We’ve all been there. You sit down to work on a project, hours fly by, and you find that you’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.
Whether you work in an office setting or at home, distractions are lurking around every corner. Your productivity is being destroyed by things you aren’t even aware of.
In trying to increase my productivity during the day, I took a look at the top 10 things that prevented me from getting my work done efficiently. Luckily, there are easy solutions to these common (and some not so common) productivity zappers.
Not having a clear goal
Before starting a project, be sure that you can clearly define what success will look like at the end. If you don’t, you will likely find yourself working in circles, unsure of what to aim at.
When you can articulate the goal you are trying to accomplish, you will be able to layout a clear and concise path of how to achieve it.
Which leads me to the next productivity killer…
Absence of a “To Do” list
Once you have a goal in mind, you can begin to name the steps that you need to take to accomplish it. From there, you can prioritize your tasks and get to work.
It is not uncommon to begin working on several components of your project all at once. While some people find success with this, most do not. When you begin working on too many things simultaneously, they don’t get done well.
Let me reiterate. To be productive, know what you are trying to accomplish and how to accomplish it.
I, more than once, am guilty of falling into the “social media rabbit hole.” These social apps have been designed to be highly addictive. You intend to look at your phone for just a moment but, somehow, thirty minutes have just flown by.
When working on something important, I encourage you to step away from social media. Resist opening up a browser tab to quickly log in to Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to keep your phone out of sight.
For some, this may be a hard habit to break. With practice, it will become easier and your productivity will skyrocket.
You’ve put your phone in your desk drawer to reduce distraction. However, it keeps beeping or vibrating every time someone likes your photo or you get a personal email. Or, even worse, you work from your phone so these notifications are always right under your nose.
Solution? Disable notifications on your apps so they don’t automatically pop up on your screen. Then, when you have time, you can check to see what you have missed during your productivity spree.
We live in a world where people are in constant contact. Leaving your cell phone off or silenced during your working hours may not be possible. I know a lot of people who communicate with their bosses or clients primarily through text messages.
Sending a quick text response to someone can be very beneficial. However, if you find yourself having a full-blown conversation via text, your productivity has just gone right out the window.
Often, a phone call can be more efficient if the issue can be handled quickly. If not, leave your text messages unread until you have completed your tasks.
Lack of boundaries
A lot of people enjoy that their office is a social place. Coworkers can easily stop by for a casual chat to help break up to monotony of your workday.
Conversations can last much longer than originally intended. I mean, we are social creatures. You may not want to offend anyone by backing out of a conversation, so, you put off your work for a bit.
However, putting boundaries into place with your coworkers can boost your productivity and your work relationships.
Work on saying things like, “I’d love to catch up with you but I’m in the middle of a big project right now. Do you mind if we chat later?” This allows you to continue your work while also letting your colleagues know that they are important to you.
Having a messy workspace can be a huge distraction. Although you are staring at your computer screen, the clutter in your periphery can cause your brain to lose focus on your project.
Keep important things that you need to follow up on in a certain place, throw away garbage, and consider narrowing down your gigantic pen collection.
By creating a calm and clean workspace, your brain won’t have to focus on the mess going on around it.
Trying to do it all
Your productivity can easily be squashed by trying to do all parts of a project – even things that you don’t know much about. You do not have to try to be a superhero if you simply don’t know how to.
Try delegating the pieces you are having trouble with to people who know more about that aspect of the project. This will save you time and a headache.
The “Let me just…” syndrome
As I was writing this article, so many things that I needed to do popped into my head. “Let me just send a quick email to my son’s school about XYZ,” “let me just look and see if that duvet cover went on sale yet,” “let me just [fill in the blank here].”
If you are anything like me, your brain is like an internet browser with several tabs open at once.
The best way to deal with this is to keep a notepad close by (or a word document open) and write these things down as they pop into your head. That way, they are out of your mind and you can remember to complete them later.
Stress can easily stall your productivity. Chronic stress or anxiety can lead you to accomplish absolutely nothing.
It is nearly impossible to focus on work when your mind is preoccupied, your body is fatigued, and you just want to go home.
Stress is one of those things that may require you to step away from your work to be more productive. Some temporary, quick solutions to stress include a brisk walk outside, deep breathing, listening to music, or anything that clears your mind.
When you’re not working, be sure to get enough exercise, sleep, and self-care in whatever form it takes for you.
If you find yourself being crippled by stress, you must ask for help. Many resources can assist you in feeling like yourself again and there’s absolutely no shame in seeking them out.
Thanks for reading…