Productivity Killers at Work: More to Emails, It’s now the Political News Coverage

July 27, 20168:26 am491 views

While handling the volume of email sent and received each day once again ranks as the top time and productivity killer, social media and political news coverage are clearly having a negative impact on work productivity.

In its fifth annual survey, asked over 1,700 freelancers, small business owners and professionals about activities that get between them and an otherwise productive workday.

When asked, “Which online activities ‘suck you in’ when you should be doing more productive work?” respondents most frequently cited social media such as Facebook and Twitter (43%) followed by political news coverage (34%).

News coverage of political theater such as the U.S. presidential race between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and the Brexit vote in Great Britain are a daily addiction to many, who admit they should be doing other, more productive activities.

Respondents to the survey were given the opportunity to select general activities that they spend “too much time on each day.” Each year since the beginning of the annual survey, “Email” has been cited as the top time killer, and this year 45% said they spend too much time reading and responding to emails each day.

“Email is an easy time-suck and one you might not realize,” said Stephen Dodd, founder of and CEO of Productive Monkey, developer of the OfficeTime time-tracking solution.

“If email is a problem in your life, get aggressive with it. Unsubscribe from the fluff. Send short but polite replies. Ask to be cc’d only when needed. Block out time to respond to emails rather than being always available. Track how much time you spend on email and other activities before you begin tackling the problem, then compare your time again afterward and enjoy the difference.”

See: Strange Productivity Killers at Work That Impact Performance

A second activity that kills a great deal of time is actually not an activity at all – but instead the desire to avoid doing one. Forty-two percent of respondents said they spend too much time procrastinating and putting off activities they know they should do.

Other activities that are among the top five time killers are Internet Surfing (33%), Dealing with Computer / Tech Problems (24%), and Social Networking for personal (non-business) reasons (22%).

Why do business owners and other working professionals allow themselves to be sucked into activities when they know they should be focused on more productive work? Forty percent of respondents said they are simply “easily distracted.”

The other top excuses given are neck-and-neck, with 24% responding “The activity I’m doing is more fun than what I should be doing” and 22% responding “I dread doing what I should be doing.” One respondent summed up well the allure of social media and political news coverage. “The intention is to have a short break, but sometimes the temptation is there to just keep clicking.”

“Social media and news feeds are designed to suck you in by feeding you related news stories that you will likely enjoy based on your interests,” said Dodd. “These are often tools we use for procrastination – putting off the work that needs to be done but we dread doing. Think about that one thing you’re putting off and tell yourself you just have to start it. That can often break down your resistance and let you complete the task.”

Also read: Smartphones at Work: Productivity Killers!

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