Author Archives: Julia Gifford

About Julia Gifford

Julia writes about productivity, business, marketing and ecommerce.

Top 24 unproductive applications of 2014 and what that tells us

We recently pulled out the statistics of the most-used unproductive applications so far used in 2014. Some of the results are predictable, like social networks like Facebook and Youtube taking the top spots. Other results show us a change in working dynamic, for example, that Gmail is marked as a top unproductive app. Check out the rest:

Social media is dominating our work lives

Of the top 24 unproductive apps, 5 of those are social networking sites. Facebook, the undisputed leader of unproductive time spent at work, being by far the largest piece of the pie. Together, time spent on social networks accounts for about half of all of the unproductive time spent at work.

As social media takes an increasingly large role in our daily lives, it’s more relevant than ever that companies consider their policies on social media. One side of the debate maintains that time spent on social media is wasting company time, and therefore company money. Another side of the debate considers web surfing on social media as a necessary break throughout the day, saying that employees can’t be expected to be constantly engaged and productive for 8 hours straight.

It is not the presence of the technology itself that influences productivity but how it is used –Bulkey & Van Alstyne, 2004 

In this study by Bulkey and Van Atstyne, they conclude that using social media itself isn’t what’s unproductive, rather than the reasons for using it. For example, social media can be beneficial for sharing information, gathering knowledge, networking and communicating with customers.

Email is no longer considered productive

The fact that enough people have designated email as unproductive application is a telling sign. It used to be that being in your email was a symbol of productivity. And while it is a helpful tool for communication, and can at times be very productive, recent tendencies in the workplace are showing people’s addiction to email, constantly checking, etc.

However the latest productivity specialists suggest that constant email checking is a habit that decreases productivity, as it pulls you out of a certain task, and you’re not left with a long enough stretch of time to delve deeply into your work. A study by Altos Origin says 40% of employee time is spent working on internal emails alone. Productivity experts say that 80% of those emails are a waste of time, bringing no value to the company.

Suggestions and best case practices offer creating a habit to limit email checking time to a few times per day, and working on them in batch. Other suggestions suggest to avoid email first thing in the morning, and rather tackle the day’s most important task right off the bat.

Some research shows that those employees who use social media throughout the day produce the same amount of results as those who do not, due to the mental break that it allows, and the resulting spur of productivity that occurs from a rested mind.

Video-watching at work is a thing

According to a study, 64% of employees watch videos at work. Our collected data shows that within the top unproductive applications you’ll find Youtube, Netflix and Hulu. This brings video-watching at work to 23% of all wasted time.

Similar to the argument on social media usage, breaking and relaxation is a necessary part of the working day to rest the mind so that the employee is able to return to their work at a higher level of productivity.

Food for thought

The working climate around us is changing. It’s up to you how you manage your time and build habits. A manager or business owner will have to decide on the policy on social media, email communication and leisure time at work. Will it be

Employees want to have fun as well. Besides social media, top visited unproductive applications include sites that are just plain fun(ny), like 9gag, imgur, and even just a site to play puzzles and logic games. We can see that employees are looking for entertainment throughout the day.

5 Reasons to Have Fine Art in the Workplace

Guest post by Andre Smith

For years, millions of employees and customers across the nation have been consigned to working in drab, uninteresting offices with painfully bare walls. Fortunately, times are changing: business owners are beginning to realize the tremendous benefits to decorating their workplaces with fine art. Last year, a study from the British Council for Offices found that over 90% of employees believe that featuring art prominently in the workplace boosts overall productivity, while 86% of those surveyed explicitly agreed that art is “more relevant than ever” in today’s office environment. While the reasons to display artwork in the office are endless, today we will be focusing on just five, as follows.


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Build a culture of high performance – start looking at your staff’s needs

This is a guest post from Christopher Austin from

Several years of practice and research have been devoted to improving performance management in companies worldwide. However, the conventional understanding of the performance review process is inefficient in the eyes of employees, managers, CEOs and company owners. Studies have shown that annual reviews are not helping increase employee engagement and performance; what really makes employees happy is the day-to-day process of offering feedback, leveraging talent and communicating expectations.


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New Feature! Cuztomizable Employee Time Table

Because not all employees work the same hours every day of the work week. Now you can customize your employees’ timetable to reflect their actual working day, even if it changes every day. 

What this really means:

You can now set a specific working time for any employee. Account admins and owners are able to set unique starting times and workday lengths to any individual employee. Whereas previously, it was only possible to set one working time for the entire company. This will lead to improved data accuracy in reports, with individual start times, employees working on later shifts aren’t marked as “late” simply because they begin work at a later time.

This is most beneficial for companies that have employees that work different shifts throughout the day

Setting up customized working time

Go to Settings -> Employees. Find the employee whose work time you would like to customise. Select “Edit”. The scroll down to the section “Customized Work Schedule” and choose “Edit”.

A new window will appear with a calendar, that will look like this:

This calendar will pop up, where you'll be able to create a customised schedule

This calendar will pop up, where you’ll be able to create a customised schedule

You’re able to change the working time for all days, or you can select, for example, every Friday of the month. Then you can alter the starting time and workday length for every day that you’ve selected.

Here you see every Friday has been selected. You can change working time for those, exclusively.

Here you see every Friday has been selected. You can change working time for those, exclusively.

Make sure to hit “Save”!

New Feature – Archiving Employees to Pay Less and See More

Now account owners and administrators have it even easier – they can archive employees when there will be an extended period of absence, so that the company doesn’t have to pay for the employee while they’re away, and so that they don’t affect the company’s productivity statistics.

Archive employees when you know they’re coming back

Situations when you would wand to use the employee archiving function is when you have an employee that will have an extended period of absence, but you know that they’re coming back. Situations when you might want to archive an employee:

  • the employee has gone on maternity or paternity leave
  • the employee is going on a sabbatical
  • the employee is a contractor who works with your company periodically, but not constantly

You don’t pay for archived employees

When an employee is archived, they’re no longer part of the amount of employees you’re paying for monthly. This way your company can avoid paying for inactive employees.

Archiving employees

Archive employees to keep them out of your reports

The benefit of archiving employees (besides not having to pay for them) that you know won’t be showing up at work for a while, is that they won’t be constantly showing up in your reports as “absent”, and messing up your statistics. Their data will still show up in previous months when they had been active. At any point it’s possible to restore an archived employee. That can be done at the sample place the employee was archived – under “settings”->”employees”. Have any questions? Be sure to get in touch at!


Private Time Reminders Have Arrived!

A common problem DeskTime users have is that when they put on “Private Time” mode (where no time is tracked or goes towards the working day), they forget to take it off. That lead to lots of time that was spent actually working was completely unaccounted for. 

You will never have the problem of lost working time again, thanks to the new Private Time feature.

You will automatically be reminded in 15 minutes that you’re still in Private Time.

This will pop up on your screen

This will pop up on your screen

That way, if you’ve forgotten, you simply uncheck Private Time, and get back to tracking all the work you’re doing. If you’re still using Private Time and don’t want to track your time, you can simply ignore the reminder. You’ll get another one in 15 minutes, and every 15 minutes after that.  

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3 simple resolutions to maximize productivity in 2014

It’s a new year, a time for looking back at your previous year, and looking ahead to the next. Here are three very simple resolutions that will keep productivity high in 2014.

1. Focus on the few vital tasks

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle (a.k.a. the 80/20 rule)? It states that 80% of results come from 20% of the causes. This means that of all of your daily tasks, you will get 80% of your total daily results from those 20% of tasks.

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The Productivity of Breaks

For many people, being productive is doing with a “Get Shit Done” mindset and attitude. And while it’s undeniable that work can only be done when a person is actually doing something, there’s a growing mountain of evidence that points towards breaks as an improving factor in an individual’s productivity. We’re going to look at this mountain and get to the bottom of why it seems that doing nothing is helping us do other stuff.

Not everyone can concentrate for 8 hours straight

Not everyone can concentrate for 8 hours straight








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Become a DeskTime Affiliate Partner

Earn for every customer you send our way

We’ve launched an affiliate program that will let you make money for every client you send to us – simply sign up to become an affiliate parter,  suggest DeskTime to others who might benefit from time tracking, and then watch as you make money.

The way it works

1. You create an account – you’ll be given several different links, each one is linked to your account. So we know if someone comes to our site from your link, then we know to credit you!

2. Share your links – send your links to people who you think might be interested. Or just put your links out into the internet! It’s up do you!

3. Earn money – you get notified when someone has registered to DeskTime from your links. Like every DeskTime user, they get a one month free trial to see if they like it. At the end of the month, if they decide to continue using DeskTime, then you begin to earn. You get 25% of the amount they pay, every month!

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20 Minutes, 3 Steps, Higher Productivity

Don't make more work for yourself

Don’t make more work for yourself

Believe it or not, there are three easy steps you can do at the end of your workday to make make yourself more productive. All it takes is to take 20 minutes to prepare. Here’s what you’ll do:

1) Arrange for the next day

Place everything you need for the next place in the place you’ll need it. Things like pulling out the files you know you’ll have to work with, putting the things you won’t need farther away from yourself, and things you will need, closer.

2) Clean your desk

Start the day off with a clean slate. The less knick-knacks, memos, old bills, and stacks of paper will only serve as another possible distraction. Get rid of it. Or put it all in a box until you can deal with it – whatever works for you.

3) Write down the top 3 things that are a priority for you for the following day

And start off right away with those! Don’t even open your email, because we know what a bottomless pit of time-sucking that can be. The feeling of knocking-off a must-do priority item off your to-do list at the very beginning of the day will make sure that not only have you actually done something of value today, but the feeling of getting things done will be so exhilarating that you’ll gladly fling yourself into the next assignment.

Hit the ground running!