A 2014 survey from Salary.com said that 89 percent of workers waste at least some time at work each day. And although plenty of people would guess that young people would be the biggest time wasters, but actually, people 26–39 were the worst culprits.
Or should that be… the best?
What’s interesting is that more than half the survey’s respondents (53 percent) said they waste time because they believe short breaks make them more productive.
Another study from a social networking group used a time-tracking app to analyze the most productive people. They discovered that productive workers don’t put in longer hours, but what they did do was take frequent breaks — specifically, they took 17 minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work.
Perhaps even more surprising is what these employees did with their breaks: they got away from the computer completely, taking a walk, chatting with a coworker, or reading a book.
9 ways to waste time properly
Reading blogs, watching videos on YouTube, or reading a book unrelated to your work are all things that really career focused people sometimes see as wasting time or distractions that take them away from the things they should be doing to further their career.
But actually, it is really valuable to spend some time (not too much though) on these activities that might give us completely new ideas and perspectives. They can help us discover new things, make new connections, come up with innovative solutions and challenge our current thinking.
The next time you feel bored, tired, or stuck at work, try one of these:
- Take a walk. The fresh air, sunshine, and most importantly exercise will get your blood flowing and improve concentration, memory, and performance.
- Catch up with a colleague. In an MIT study, workers at a call center who were allowed to chat with their colleagues got through more calls (not less) and felt less tension and stress about their jobs.
- Take a nap. If you feel tired, a 15 or 20 minute power nap can absolutely boost your focus and productivity.
- Read a book. It turns out, people who read books — especially fiction — are better at interacting with their colleagues. So you’re not just reading the latest bestseller; you’re improving your EQ.
- Surf the net. This isn’t as useful as getting away from your computer, but taking some time to look at websites that aren’t totally related to your work can give your brain a break as well as spur creativity.
- Daydream. It’s a common anecdote that we have our best ideas while otherwise distracted — say, while driving or taking a shower — but science has shown that different parts of our brains light up when we daydream, which may help you break through a thorny problem.
- Take a lunch break. Actually taking a break to eat lunch is a foreign concept to many, but stepping away from your desk and eating some nutritious food can boost productivity.
- Meditate. Even a short meditation has benefits for the brain like lowering stress levels and improving overall health.
- Plan your next vacation. It turns out that planning a vacation (whether you actually take it or not) boosts happiness. So if you’re feeling stressed or overworked, taking a few minutes to pick out a cruise or look at hotels could make you feel better.
This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
To keep up with Agenda subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Author: Bernard Marr is a best-selling author, keynote