I will start by saying that I AM GUILTY and am trying to break some bad habits.  Now that I got that out of the way, here is an exercise that could prove helpful when dealing with this problem.

Now be careful!!! If your corporate culture is not “right” this might backfire on you – so be careful of those unintended consequences. Have your company, department, etc. do this exercise for one day: (by the way, do it yourself before you have others do it to see what you come up with)…and if you are brave, share your results with the team prior to them doing it – might bring down some defenses-

It is simple… For one day – Document and hourly log of what you actually did that day.  Print out an hourly log sheet (like a daily calendar) and have it on your desk.  Here is the key – Fill it out every hour on the hour.  This way we can prevent our imaginations from making us more productive than we really are…. 

Also – Be BRUTALLY honest.  If from 8-9 all you got accomplished was making coffee, saying hi to Susie, and using the restroom – then put that down on paper.  If you stay honest and true to the system, I think you will find out how much time we spend doing “stuff” that doesn’t make any money!

Now if you are as lucky as I am to work for a great employer and be managed by a great boss – share it with your boss and have him/her help you (not judge you) on how to make your time more productive.

Here is an interesting study that applies.  I found it on https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2005/07/11/wastingtime.TMP

Top Time-Wasting Activities (%)

1 Surfing Internet (personal use) 44.7%

2 Socializing with co-workers 23.4%

3 Conducting personal business 6.8%

4 Spacing out 3.9%

5 Running errands off-premises 3.1%

6 Making personal phone calls 2.3%

7 Applying for other jobs 1.3%

8 Planning personal events 1.0%

9 Arriving late / Leaving early 1.0%

10 Other 12.5%

Maybe this year instead of just making a resolution you will forget about in one week, developing awareness to a bad habit might be a good way for you to take yourself to the next level.

You can also download CBR’s special FREE Report: Why Employees Waste Time (and How to Resolve it) for additional tips!