You might be a superhero at the office, spearheading projects, coming up with great ideas and flying through your to-do lists. But even superheroes have a weakness, something that saps their energy, focus or strength. At the office, these power-reducing habits often begin with good intentions, but they end up wasting time instead of saving it.
With Superman back on movie screens this weekend, let’s take a look at common problems that are kryptonite to even the most super employees.
- An addiction to incoming messages. Take a look at any modern business card and you’ll likely find myriad ways to get in touch with its owner. These days employees receive work-related messages in multiple ways: on landlines, company cell phones, work email addresses, internal office chat programs, or even on social networks like LinkedIn. While staying on top of all of these messages is certainly well-intentioned, it can end up draining your energy. If you check every voicemail, text, email or chat message as soon as it arrives, you’ll never have any time for uninterrupted focus, according to U.S. News and World Report.
If your work doesn’t require you to respond to messages immediately, consider turning off notifications from texts, emails and chats — or setting them to download only at designated intervals. If that’s not an option, try carving out an hour during the day for uninterrupted work — you can even change the outgoing message on your email to let people know when you will respond. It will help your productivity in the long-run.
- Too many meetings. Going to every meeting you’re invited to can often feel like a good way to keep up with a lot of different workstreams. However, attending too many meetings is a major distraction from getting work done. How do you know which meetings you can skip? Assess each meeting using cost-benefit analysis: “If you earn $25 per hour and take part in a weekly one-hour meeting, it’s costing a company more than $1,000 per year,” Steven Macdonald, marketing director at WorkZone, told mainstreet.com. Declining invitations to meetings that aren’t necessary to your role won’t just help your productivity, it could help your company’s bottom line, too.
- Playing the hero. Ironically, trying to save the day could torpedo your chances of getting anything done at all, according to Inc. If you’re always jumping in to help others when they’re in need, you may end up ignoring your own priorities. “Consider the warning you always get on airplanes that, should the cabin decompress, you should put on your own mask before helping others,” advises Inc. “If you pass out from lack of oxygen, you won’t be of much help.” Before offering to help, be realistic about your workload and energy levels.
Which task or habit is your office kryptonite? Please share your ideas — and solutions for conquering them — in the comments below.
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Gerri Mason Hall is Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer for Sodexo North America. Sodexo’s 133,000 employees in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico provide more than 100 unique services that improve performance for 9,000 client partners and improve Quality of Life for 15 million consumers every day.
— Sodexo USA, Inc. (@sodexoUSA) March 25, 2016