Create another Trello board, set up another e-mail subfolder, transfer data from a Word to an Excel file or devotedly format a document: many employees like to manage themselves. That can keep you busy for up to several hours a day – but it doesn’t make you more productive and the really important things remain unfinished. This apparent work, which also includes senseless meetings, is called fake work. Here are 4 tips on how to avoid wasting your time.
# 1 Differentiate the useless from the important
If you want to avoid fake work, you have to clearly see what will not get you anywhere at work. Check your routines: How much time do you spend each day replying briefly to e-mails in which everything has been said? Do you really have to enter appointments in your mobile phone and an analog appointment calendar – and also keep two or three different to-do lists? Could you ask your boss to only be there for the part related to your work area at the next three-hour meeting? For a few days, write down how long you have been doing which activities. This helps to get a better overview.
# 2 Orientate towards goals
In many companies, employee goals or Objectives and Key Results (OKR) are agreed. Keep this in mind when eliminating fake work from your everyday work. Only what helps to achieve the goals – both for the company and personal ones – remains in it.
# 3 Exchange with colleagues
Sometimes it may not be easy to prioritize tasks. In addition, most people tend to see their own activities as the most indispensable. Get feedback from other members of your team: How do they rate the importance and efficiency of individual work steps? Identifying fake work can be easier together. The opinion of superiors can also be important.
# 4 Structure the working day
We like to distract ourselves with fake work when we are a little undecided about what to do next. Counteract this by starting every working day with a clear structure – preferably in the form of a timetable. If you stick to this agenda, don’t be too easily distracted by each new email. Even when the performance curve falls, we tend to be more concerned with comparatively simple organizational activities than necessary. So take regular breaks and don’t forget to eat and drink.
Do you already know ours Newsletter “The Week”? Every Friday in your mailbox – if you want. Here you can sign up