Ever have one of those days that starts with a long list of to-do’s and ends with a “Where did the day go?” and a list that is only slightly shorter? We never start out the day planning to waste half of it, but if you start tallying up how you spend your time, you will realize that’s exactly what we do. The worst part is that most often it’s impossible to figure which time waster was to blame (since chances are, it was a combination of them).
How to Avoid These Top 10 Productivity Killers
#10: Technology Fail — Not knowing how to use the technology tools you rely on every day is a huge drain on your time! Take the time to learn the short cuts that will enable you to work faster and avoid wasting time fixing avoidable operator errors that force you to backtrack and redo things multiple times.
#9: Interruptions –Every time you divert your attention from a task, you have to spend extra time getting back on task. Multiply that by all the telephone, email, social media, text message and office visitor interruptions you deal with in a day and that’s a lot of wasted time. Establish boundaries during your focus time!
#8: Disorganization — Even simple tasks take 10 times as long when you are disorganized. Start by addressing the common sources of chaos — lost keys, forgotten meetings, missed deadlines, overloaded inbox, random filing system — and systematically create systems for everything you do.
#7: Creative Stuckness — Sometimes you simply can’t get into work mode because the creativity just isn’t there. Learn how to get yourself unstuck and back into the creative zone!
#6: Low Energy — For whatever reason — tiredness, hunger, poor lifestyle — low energy means you are battling your body to get stuff done (and most of the time, your body will win by either forcing you to stop or slowing you down). Support your productivity by supporting your body with enough food, sleep and exercise!
#5: Clutter of Any Kind — Clutter drains your productivity for two reasons: 1) clutter makes everything more difficult — from finding a pen to getting out the door on time and 2) clutter is distracting, constantly vying for your attention, “Stop what you are doing and pay attention to ME!” Clear the clutter chaos and get in the habit of keeping it that way!
#4: Procrastination — Avoiding doing a dreaded tasks costs you both in time and wasted emotional energy. Sometimes you just have to jump in and start doing stuff (even if you are muddling your way through it).
#3: Distractions — Everywhere you turn, there is a distraction waiting to pull you off track — from that adorable cat video your BFF just posted on Facebook to the raging debate on the parenting forum. Resist (and if you can’t resist, LIMIT how much time you spend by setting a timer).
#2: Fake Work Projects — Any work that doesn’t move you closer to your goals for your business is likely fake work. Examples include tidying up your desk, sorting through email, reorganizing your filing system, etc. because they don’t generate sales, fulfill orders or service customers! Yes, you need to support your productivity by clearing the clutter (see #5 above), but not at the cost of crossing off your priority to-do’s.
#1: Perfectionism — The need to only put things out there once they are absolutely, positively perfect will stop you in your tracks faster than any other time waster because 1) nothing will ever be perfect so you will likely sit on tasks for months or even years and 2) if you suffer from perfectionist tendencies, your version of good enough is likely higher than most peoples’ extraordinary. Remember the first rule of getting it done: good is good enough!