Don’t shirk the work

July 11, 2014

Billable hours down? Here’s where your time’s going

Image: Shutterstock


The thing about the office is that it’s damnably hard to get any work done there. There are just too many distractions. Email, coffee stations, gossip, that well-fit trainee in Real Estate… No wonder that progress on your latest deal is about as fast as a two-legged dog crawling up a lard mountain.

In fact, website Careerbuilder has surveyed thousands of people to identify where their time actually goes at work, and discovered the time-wasting activities that really dent productivity. The top ten were:

Mobile phone/texting (50%). ‘Yo! Wkg l8 2nite but up4 LOLZ @urs @10 wid Rupes.’ No. Put the phone away and only attend to it in breaks and over lunch – assuming you’ve worked hard enough to deserve a lunch, of course.

Gossip (42%). ‘So apparently David didn’t make partner because he shagged Sue who knows the senior partner and she thought he was being unfaithful to his wife even though his wife’s a lesbian really. But don’t tell anyone I told you.’ Less tittle-tattling, more word processing please.

The Internet (39%). It’s great to check up on the news every so often, and check out your opposite number on LinkedIn to see if he’s as hot as he sounds on the phone. But not too often, cos those documents are not gonna proof themselves.

Social media (38%). Facebook? Twitter? Don’t bother with either. You have no real friends and no-one cares what you say, cos you’re a lawyer.

Snack breaks or smoke breaks (27%). Less smoke, more poke. Stub it out and get back to your desk, you dirty thing.

Noisy co-workers (24%). Generally, try not to wear earphones in the office. Exceptions are allowed, however, when you’re sitting next to a partner who’s forever braying about a ‘industry-changing deal’ he was vaguely connected with back in 1977.

Meetings (23%). ‘I have to rush off to a planning meeting regarding the research process for the Marketing strategy.’ No, I reckon you don’t.

Email (23%).  Yes, you do need to check your junk mail folder. Yes, you do need to delete those emails from recruitment consultants. But do you need to do it now? No. Chunk your time: set mail management aside for a specific hour in every day.

Co-workers dropping by (23%). ‘Hey, Jane! Haven’t seen you since the networking training. How’s it going?’ Politely but firmly send this annoyingly pert person back to their desk, promising to arrange a coffee with them WHEN YOU CAN SPARE THE TIME.

Co-workers putting calls on speaker phone (10%). They only do this for two reasons: to show off, or because they need both hands to paint their fingernails or text their spouses to tell them they’ll be late for dinner. Discourage this foul noise pollution by breaking wind and/or singing Leonard Cohen songs in the background. AB

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