Employers reluctant to let their employees work from home might want to reconsider: The majority of employees say the workplace can be just as distracting, according to new research.
The study by the professional social networking site LinkedIn revealed that 89 percent of professionals worldwide admitted they are unable to accomplish all tasks on their daily to-do list.
Overall, 26 percent of those surveyed confessed that they are easily distracted, with those in the arts being sidetracked the easiest. The study shows workers in agriculture were least likely to be distracted.
Agriculture workers also led the way in getting their daily tasks finished. The consumer and service industries also had high rates of completed daily to-dos.
Employees in the legal, education and medical fields were the least likely to get everything accomplished, according to the research.
The study found women were the most likely to develop a daily task sheet in the first place. More than 70 percent of women reported frequently keeping to-do lists, compared with just 60 percent of men.
LinkedIn's Connection Director Nicole Williams offers several tips for professionals looking to be more efficient in completing their daily tasks.
- Track Your Time: Unless you’re craving the pleasure of the scratch-off that comes with completing a task, it is unlikely you're listing activities like "bathroom break" or "surfing the Internet," so spend a week tracking all your time at work. It is worth finding out if you’re spending an inordinate amount of time on unproductive tasks to understand why you were unable to get to everything done.
- Build an Efficiency Routine: Having a regular list of tasks that need to get done every day will help not only keep you focused but also ensure you’re able to respond to inevitable diversions of your attention. The regularity of routine is real motivation to get your to-do’s done.
- Conquer the Dregs: These are the things that you find on your list repeatedly because they are either difficult things, non-essential things or things you just don’t want to do. Write down your dreg list and divide it into the three categories: hard problems, non-essential items and those you don't want to do. For the hard pile, don't be afraid to ask for help from someone who’s also encountered the same issue and knows how to solve it. The non-essential pile should be reviewed by a trusted colleague, with items removed if they’re not critical to getting work done each day. Finally, the items in the "don't want to do" pile should be delegated to someone else if possible, such as an intern or new vendor.
The LinkedIn study was based on surveys of 6,500 professionals worldwide.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.