In the essay “The Busy Trap” by Tim Kreider, he discusses how “busy” has become a constant state of being in 21st century America. Kreider goes on to speak about how most personal “busy-ness” is self-imposed in an effort to convince ourselves that we are necessary and important, but that this constant state of busy-ness often prevents us from reaching our highest potential and doing the things that really matter. This same concept applies just as readily to companies as individuals; pinpointing which causes of busy-ness are self imposed can help to break the habit.
Scheduling Too Many Meetings
According to a salary.com survey, about 47 percent of workers surveyed feel that meetings waste more time than any other single task or activity. While the occasional meeting may be necessary to discuss changes and touch base, many companies have an addiction to meetings and take two hours or more away from employees’ working day for each meeting. To prevent meetings from sapping productivity from your company, make sure that meetings are short, to the point, and only scheduled when absolutely necessary.
While almost everyone believes that they are great multitaskers, research shows that only about two percent of the population is actually able to multitask at all. This means that the rest of the world is actually just slowing themselves down by trying to focus on more than one thing at a time-and failing. Try encouraging employees to slow down and focus on only the task at hand and you may be pleasantly surprised at how productivity increases.
Over or Under Planning Daily Routines
When every minute of every day is planned out for employees, a single upset or error can derail the plan and throw the whole schedule behind. Conversely, when there is no endgame or daily plan at all, there is no benchmark by which to gauge accomplishments and productivity often suffers. While the best strategy may vary from company to company, having a set of short term and long term goals and a flexible timeframe to accomplish those goals can help to keep processes moving forward and productivity at reasonable levels.
Equating Hours Worked to High Productivity
More equals better is an unfortunate standard that many companies go by, however unwittingly. Yet when employees work more hours they may suffer burnout and decreased morale, while costing the company extra dollars in overtime compensation. Instead of encouraging employees to work more hours, encouraging employees to complete all work without getting overtime may help to avoid the dilemma while giving employees much needed time to rest and relax after the work week.
Allowing Employees to Suffer from Information Overload
Having access to large amounts of information is a must for workers in many occupations, but the huge amount of white noise can make it difficult for employees to focus on the task at hand. To help, companies may be able to provide solutions that can sift through and filter information, providing employees with only the information that is necessary for the current task.