9 Productivity Killers

By Andrew Hamilton | Productivity

Sep 04

I have seen many people feeling good about the amount of work being done.  They are moving stuff around and ticking items off their To-Do lists.  Brilliant right.  WRONG.  More often than not this is being busy but not being productive.  I have listed 9 Productivity Killers you should avoid.

1 Multitasking

There are very few of us who can actually Multitask, this means the rest of us are Split Tasking.  As good as we are at each task we are completing we are adding wasted time by changing between them.  The solution to this is to batch tasks and set aside specific time blocks to complete one task at a time.

2 Actively Checking Email

We lose up to 25 minutes of productivity each time we interrupt a task to check email, according to a 2007 study by Microsoft.  Set specific time blocks through the day to check and action email. There are training videos on Email in the Members area.

3 Putting Off Your Most Important Tasks

Most people lose energy during the day, and motivation generally drops with it. The morning is the best time to tackle the Important and Significant tasks.  Putting off Important and Significant tasks to later in the day reduces your ability to produce great results.  Some of the reasons we defer Important and Significant tasks are in this list.

4 Too Many Meetings

Meetings are great, some times, but unfortunately in most instances end as a waste of time.  If there is not a clear agenda and well-managed timelines the meeting will run long and be hijacked by different sideline agendas.  Nothing is more infuriating to me than when the person calling the meeting turns up late. When the meeting does start it meanders over several topics and at the end the productive points are in 5 or 10 minutes.

5 Sitting for Too Long

The longer we sit the less alert we become. So stand up and move around at regular intervals.  Talk to your co-workers, don’t email people in the same office. Invest in a workstation that can adjust from sitting to standing. A study by the Texas A&M University Health Science Center indicated this could produce a 46% increase in productivity.

6 Failing to Prioritise

Being driven by the Tyranny of the Urgent is the best way to do very little of any real importance.  Having too many items on your To-Do list will lead to distraction and frustration.  When nothing is getting done and you add more than you remove you quickly lose motivation.  Each morning before you start your day or each evening before you end your day go through your To-Do list and prioritise.  Decide what 1 or 2 things are important and significant and make sure you get those done early. I have come across this report about Charles M. Schwab, a couple of times this week from different sources so figured it was important for me to share.

7 Over-Planning

Planning out every minute of every day doesn’t allow for the unexpected.  It is these unexpected events, requests and urgent items that can throw out your entire day and are often hard to recover from.  For each task you want to complete, decide how long it is likely to take and double it.  Block out the time and get stuck in.  If you finish ahead of time you can finesse the output or spend the time savings on quick email review or start the next task early.

8 Under-Planning

“If you Fail to Plan you Plan to Fail” is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin and it still holds value today.  Realising that what you are doing is no longer inline with what you wanted will generate many wasted hours.  Similar to this is Management without Leadership.  A good manager will produce a brilliant path through the jungle but without Leadership he could be heading in completely the wrong direction or even going around in circles.

9 A Chaotic Workspace

Chaos and clutter will demoralise you and hinder your ability to focus on the important task at hand.  Some have said that your desk represents your mind.  I am not sure that is the case but if the state of your desk is stopping you from identifying what needs completing next or stopping you from finding what you need then it is wasting precious time that could be used to produce more money now or more time later.

Can you relate to any of these or do you think I have left something out of the list?  Leave a comment I would love to hear your thoughts

  • Dee says:

    A great read first thing on a Monday morning! Numbers 1 and 2 are my biggest time vacuumes…

    • Thanks for sharing Dee.
      For me, my issues are around meetings and urgencies in the business.
      I generally have Priorities but I don’t hold to them as I should. I let the urgent cries for help distract me from the task.
      I also recently changed to a stand-up workstation and have seen some really great improvements.

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