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Say No to Facebook and Twitter (At Least, During Office Hours)

Verna Austria 24.05.2012

It takes real discipline to stay focused and remain productive in the office. I’m sure you will agree when I say there are just so many tempting distractions that are too difficult to resist. At times, it can be a struggle to keep up with the 8-hour solid work devotion.  In fact, if one thinks about it, it is worthy of praise if anyone can truly say that he or she has put in at least six hours of real honest-to-goodness value work.  At least that’s what most studies from the management engineers and executive offices would claim, i.e. that out of a mandated eight hours one is expected to do meaningful work, only a fraction of the workers come close to achieving this level.

The compelling chatter most everyone in the office get into as to who is KC dating now and the whirlwind search for love, the intimate story being shared by an officemate on her weekend respite, the late breakfast in the pantry or the prolonged lunch “hour” that requires a new definition of the concept of a one hour, the imperative coffee breaks, the unusually constant visit to the CR, and oh yes, who’s that inutile witness in the ongoing Corona impeachment case blocking other possible relevant activities at the Philippine senate – all these getting in the way of one’s near obsession to do “my daily Facebook and Twitter ritual”!   Oh, incidentally, I need to catch up on m work output deadlines!  And “btw, I was l8 dis a.m. becoz of bad trafik”!

If we are already so inadequate doing our mainline work, how much more time do we have to get engaged in a desirable level of being able to multi-task?  According to Gloria Mark, a leader in interruption science, the average knowledge workers switch tasks every three minutes, and, once distracted, workers take nearly a half-hour to resume the original task. (Source:

It is easy to accept how much time we tend to lose being distracted willfully or hesitatingly or inevitably.  What to do?  Well, we are all creatures of habit.  But habit is a function of one’s character, as we have been told or read somewhere.  We’ve heard of high performing cultures the likes of SGV where time is equivalent to value.  Surely, SGV’s culture was built over the years through incessant pounding of the value of time.  In a larger context, think of this tiny nation in Europe who has made it to being on time a way of life and to remind us all every tick of a second that it makes for good self-esteem to value time.

We’ve risked stretching the point, but without being out of context, if only to stress that while working the Facebook is a good pause that refreshes an otherwise crowded work schedule, it is really edifying to harness one’s strength of character to delay contributing to the wealth of Mr. Zuckerberg much later in the day, preferably after the real work for the day has truly been accomplished.

Now, back to the world of cyberspace and social network which we find ourselves even in the workplace inescapably engulfed in, here are some tips on how to optimize our time, at least with what’s left of it during the day.

1.      Be in control of your browser and close the websites not related to the research at hand. Even if this means goodbye to FB and Twitter for a few hours. 

2.      Limit unnecessary conversations with officemates during the peak of your creativity. Perhaps wait until lunch break?

3.      Refuse personal, prolonged Instant Messenger chats. YM is a good avenue to keep up with friends but hey, not when you are preparing the documents for the client meeting!

4.      Assign specific time-window in taking private calls and sending SMS.

5.      Maximize your breaks and perform all the “me-time” on this given free slot.

6.      Organize your desk. A clean workspace freshens up the mind, helping you create quality output.

7.      List your attainable activities in the morning and make sure it is done within the day.

8.      Be on top of your schedules and do not be mesmerized by the enchanting tricks of doing other things than work. Remember, you have all your time later to browse the net, chat with friends, and do your own stuffs.

9.      Learn to block office noise. If you are drafting a business proposal and the people on the next cubicle kept on chatting over something superficial (and you can’t help but eavesdrop), use an earphone and listen to soothing music OR go to an empty boardroom to finish your draft.

10.  Try not to delay the strong will to improve your manner at work.

At the end of each day, it is gratifying to go home knowing you did your best to accomplish your projects, and have allotted fair amount of time to what is due while affirming that tomorrow is another productive day!


Image: pixomar/

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