity-Killers is in taking back control over your time by being more aware of how you’re using it. You can still squeeze in a few tweets…

    Which of these three is the biggest time-suck in your day?

    Photo credit: Bradley Gordon