What pops to mind when you think about productivity killers? Social media will certainly appear among the most common answers. CareerBuilder carried out a survey among employees to figure out what factors prevented them from being productive. Nearly 38 percent of the respondents said that social media were to blame. This isn’t the survey leader, however. Smartphones are the main culprit for diminished productivity according to 50 percent of the respondents.

We live in a very dynamic corporate world and fast execution is becoming determining for employment success and the chance to experience career growth. The number of distractions, however, is also growing.

What factors kill productivity and how is it possible to deal with them?

Smartphone Temptations

Smartphone Temptations

Many individuals use their personal mobile device but as already mentioned, this wonderful technology has been ranked the top workplace distraction. Though the phone can be used to accomplish a lot while a person is away from the office, it can also contribute to serious time waste.

According to an OfficeTime.net study, 10 percent of employees questioned say that they dedicate anywhere between one and two hours per day to using their smartphone. The most popular activities include talking and texting for personal reasons.

Social Media

Social Media

A few professionals like marketers need to use social media on a daily basis as a part of their job. For many other experts, however, these websites are nothing but a distraction that stands in the way of concentration.

Websites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram make nearly 11 percent of workers waste between one and two hours per day. Pictures, gossip, games and the chance to chat with people about personal topics of interest – it’s difficult to figure out how these could get the work done within a reasonable timeframe.

Having Many Meetings

Having Many Meetings or Dedicating Too Much Time to Each

Meetings are very important for face-to-face communication. These could be used to clarify issues, increase collaborations and do progress tracking. Unfortunately, many experts try to attend too many meetings or they dedicate excessively long amounts of time to each. This is how the essential business activity could easily transform in a major productivity killer.

According to a Pulp-PR survey, the average professional spends approximately 5.6 hours per week attending corporate meetings. In 2012, 47 percent of the employees said that attending too many meetings or having to go through lengthy sessions contributed to significant time waste.

The solution is very simple and it involves effective meeting planning. Using video conferencing software can help bring everyone that needs to “attend” the meeting together. There will be no need to schedule separate sessions for participants that can’t make it to the same location at the same time.

Project management software is another great possibility for tracking progress and communicating clearly without having to waste time on meetings.

Reading and Answering Email

Reading and Answering Email

Are you in the habit of checking your email every few minutes? Though you may feel the practice enhances communication, it actually ranks among the most popular productivity killers at work.

Did you know that since smartphones have made email accessible from virtually everywhere, the average person has started spending approximately 13 hours per week on email checking?

Some of the most productive and successful entrepreneurs check their emails just two times per day. This will be sufficient for taking care of urgent matters without getting caught up in meaningless communication that has nothing to do with business effectiveness.

Commuting

Commuting

We all know that commuting can be a nightmare. Depending on the size of the city, the number of residents and its infrastructure, getting to the office in the morning can be an incredibly time-consuming affair.

The average professional commuter is stuck in traffic approximately 38 hours per year.

Some companies have dealt with this problem by enabling remote work and telecommuting. For many professionals, it doesn’t really make sense to go to the office on a daily basis. Meeting with the team on a regular basis or participating in video conferencing sessions will be a good possibility for making sure that everyone is on the same page.

Office Chitchat

Office Chitchat

Though some of the productivity killers in the list are rather technological, some old-school diversions are still making workers waste their time. Participating in good, old office gossip is still a major problem and a serious time wasting activity.

Communication between co-workers is very important because it helps for team building and the positive environment in the office. Certain kinds of communication can have a really detrimental impact on productivity.

Negative gossiping about co-workers is an example of such an activity. This behaviour creates distrust among co-workers and results in a really hostile environment. Collaboration becomes more difficult and as a result, the performance of everyone involved is sub-par.

Encouraging team building and dealing with conflict right from the start are the steps towards better workplace relationships and a higher level of productivity. It may take a lot of effort to stimulate team work, especially in a bigger department, but it certainly pays off.

The Inability to Say No

The Inability to Say No

Individuals that are incapable of prioritising tasks or refusing the execution of trivial activities are incapable of unleashing their full potential.

Every office has at least one “yes man.” These employees believe that accepting all kinds of tasks and saying yes to everything will lead to career advancements. Being a yes man, however, is certain option for killing productivity.

The practice will only lead to the accumulation of too much stress and to mediocre results. Delegating tasks and knowing when to say no will both lead to better execution of the tasks at hand.

Dealing with all of the office distractions and becoming more productive isn’t an easy task. You can start by taking a look at one or two negative practices and trying to change those. Once you see the positive results, you’ll feel much more eager to continue implementing changes.