We all desire to be successful in one area or the other in our lives. This can be in business, sports, art, performance, music or agriculture. These activities demand our effort, concentration and high levels of performance. The path to success is paved with victories, failures, distractions and time-wasters. In most cases, we experience failure due to falling for distractions and time-wasters. These are the most destructive elements on the path to success. If left unchecked, these negative elements can derail even the most astute individuals and cause them to fail in their endeavors. Today, we have time-wasters and distractions in the workplace. They take a variety of forms. Some of them are so subtle that we don't notice that they are distracting us until the damage is already done. It is important to know the ones that can plague us. Here are the most common distractions and time-wasters that can prevent you from being successful.


This is a famous killer of time. Procrastination is simply putting off to tomorrow something that you can do today. We often do this with the tasks that we feel are currently unappealing. Once you begin to procrastinate, you begin a cycle that robs you of your time. You begin to get lazy and this can actively destroy all your chances of success at something. To avoid procrastination, simply divide large tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. You can prioritize these chunks according to their importance in your professional life. After that, you can start off your day by tackling the biggest and most critical chunks of work. This is because you have the most energy in the morning. After that, you can proceed to the less important tasks. By tackling large pieces of work in small chunks, you can get a lot done in a short period of time.

Suggested Reading : A Quick and Effective Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating Right Now

Listening to too many opinions

It is entirely possible to get distracted by the opinions of other people. Young professionals or entrepreneurs often fall into this trap. They start off being driven, ambitious, focused and creative. However, they make the mistake of asking too many people for opinions on their business venture. Some of these people are genuine while a majority are simply detractors. It is highly important to get feedback on your actions. However, you should know how to filter out the important advice from the noise produced by those who do not want you to succeed. Having a negative opinion about your own ventures can lead to self-doubt and cause you to get distracted from your original vision. To avoid this, carefully pick out only a select number of people who you can ask for advice about your professional decisions and actions. Remember, too many cooks spoil the broth.

The Internet

If there is a distraction that takes up a tremendous number of working hours, it is this one. Going on the Internet to look through your social media is a major distraction that we deal with. According to Salary.com, 80% of the time that employees spend on the Internet has absolutely nothing to do with their professional work. The Internet has many attractive locations that we would want to check out for example our social media pages, sports sites, news portals and even gossip pages. To avoid this distraction, you can use tools such as a Google Chrome extension that is known as StayFocusd. It allows you to set a specific amount of time for particular websites every day. Once you use up your daily quota, it denies any further access until the next day. Moreover, you can take a proper lunch break for 30 minutes. This is more than enough time to go through your social media pages and not waste any of your working time.

Not having a plan or making a bad plan

One of the ways through which you can gain control over your day is by having a plan. This is a step by step guide on how you are going to tackle your tasks throughout the day. Approaching your day without a plan is a sure-fire way to waste your time. You will grasp at tasks with no order whatsoever. Moreover, you will spend too much time on some tasks and neglect the others. This will cause you to be inefficient in your work and eventually fail. A bad plan also has the same results. Ensure that you create a good plan for the next day every night before you sleep. This allows you to know what you are expected to do and prepare yourself for it. Moreover, you can set up your plan such that the high priority tasks go first and receive the most time while the lower priority tasks can be done later in the day for less hours. This is a good way to avoid time-wasting.

Unnecessary emails

The number 1 method of communication in the modern workplace is emails. They are highly convenient and allow us an opportunity to keep an electronic record of our communications. Unfortunately, we spend too much time looking through our emails. This not only wastes our time, but also distracts us from our duties. Halton Housing Trust conducted a study which revealed that reading through irrelevant emails causes us to lose up to 10 points from our IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Moreover, they discovered that 75,000 out of 95,000 emails sent in a conventional office are internal. This means that the information which they contain could have been communicated in a different way. Thankfully, there is a solution to eliminate the time-wasting nature of emails. Firstly, it is better to discuss something face to face than by sending emails back and forth over the matter. Moreover, ensure that you do not spend the first few minutes of your day checking emails. Do some constructive work for an hour before you take a look at your inbox. This allows you to start the day on a high note of concentration instead of buried in emails that do more harm than good.

Suggested Reading : 10 Effective and Efficient Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder

Workplace meetings

Approximately 42% of employees today agree that workplace meetings drain their productivity. They also feel that these conventions are a waste of their time. Despite delivering some important information about the company from time to time, workplace meetings can actually waste your time if the agenda does not concern you or you're already aware of it. Therefore, you can avoid this time-waster by enquiring about the agenda from the host of the meeting. Also, ask why they think that you should attend it. If you find that you are already conversant with the material being presented, you can skip the meeting and spend that time doing something more productive. On the other hand, you can request some colleagues to go in your place and brief you on it later. This will save you time and allow you to invest it in a wiser way. You can also utilize the 'first in, first out' strategy. This is where you agree to attend a meeting. However, right before you begin, you can ask the host to share the meeting's insights with you since you may leave early. Once they have done so, simply leave the meeting early and go complete more important activities. 

The Important Take Away

Distractions and time-wasters are responsible for the stagnation or failure of many careers. By staying vigilant and avoiding them, we can become more effective in our professional lives. These negative elements have been indicated above. Moreover, there are some tips to help you avoid getting distracted or wasting time at work that you can apply in your day to day life.