How can you improve your time management skills?

You are busy working. You know you have to get this file ready in the next couple of hours for it to be delivered to the client, without violating the deadline. Suddenly, something pops up on your computer screen: It’s an email notification. For the time being, your instincts take over. You click on the notification to see who has sent you the email. And while you’re at it, you click on the email to open it and read its contents. That little pop of distraction has now turned into an interruption! Naturally, after reading the email, you’re obliged to reply to it—that is, if it’s an important email. Soon you realize, there are other unread emails in your inbox as well. The interruption turns into a complete—albeit temporary—dissociation from work. And yes, in the end you were able to sort it all out, getting back to work… … getting back to work... You don’t remember where you were. You have been temporarily knocked out!

The Actual Cost of Workplace Distractions

Situations like these characterize our routine office life. Sometimes, these distractions are in the form of email, a call or a message on your mobile, while at other times a gentle tap on your shoulder from your colleague - asking you to join in for a 5-minute microbreak. But the promised spans of these distractions, hardly ever prove to be so—the actual cost of workplace distractions is so much more. In fact, according to a study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of California Irvine, the cost of a single workplace distraction amounts to a total of 23 minutes and 15 seconds on average. This includes the time served in the corresponding activity and the time taken to recover from the after-effects of the distraction. You had to deliver the file to your client in the next 2 hours. You are now only left with 1 hour, 36 minutes and 45 seconds.

Tips to Minimize Workplace Distractions

Obviously, you cannot eliminate workplace distractions but you can take steps to minimize them. Here are few tips:
  • Re-set your email refresh rate to at least 30 minutes. It can be varied depending on the nature of your job.
  • Keep your mobile phone at silent.
  • Maintain a microbreaks schedule and let your colleagues know about it.
  • If possible, wear headsets to keep background noise to bare minimum.
  • Use a time tracker app, like Chrometa, to monitor how much time you spend on the various daily activities. This would help you to identify the sources of distractions and then strategize accordingly.
For every employee, effective time management skills are very important to be productive and efficient at work. It also helps to keep off work related stress, thus making sure, you remain in good health. Take that first step towards productive, efficient and work related stress free life, with our 30-day free Chrometa trial.