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4 Causes and Solutions for Wasting Time at Work

Last week Download Squad posted a survey stating that the average American worker wastes 20% of their time on activities such as needless chatting, web surfing, etc.

Wasting time at work can help pass those Friday afternoons more quickly, but when end of year bonuses roll along, you may not be so pleased. Here are a couple hypothetical causes that I gathered from the survey, as well as some solutions to try.

Procrastinating from an unpleasant job

This is personally my biggest time waster. If you have an unpleasant task in the foreseeable future, say in two hours, some people will attempt to draw out their current task and make it take as long as possible.

Solution: Face the task. Wasting time isn’t going to make the big bad task go away. It needs to be done, and more often that not you will have to do it.

Job not challenging enough / Bad collaboration

If your job is not challenging you enough and you find yourself with tons of extra time each day, then it is time to get a new job. If you are not given opportunities to excel at your job, you will not excel in your career. Similarly, if you have unmotivated coworkers with bad collaboration skills, you may find yourself being held back a lot of the time and having extra time on your hands.

Solution: This is a good time to hit the job boards.

Not motivated / Just in it for the money


If you enjoy getting into the grind each Monday morning, slugging through your work day, and then finally being released, then you might be okay being unmotivated at a job, or just in it for the money. However realize that your performance will always over the long term be reflected in your salary or wage. You could be much better off with a job you like, because you will excel at it.

Solution: Again, hit the job board.

Easily diverted, bad attention span

It is possible that your wasting of time has nothing to do with work, but instead your poor focus. These are the cases where you get carried away on your email or Digg, and before you know it, you have wasted time without even wanting to.

Solution: Work on improving your focus. Try this article over at Lifehack.

This entire article can apply to school and web working, as well as traditional jobs. As I wrote this, I decided to write it primarily for office workers, but it can apply to anyone. I know that the only thing here that does not apply to me is the solutions to #2,3.

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2 Responses to “4 Causes and Solutions for Wasting Time at Work”

  1. Scot Herrick says:

    There is a lot of “blaming the victim” mentality going on with these kinds of surveys. Everyone looks at the worker and goes “Oh, you’re so bad.”

    Has anyone looked as to whether or not it is a management issue and they are not providing 40-hours worth of work to the employees? If they were, wasting time would be a performance issue.

    As it stands, methinks this is a management problem, not a cubicle warrior issue.

  2. One solution is education and the correct use of punctuation and spaces.