The 3 Biggest Time Sinks in Your Office

Updated October 6, 2023

In the modern office, there are dozens of little things that are massive time wasters. You probably know about a lot of them. Using things like Facebook and Twitter during work hours is an obvious one. An excessive number of coffee or cigarette breaks is another.

But what about the things that are actually supposed to be helping your business? You probably didn’t consider those. There are a few work processes in your office that are set up by the boss that can give way to time wasting. Here are some things to consider.

Biggest Time Sinks in Office

Instant messaging

Most modern offices are using instant messaging platforms like Skype or Google Mail. They allow employees to communicate each other from across the office and speak directly about a particular issue. It can be much quicker than the more traditional method, which is email. People feel more pressure to get their point across quickly and succinctly on instant messengers.

Anyone who has used instant messaging in their office for a long period of time probably knows what the problem is. Because of the quick and instant nature of the communication, it’s very easy to get carried away into off-work subjects. It never feels like you’re wasting that much time because it feels so quick. And after all, you’re using work-provided software! But over time, these conversations do add up and take your focus away from your main task.


Meetings have a tendency to meander. I couldn’t count the amount of meetings I’ve been in that probably could have been done in half the time. When you’ve got a bunch of people in a room then what you need to be discussing should be relevant for everyone in that room. Don’t break off into micro-conversations with a small portion of the group. If something comes up that needs further discussion than you thought, then jot it down. Talk to the required people for a few minutes afterwards. Going into the meeting, ensure you have a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be answered or resolved by that meeting. Get what you need a soon as possible, strike it off, and move straight on.

Another problem with meetings is that not scheduling them strategically can lead to wasted time. Let’s say you have a half-hour meeting at 3pm and a twenty-minute meeting at 3:40pm. That leaves you with ten minutes in-between those meetings. What can you achieve in that time? Probably not much. Be strategic when scheduling meetings; get them back-to-back!

Emailing when speaking will do

We email a lot at work. Most of the time, this is good. It leaves a paper trail and can help you flesh out your ideas; writing something out is a good way to ensure you get everything across that you need. There’s another reason we do it so often. We don’t know how busy the other person is, so we write an email so they can respond whenever they’re done.

The problem is that writing an email is a time-consuming task. Speaking to someone about the issue directly is the key to efficiency. Consider notebooks in your office. Everyone should have an open notebook and a pen on their desk. If someone comes up to them and says something, they can write some notes and get to the task later. It’s a lot quicker than writing and reading emails!

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