How to Deal With Time Wasters

Many things, if you let them, eat up your time. This can be so bad that, at the end of your day, you have nothing to show for all the time you spent at work.

Learning to protect your time and deal with time wasters inevitably leads to increased productivity. If you don’t learn this skill, you’ll never get your work done.

Time wasters are activities that take you away from your most important activity. They come in various forms, but the most common are distractions and interruptions.


The best way to deal with distractions is to eliminate them at the source. That is, doing what it takes to prevent distractions from popping up while you’re working.

To do this effectively, you must identify the sources of distraction that susceptible to impede your progress.

For example, if you work on your computer, and news websites and social media sites are a huge source of distraction, you’d be wise to remove access to those sites while working.

Similarly, if you recognize that your mobile device is a source of distraction, you can store it away when it’s time for you to get to work.

The important thing here is to remove all distractions from your work environment. As soon as you notice that something is a distraction, remove it—if you can.


Like with distractions, the best way to deal with them is to minimize their number.

This may mean that you lock yourself in your office or in a boardroom and get your work done, or it may mean that you have to let the people around you that you’re not to be interrupted, or it may mean that you put your mobile device on mute, or whatever else you must do to ensure you keep your focus.

For example, if you know that, for the next hour, you must review your team’s monthly reports, you may need to tell your team members that from 9 to 11 am, you’ll be unavailable for questions (except for urgent matters perhaps).

In-person interruptions might be the trickiest to deal with, as the person interrupting you is right here in front of you. Thus, you can’t simply ignore them and get back to work (like you can do when receiving a text message or hearing a phone ringing). Furthermore, the person standing in front of you may have a valid request, which you can help them with.

In such case, your best option is to minimize the length of the interruption by quickly assessing the need of the person and letting know when you’ll assist them or who can assist them.

A strategy that has worked well for me is to simply say to the person to send me a quick email and I’ll get back to them as soon as I can. Usually, the person is satisfied and I can get back to work quickly.

In the course of your workday, you’ll suffer the assaults of many distractions and interruptions, and you must deal with them as soon as possible. Stopping them before they have a chance to swallow your time is your best strategy.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.