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We all have days, or even weeks, on the job whenour productivity declines. But if your output hasbeen steadily diminishing, it could be becauseyou're wasting time rather than focusing on keytasks at hand. If that's the case, the sooner youcurb that behavior, the less likely it'll be tocompromise your job. Here are a few steps you cantake to stop wasting time at work–and start doingyour job more efficiently.


1. Lock yourself in quiet spaces


It's easy to get distracted at the office when you're surrounded by chatty colleagues and sideconversations that are far more interesting than the work you're supposed to be doing. But ifyou let yourself get sucked into those discussions, you're likely to fall behind and incur yourboss's wrath as a result. If you can't tear yourself away from the folks around you long enoughto stop wasting time, remove the temptation by regularly setting up shop in a quieter spot inthe office, like the corner conference room most folks forget about. You might even ask yourmanager for permission to use his or her office if your boss doesn't use it all that much.


2. Turn off your cellphone


A quick text message here and there during the workday might seem innocent enough, but abrief back-and-forth can quickly turn into a full-fledged conversation–one that takes you awayfrom more important tasks. If you're eager to stop wasting time at the office, silence yourcellphone. Give family members and close friends a way to reach you in an emergency (such asby calling your office's landline), and turn on that phone only during designated breaks.


3. Organize your calendar


It's easy to inadvertently waste time when you don't have a preset schedule outlining your daysat work. But if you're guilty of not maximizing your time at the office, it'll help to create a dailycalendar with blocks of time for various tasks. For example, if you give yourself from 4 p.m. to5 p.m. to write up your weekly data analysis report, you'll be less likely to waste time duringthat period knowing that you only have an hour allocated to that task.


4. Organize your space


A messy workspace can make you downright inefficient even when you're trying to do better. If your desk is full of clutter, carve out some time to get it organized. Shred papers you don'tneed, file essential documents in some sort of order, and make your supplies moreaccessible. The less time you spend navigating the disaster zone that is your workspace, themore time you'll free up to actually do your job.


5. Build in breaks


Sometimes we waste time at work by talking to colleagues, checking text messages, or surfingthe internet because our minds need a break from the constant grind. If that sounds like you, then you're better off scheduling some breaks during the day but powering through otherwise. For example, you might carve out 20 minutes in the morning or afternoon to chat withcoworkers or look at your favorite websites. This way, you'll get that need out of your systemso you can then go back to concentrating.


The more time you waste at work, the more your manager and peers are apt to take notice– and that's a good way to hurt your reputation and put your job at risk. Instead, clean up youract and keep searching for ways to be more efficient. Doing so might also spare you themisery of having to burn the midnight oil when deadlines loom and your work just hasn'tgotten done.



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