Cut To The Chase: Stop Wasting Time

It’s easier to go to work every day if you like the people you spend the day with and your job is interesting. But some people don’t know when it is time to stop socializing and get to work.

We all know the person who seems to get very little done but then complains that they have too much to do. I worked with someone whose priority seemed to be organizing Boy Scout troop meetings.   His attitude affected others in his department.

Unfortunately, this is not a unique situation. Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said that instead of working 8 hours a day, the majority only spend two hours and 53 minutes doing actual work. What do they spend their time doing?

  1. Browsing news websites: 1 hr. 5 min.
  2. Checking social media: 44 min.
  3. Discussing non-work activities with coworkers: 40 min.
  4. Searching for new jobs: 26 min.
  5. Smoking breaks: 23 min.
  6. Making phone calls to spouse or friends: 18 min.
  7. Making coffee or hot drinks: 17 min.
  8. Text-messaging: 14 min.
  9. Eating snacks: 8 min.
  10. Making food at the office: 7 min

As a manager, I found myself calling out workers who didn’t understand the importance of putting in a full day of work for a full day of pay.

In that role, I also had to deal with situations when people would linger too long after meetings or corner me in the hallway while I was on my way to another meeting. Because I always wanted my staff to feel accessible and interested in their thoughts, I found it a fine line between showing concern and pushing a chatty person out the door.

Honesty is always best. If I need to leave for another meeting or to work on a project, I might say something like, “Hey, let’s catch up later, but I have to run to another meeting right now.”

If someone came to my office to discuss something while I was busy working on a project, I would often say that I was on deadline for a project, and I would get back to them.

When we hire someone new, we often value those individuals who are friendly and easy to get along with but focusing on getting our work done trumps wasting time. There is a time to talk and a time to work.


If you are working with – or managing – someone who is difficult to work with, I have some ideas that will help you deal with the situation.

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