Do you find yourself stuck in the office almost every night while you watched the rest of your colleagues pack up and leave for home? Yet when you and your boss questioned you why and where you spent your time during office hours, you can’t really give a good explanation. It is not that you are unproductive or have poor time management, it could be that you are spending too much time and holding on to issues that couldn’t change any results of your work or help you in any way.

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Drafting angry internal emails
There will be times where you are frustrated at how other colleagues or department conduct their jobs. While it is right that you make a stand how their decisions affect you, drafting yet another angry email to them will not turn things around, instead, it might even make relations worsened between you and the recipients.

Solution: Instead of exclamation marks and Caps in your emails, why don’t you pick up the phone and schedule a meeting to talk to the other party to understand their reasoning behind their actions. They might have red tapes and regulations that stop them from executing a simpler process. Work out a win-win solution to benefit both parties and the company.

Scenario: I was wondering why we couldn’t issue vouchers to angry customers to appease them when shipment are delayed. When I spoke to the customer support folks, I realized the bottleneck is with the finance. Instead of being angry, I called for a meeting with the customer support head and finance head to work out a solution to have accountability and empowerment for the frontline staff to issue low-cost high impact resolutions to genuine complaint cases.

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Pointless Meetings
Everyday, everyone has meetings to rush to. Some of the meetings could be resolved in a mere phone call or even simpler, an email. If there is no need to pull everyone’s time together, try to avoid it.

Solution: Have a directive agenda and assigned a specific task to people who are attending the meeting so that everyone can come together and contribute. Understand that meeting are not for everyone to sit back and listen to the presenter but to be able to throw out ideas and suggestions.

Scenario: I found out that my weekly meetings I will be droning on and on about performance instead of me doing the fact findings before the meetings, I dedicated individuals to find out our team’s own weakness and come up with suggested solutions to rectify them. It could be our returned customer’s rate is low or sales during the lull period. How do we come up with innovative ways to counter that within our own means. Every meeting, everyone has things to bring to the table and everyone come out of the meetings, armed with confidence and new ideas to execute.

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Arguing on pointless things based on principles during meeting
I have seen hour long meetings turned into 3 hours long debates because someone was biting on pointless things and not looking at the overall bigger picture.

Solution: Take a step back and think about how your stubbornness could benefit in this meeting. If there are clashes of opinions, be prepared to either take it offline or agree to disagree. Importantly, you are heard by the rest and leave this for the organizer or the decision maker to ponder over your points.

Scenario: Jacky kept insisting that production has to be paused every Friday for two hours in order for his maintenance department to do a proper safety check. However, by pausing two hours means everyone have to drop their work, leaving it to pile up and by the end of the day, most of us couldn’t finish our work on time. He couldn’t give a satisfactory justification why it has to be on a Friday (before the weekend) or why can’t the checks be done after business hours but kept arguing on point. At the end of the meeting, most of us are shutting off our ears and letting our minds wander off.

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Dwell on management’s decision that you can’t fathom
There are times where management or even the board of directors made decisions or strategic moves that no one in the company can understand. Most folks often shrugged it off and continue their work while some struggle with that decision, making it hard for them to swallow and hinder their performance.

Solution: If you are uncomfortable, approach your superior, that is what they are for. To give guidance when you are lost. Although it is agreeable that a manager should anticipate unease caused by changes and be upfront and explain. However, not every manager are that proactive. Instead, you can take matters into your own hands and ask to be guided to see the bigger picture.

Scenario: Eunice is perplexed about our company moving part of the call center to Malaysia while worried about losing her job as well. She carried that burden with her for a month, affecting her performance, causing, even more, undue anxiety that she will now lose her job due to poor performance before her boss approaches her. Once she enlightens that it was because the company is forecasting to be expanding due to a recent product acquisition and wanted a contingency call center in Malaysia in case, the current one is down, her performance peak by the end of the week. ย 

A lot of problems are down to communication and looking at matters too personally and too complex. Many problems can be easily resolved if we take a step back and approach others to talk through it. Do you agree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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16 replies on “Things that you waste time on in office and can’t explain why

  1. Especially meetings take up far to much time in a lot of companies. I worked as a management-assistant for years at different firms, a lot of times I just had to listen and write down everything discussed. Jeeeeeeeeez, how people can focus on the wrong things, it’s amazing.
    Stick to an agenda, create a task-list with deadlines (new, pending, done) and re-schedule if needed to talks about little details in a separate meeting.
    I agree Kally, you don’t need to meet about everything. A lot of subjects can be handled just by picking up the phone.
    And don’t write up an email about everything, resulting in long mails, which could be so much faster handle by just to standing up, walking over to the office next to you and talk to your colleague directly ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Yes, Kally, communication and the way we do it, is key!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another amazingly written article, Kally!

    I still haven’t had the time to translate the previous one, but I’d like to translate and republish this one as well, if you agree.
    Don’t worry, all credits go to you.

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dwelling on company decisions and strategy that doesn’t get explained down the line is very common, but in these cost-cutting times, the reasons for many moves are not necessarily explained… nor are they reassuring. But losing time around these issues won’t help. Best to clock out at clock out time and go for more leisure activities ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A good advice, Bea but not everyone will heed. A lot of my friends often hang on to decisions that they are unable to change and spoil their time with their families as they are unable to enjoy themselves truly.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Haha! Made me remember when I was a junior executive and worked late, after all the bosses had left, and I thought that when I was a Boss I could leave earlier. Illusion. Illusion. I still worked late as a boss. (Generally working on the things only I could do, after working with the team) But as a market research company in an industry where all-nighters were common, I made it a rule that no-one, no-one should stay after 10PM. Ever. You can’t write a report at 3AM. So people just had to organize ahead. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It’s true, there are certain limits to how far or how long your mind can stretch. We all need rest. Rather rest early and be well prepped for the next day.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That was my point entirely. Some loved to say: I finished the presentation at 5AM, went home for a shower and presented the report to the client at 8AM. I prohibited that. No way you can do a good presentation after a night without sleep. Reports have to be ready the day before or two days before… ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Absolutely. And my position comes from my university days: I never, ever “crammed” or studied the night before an exam. I figured that what I hadn’t learned before, I would not learn sitting up all night and fall asleep during the exam. On exams’ eve, I always went out with friends, saw a movie, or read a good book and went to bed early. ๐Ÿ™‚
            Take care Kally. (Week-end’s almost here)

            Liked by 1 person

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