The 10 Biggest Productivity Killers

We’ve all been there: suddenly, somehow, it’s midday and you realise you’ve done barely any work at all since you arrived at the office. Where did the time go?

Procrastination is, for most of us, an inevitable part of working life. In fact, a study found that the average Brit spends eleven hours a week procrastinating – that’s 24 days every year!

Here are ten of the biggest productivity killers, and how to overcome them.

Social Media

Problem: It’s all too easy to get sucked into a Facebook vortex and lose half an hour to photos of your high school boyfriend’s babies. And whilst we agree they make compelling viewing, they’re not particularly conducive to work.

Solution: Try to limit your social media intake to your lunch break and your commute. For hardcore social media junkies, a site blocker may be in order.


Problem: Whilst it’s healthy to have a good relationship with your co-workers, chatting too much can be a massive drain on your time.

Solution: Catching up with co-workers and cracking jokes while you work makes office life a lot more enjoyable – just try not to do it too much!

Cigarette breaks

Problem: It may feel like you’re just popping out for a moment, but all those cigarette breaks add up. What’s more, regular stoppages are a surefire way to disturb your flow.

Solution: Try to take your cigarette breaks after completing tasks rather than in the middle of them. This way you’ll disrupt your focus as little as possible – and the promise of a break may give you an incentive to complete the task quicker!


Problem: Your co-workers talking on the phone, the printer whirring, someone washing up cups in the kitchen – the office can be a noisy place!

Solution: If you find it difficult to work in a loud environment, try discussing it with your manager – they might be able to move you to a quieter spot. If not, you could try noise-cancelling headphones.

Checking emails

Problem: Emails are a necessary part of office life, but sometimes it can feel like your inbox is taking up most of your time.

Solution: To remedy this, try not to have your emails open all the time. Set aside an amount of time each day just to concentrate on reading and replying to emails. This way you won’t let them pile up, and won’t be distracted by them throughout the day.


Problem: We would never say you shouldn’t snack – snacking is one of the great joys of office life – but when you find yourself eating to avoid work, it might be time to cut back a bit!

Solution: If you usually pop out to buy snacks when you’re hungry, try bringing snacks to work with you instead to cut down on lost time.

The internet

Problem: The internet can be a dangerous place. One moment you’re reading a news story, next thing you know you’ve been looking at pictures of celebrities who resemble dogs for 20 minutes.

Solution:As with social media, try to limit personal use to your lunch break. And again, if there are certain sites you find particularly distracting, a site blocker may come in handy.


Problem: Meetings are often unavoidable, but sometimes it can feel like they’re more of a hindrance than a help.

Solution: To make your meetings as efficient as possible, ensure you know exactly what you need to discuss and what you want to accomplish. Having a clear goal will focus your thoughts and help the meeting run smoothly.

Checking your phone

Problem: Addicted to your smartphone? You’re not the only one. According to research, the average person checks their phone 110 times a day.

Solution: To help you cut back, try putting your phone in your bag or a drawer – out of sight, out of mind, as they say.

Making cups of tea

Problem: As a nation of tea-drinkers, this one’s difficult to avoid – the average Brit drinks 876 cups of tea a year!

Solution: But as the cornerstone of British working life, we think perhaps tea breaks should remain sacred. Enjoy!


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