BEAT PROCRASTINATION AND DISTRACTION – TWO BIG BARRIERS TO SUCCESS
AUSTRALIAN workers are among the most engaged in the world, yet they waste more than an hour a day through distraction or procrastination. They are urged to regain productivity by avoiding unnecessary meetings, being strategic with technology and remembering why they do what they do.
Research from work management platform Asana reveals 75 per cent of Australia and New Zealand’s knowledge workers believe their company does a good job engaging employees – higher than any other country surveyed, including the UK, US, Japan and Germany.
However, a typical work day includes one hour and five minutes of distraction or procrastination – slightly above the global average of one hour and four minutes.
Asana head of community and certified productivity expert Joshua Zerkel says the biggest distractions keeping workers from completing daily tasks include shifting priorities (42 per cent), emails (39 per cent), colleagues asking them questions (38 per cent), and unplanned meetings (37 per cent).
“Think about how many meetings you attend which actually add value,” he says.
“It’s likely that the unnecessary meetings take up more of your day than the productive ones.
“Every time you look to schedule a meeting – even a recurring one – you should consider whether there’s another way to achieve the same outcome without taking up an hour of everyone’s time.”
Asana has introduced “No Meeting
Wednesdays”, to avoid meetings and instead focus on deep, purposeful work and tick big items off to-do lists.
Unexpected meetings can lead to overtime, too. Two in five workers (41 per cent) identify this as a major reason they have to work late.
Zerkel also recommends being strategic about new technologies.
Although some apps and tools may be helpful, he says having too many can be distracting and leave employees dealing with “a never-ending barrage of notifications and disjointed workflows”.
People can also boost their productivity by reminding themselves of the importance of their role.
“Understanding how all the work we do fits into the bigger picture can mean the difference between feeling empowered or overworked,” he says.
Asana’s Anatomy of Work report reveals Australia and New Zealand’s workers spend 59 per cent of their time on “work about work” – lowvalue tasks such as searching for status updates and sending emails – leaving only 41 per cent of their time for skilled and strategic tasks.
THINK ABOUT HOW MANY MEETINGS YOU ATTEND WHICH ACTUALLY ADD VALUE,
FOCUSED: Lawyer Emily Murphy keeps a notepad on her desk with a running list of things to do and adds to it throughout the day, ensuring she stays on task. Picture: JOHN GASS