Are You Wasting Time at Work?

Recent studies are proving what I’ve been saying the past ten years: the biggest time management mistake you make is not realizing how much time you waste. Instead of getting some real work done, here’s what’s happening.

Sporting News just revealed the results of a study about the possibility that sports is contributing to a decline in office productivity. [Among heavy enthusiasts, 45% either agreed completely or mostly with the statement “they probably spend too much time at work reading or thinking about sports,” while 74% indicated “they often talk about last night’s game with co-workers.” If their team is playing a late game, 79% of heavy enthusiasts said they will “stay up to watch it” and 67% indicated they regularly check sports web sites during the workday.] Now here is the kicker! Heavy sports enthusiasts spend on average over 31 hours a week following sports.

This is absolutely ridiculous. If you have achieved every goal you’ve set for yourself and have retired to live out the rest of your life doing absolutely nothing, then OK. But if you haven’t, let me be clear. You are spending 31 hours a week of your precious and limited time on this earth watching people who, early-on, set goals for themselves and struck out to live their dreams.
What have you done for yourself lately? Taken any classes lately?

There’s more.

In a personal productivity study of 38,000 people in 200 countries, Microsoft found that one third of employees’ time is spent unproductively.

According to a survey by America Online and, the average worker admits to wasting at least 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday. And can you believe that calculated that employers spend $759 billion per year on salaries for which real work was expected, but not actually performed.

What are People Doing Instead of Working?

The list of what people are doing instead of working is not a surprise and includes: personal Internet use, socializing with co-workers about sports and more, personal phone calls, instant messaging, running personal errands, planning personal events, running side businesses (on the cell phone), and more.

Another study found that 25% of the US work force reads blogs during business hours, and 75% of those blogs have absolutely nothing to do with work. In fact, the average amount of time people spend reading blogs during the week is 3.5 hours (you can read my blog because it’s about business and working smarter).

Years ago, studies proved that disorganization costs workers one to two hours a day…time lost from digging through piles looking for something. If you add the time it takes to backtrack to get something you forgot, helping other people find what they need, and looking for files on your computer, add another hour or two.

On the Other Hand
According to a study conducted by Life magazine, close to half of Americans (46%) take work home with them. Another study showed how email overload made people work an extra hour a day, either at work or when they get home.

This is crazy. On the one hand, you’re wasting time. Then on the other, you’re eating into your family time. Going forward this year, make a commitment to reduce the hours you spend at the office and reduce the amount of work you take home.

I understand that you’ll have to handle some personal business during the workday, but just don’t let it consume too much time. Make the commitment to put in a good, solid day’s work, stay focused on what’s important, and figure out ways to work smarter. You’ll get more done, and I guarantee you’ll be happier.

P.S. Use the calculator in the right sidebar to determine how much free time you have after doing all the things that MUST be done.


Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

One way to prevent identity theft…you can help

When I get credit card offers in the mail, the only reason I used to open the envelope was so I could shred the application.

I wouldn’t have to do this if the companies would stop allowing people to put a different address on the darn thing. All a crook needs to do is fill out the form with your name but give their address. This has been going on for years, and it’s one of the main methods identity thieves use to destoy lives that could take years to get back in order.

I’ve stopped destroying the application. Now I write a note directly on it asking the company to omit the option of changing the address. I send it back to them. I don’t know if it’ll do any good or not, but hopefully one day it will.

To be a country of so many smart people, we can do some of the dumbest, stupidest things…and we do it over and over.

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert

How to Create Buzz About You, Your Business

People say they “see me” everywhere. I am a solopreneur, but I have a powerful, international marketing machine in place.

I create buzz using the following methods.

  • My blog. I didn’t jump on the blog bandwagon right away because I’d been publishing a Webzine for years. Now I’m hooked. The best thing about the blog for me is that every time I think of something, I have somewhere to write and publish…unlike my Webzine that only comes out once a quarter. I installed a free widget in my blog that monitors traffic to my blog. Feedjit lets me know where people are coming from and what they typed in the search engine to find an article. I am delighted that people from all over the world are finding my articles.
  • Webzine (more free tips). I started a Webzine in 2001 and published regularly until 2008 because the blog works better for showing up in the search engines.
  • eSeminars (global training via the Web). I conduct seminars via the Web on getting organized and conquering email overload with Outlook. I’ve taught people in England, the Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Companies have also signed up for private sessions for their employees. I’m going to do more of these in 2008.
  • Article submissions to popular Websites. I’m a regular contributor to the stress-related site on When my site doesn’t show up in the search engine, my articles on will. I also have articles published at (this doesn’t show up in search engines as my blog and but it’s still worth it).
  • Media publicity. Journalists contact me all the time. I’m interviewed at least once a week. They find me in the search engines and other publications. I also respond to journalist queries. PRLEADS is a publicity service, and for $99 per month, journalist queries come to your Inbox, you respond, maybe get press. A free query service, HelpAReporterOut works too. I also train journalists and media executives so more of them know who I am and what I’m about. I also publish my own press releases. Note: it is important to show up in the search engines by your topic…not your name…they don’t know your name!
  • Seminars at national conferences. This is my main source of income (usually leads to corporate training gigs too). I love huge audiences and am enjoying building a national reputation.  Check out my schedule on my Website.
  • Workshops open to the public. As a computer trainer, I have to keep my skills up and nothing does that better than conducting hands-on workshops for busy people. I publicize these workshops on my Website and other event sites. I started these sessions to help small business owners who couldn’t afford to bring me to their organizations. As it turns out, corporate employees from companies such as The Home Depot, Hewlett-Packard, Estee Lauder, etc., are enrolling…works for me!
  • Association with credible organizations. I am a SCORE volunteer, and I teach classes at Georgia Tech for faculty and staff on how to get organized.

All these things boost my search engine rankings and help to feed the buzz. I love the fact that when you type in my expertise or training topics in any major search engine, I show up on the first pages. And I never paid one red cent to make it happen.

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Get quoted in the media

Peggy Duncan, personal productivity expert