How to Reduce Your "Busywork"
Rethink your work habits to focus on outcomes
When employees are on the clock, most managers expect them to keep busy through the workday. This may mean either completing tasks within their remits, or finding ways to make sure their hands are in some work-related project. Even when workflows deliver some downtime, the message from management is generally clear: find a way to keep working.
If workers appear to twiddle their thumbs, some managers step in with "busywork" to keep their employees occupied. "Busywork is something that doesn't have a purpose," said leadership and development trainer Randy Clarke, based in Indiana. "It doesn't lead towards reaching any goals, it doesn't improve the person, the operation or the culture."
Examples of busywork might include compiling a pointless report, colour-coding a spreadsheet or proofreading a presentation that has already been checked. One 2016 study of 600 knowledge workers showed they spent just 39 percent of their workdays doing their actual jobs, with the rest dedicated to meetings, emails and busywork such as writing status reports for managers.
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