How Did People Waste Time At Work Before the Internet?

May 3rd, 2017

By Eric Frisch, 10x Management Writer

On average, people spend close to an hour a day on non-work activities while they’re at the office. Whether it’s talking about the big game last night, or the series that just debuted on Netflix, or the myriad of political distractions on today’s agenda, people just can’t seem to focus at work. And that’s not even mentioning the internet.

Before the internet, people obviously had distractions at work. They took smoke breaks, read magazines and newspapers, paid bills, wrote letters, called friends, played games and likely did a lot to avoid work. Maybe they sent telegrams, I don’t know. Maybe they went for a walk outside, or became an expert at the New York Times crossword. But it was a lot easier to block out the outside world and focus on what was in front of you.

With the internet, the world comes to you. A groundbreaking event that happens in Japan is instantly in front of you. We have newspapers that update literally every second. We have friends that post on social media every second. Often times, they expect you to “like” their things immediately. All of this information is directly in front of us in our computer screens. If it’s not in our computer screens, it’s in our pockets on our mobile phones. If it’s not on our mobile phones, it’s on our friend’s mobile phones. How many times have you been at work, being really productive on something, only to have a co-worker yell out to the office, “Oh my god! Did you hear that Fox News just ousted Bill O’Reilly?!” The outside world is inescapable with today’s technology. Turn off your phone for a day, you might feel better about yourself, but you’ll also be disconnected from the world. Like it or not, we’re living in an instantly connected world.

At 10x Management, we’re on a mission to find out how people waste time at work. If you’re from the pre-Internet era, we would love to hear from you. If you’re a millenial, write it down in the comments section. And check out The Slacker Tracker for a more colorful picture of how we spend time at work.

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