2007 Wasting Time Survey from Salary.com

The 3rd annual Salary.com "Wasting Time Survey" for 2007 reports that the average employee wastes 1.7 hours of a typical 8.5 hour work day.  Salary.com reports that figure is down from the 2.09 hours wasted per day in 2005.  The #1 culprit of wasted time?  Internet use at 34.7%.  Followed by socializing with co-workers (20.3%) and conducting personal business (17.0%).  Over 63 percent of respondents admitted to wasting time at work.  The 20-29 year olds waste almost twice as much time (2.1 hours) compared to 40-49 year olds (1.4 hours).  Keep in mind this does not take into account how much work people are doing at home and on weekends, however.  What, do you think people aren't conducting business while at home?  Of course they are!  In my opinion, they might be asking the wrong … [Read more...]

American Time Use Survey 2006: no wonder women are so tired!

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of its annual American Time Use Survey for 2006 on June 28, 2007, which is actually conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.  You can sift through all the data files and accompanying documentation, but let me save you some time and summarize some interesting results. Of full-time workers, men work 8.4 hours a day on average, while women work 7.7.  But 52 percent of women cleaned each day, while only 20 percent of men clean each day.  65 percent of women cook each day and only 37 percent of men.  Men average 5.7 hours of leisure a day, and women average 4.9 hours.  Women spend 1.2 hours a day caring for children, while men spend .4 hours.  Men spent more time watching television and participating in … [Read more...]

Gartner: The 40-Hour Workweek Era Is Ending

Here we go again: another report showing us how much technology is going to save us time and reduce the American workweek.  Didn't we hear this 20 years ago?  How we would all have so much extra time on our hands due to technological improvements?  That's just like the "paperless office," which of course is a joke, since we generate much more paper now than before the advent of the computer.  A Gartner research report released on May 30 says that by 2015, workers will be working 20 hours instead of 40.  It argues that workers are seeking a more fulfilling life balance and employers better catch on if they want to retain good employees.  They sort of forget to consider that many people consider working an ecomomic reality and can't afford to drop … [Read more...]

Save hours of time every day: Stop watching so much television!

One primary television-watching energy drain is late night shows.  Given our hectic schedules with running in the door to make dinner, running out the door to take the kids to soccer practice, and then running home to finally get the kids in bed, we literally have no time left for ourselves.  We quite reasonably crave a little relaxation time, but all we have the energy to do is plop on the couch and turn on the tube.  We tell ourselves, “I’ll only watch for 15 minutes, then go to bed.”  But those alpha waves start humming, and Letterman is downright hilarious, and before you know it, 15 minutes have turned into two hours.  So you get to bed by 12:30 a.m., and you have to wake up at 6 a.m.  This pattern serves you a triple wallop. First, you’re going to … [Read more...]

What color scheme is best for personal productivity: decorating your office for productivity

Investigate the link between color and worker productivity, and you'll keep coming across the name of Dr. Nancy Kwallek, Director of the Interior Design program at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture. In a recent study, she had workers do mundane clerical tasks in offices with several different color schemes and discovered that white is absolutely the worst color for productivity—at first. After being exposed to an all-white environment for a while, most workers adjusted just fine. For those who could screen out their environment from the beginning, however, bright colors were more effective, since they seem to stimulate people in general. Those more easily distracted by the environment did better in rooms painted a cooler color, like blue-green. Ultimately, however, … [Read more...]

Do allergies reduce productivity?

Now here's a pharmeceutical company selling non-drowsy allergy medication that came up with the 2007 Reactine Quality of Life Report and the impact allergies have on sufferers of the condition.  Highlights from the report include:     -   Allergic and Unbearable. Three out of four Canadians with allergies        say symptoms increase irritability and fatigue, and 55 per cent claim        reduced productivity (housework; on-the-job, academia).    -   It's not in Your Head: And this doesn't come as a surprise to health        experts. This season 71 per cent of health professionals agree        allergies can regularly or often affect a person's … [Read more...]

How Does Clothing Affect Personal Productivity and Energy?

Not only can Western society’s work ethic be rigid, but so can our clothing.  There’s a reason that casual Friday was invented—it’s because we finally followed our intuition that uncomfortable clothing restricts our energy flow!  In the 70’s movie Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman dresses up as a woman to get a job.  While he’s donning women’s apparel he says something akin to, “Who’s the misogynist bastard who invented high heels?!”  In my opinion, high heels and bras are tangible proof of evil.  Wearing high heels on a regular basis can cause serious foot problems such as hammertoes, bunions, corns, calluses, Achilles problems, growth of nerve tissue called neuromas, and even stress fractures.[i]  And that’s just your feet!  High heels also cause knee … [Read more...]

Saving time writing and researching with the Son of Citation Machine

I'm on a three-day writing retreat, composing my newest manuscript Up Your Energy!  The only thing I dislike about writing is creating the citations for my endnotes---making sure they are in exactly the right format consumes a great deal of time and energy.  Well.  Enter the "Son of Citation Machine," a web-based tool that automatically creates the citations for you in the correct format.  You choose the writing style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) and the format (book, website, magazine, etc.), fill in the appropriate fields presented to you, hit submit, and VIOLA!  I perfectly-formatted citation you can copy and paste into your endnote description.  This has saved me precious hours of time already, and I highly recommend it. … [Read more...]

The 3/2 Rule of Employee Productivity

A reader just turned me on to Allan Engelhardt's October post called "The 3/2 Rule of Productivity."   Wonderful.  Fascinating research with data showing the more employees your company has, the less productive each person is.  Basically, in terms of profit per employee, when you triple the number of employees, you halve their productivity (the 3/2 Rule).  Allan supposes the causes could include self-selection, relationship friction, a shared vision, and the ability (or lack thereof) to collaborate.  If I could toss in my two cents, from what I hear employees of large corporations complaining to me about, it's: * a huge volume of email to deal with and some moron replying to all with a 50-person distribution list and 100 spams each day * meetings that run on and on with no purpose … [Read more...]

How do you measure white collar business productivity?

I received an email from a reader today asking what *is* productivity.  While that's a perfectly legitimate question, I thought I'd post a definition, just in case others wanted a understanding of how to measure productivity.  Some people just *know* intuitively whether they've had a productive day and don't need to measure it.  And while there are different methods and views on productivity measurement (white collar, manufacturing, farm, economic, etc.), I use the following as my working definition of white collar business productivity (my niche): The efficiency with which goods and services are produced, as measured by the value of the output produced (result) per person, per hour, divided by the unit of inputs used to produce it (hours). Or—simply— a measurement … [Read more...]