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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

This Just In: Meetings, Email, and Interruptions Hurt You More Than You Think

We hate to break this to you: Just because you’re at work does not mean you’re getting work done.

Don’t worry, though, you’re not alone. Software development company Atlassian created an interactive infographic that pinpoints the three biggest culprits of workplace distractions. (In no particular order, they are excessive emailing, pointless meetings, and constant interruptions.)

The whole thing is worth a look, but before you start piling your reading list with tips on getting to Inbox Zero, planning meetings that actually matter, and shutting down that overly chatty co-worker, here are a few of the highlights about these serial time wasters.

We know the temptation to check your inbox every half an hour (or every five minutes) is strong. But, Atlassian notes that 10 IQ points are lost when fielding emails—and that’s equal to missing an entire night’s sleep. In addition, did you know that $1,250 per employee is wasted annually because of spam, $1,800 because of unnecessary emails, and between $2,100 and $4,100 because of poorly written communications?

Ineffective meetings are just as costly. U.S. businesses spend $37 billion every year for employees to attend unnecessary meetings. Most employees go to, on average, 62 meetings a month, and consider half of them—approximately 31 hours monthly—time wasted. Here’s a breakdown of an average meeting attendee’s behavior:

And, finally, constant interruptions are more deadly than they seem. An average employee experiences around 56 interruptions a day (more if you are popular), and 80% of these interruptions are considered trivial.

So, don’t become another statistic. Check out the whole interactive infographic here—and then start maximizing your work productivity today.

Infographic courtesy of Atlassian. Photo of woman holding clock courtesy of Shutterstock.