When it comes to personal productivity, most of us can be better. If we eliminate some bad habits or time wasters, how much more could we accomplish? Could we carve out more time to spend with family and friends? Or maybe just do things we enjoy? The first step to getting more done starts with changing some behaviors. What are you doing or not doing today that prevents you from being productive at work or home?
Common Productivity Roadblocks
You can’t remember what you have to do. If you don’t have a method to easily and effectively capture tasks that need attention, things get overlooked. If you don’t write it down, you simply forget. There are various apps available to capture tasks. Most of them can sync with all your devices: computer, tablet, and phone. Choose one and your to-do list will always be close at hand!
Tasks on your list don’t make it to your calendar. You need to set time aside in which to do the tasks that need to be done. Lists provide a reminder of what you need to do, but they won’t get done until you schedule them on your calendar. Most of the apps for tasks and to-do lists work with your calendar.
Set aside the wrong time. Are you working against your energy? Some of us are morning people, others night people. Align your tasks with your energy levels. So try to schedule important tasks when energy levels are high.
Miscalculate how long tasks take. We often think tasks take less time than they do. It’s a common issue. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day and add some buffer time for the unexpected.
You’re the wrong person for the job. Recognize your strengths (and weaknesses) and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. None of us are experts at everything. So don’t waste time on tasks you can delegate or outsource. Your time is valuable so spend it doing the right things. You’ll be more productive — and probably a lot happier.
The task is overly complex. It’s human nature to avoid tasks that are too complex or cumbersome. They often take a lot more time. Finding big blocks of time in your day to work on them makes it easy to understand why we put them on the back burner! The best solution is to chunk complex tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces and then attack them over time.
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. — Vincent Van Gogh
Space is unorganized. If your workspace is disorganized and cluttered, it will steal time and energy from your day. If you spend a lot of time looking for stuff to get started, then it’s time to organize your workspace.
Unclear goals and priorities. Without clear goals, you have no basis for making decisions on how you spend your time or prioritize the many choices you face daily.
I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. — Jimmy Dean
Unrealistic workload. Sometimes life does overload you. Usually (or hopefully) these are temporary. Recognize it and delegate or eliminate the non-essentials during these times.
In transition. Life changes sometimes make it difficult to determine how to invest your time. The best way to overcome this is to re-identify your goals and create a roadmap for the change.
The work environment is full of interruptions. Being easily accessible or readily available has its drawbacks. Recognize this and plan for it. Create a block of time each day that is interruption-free and under your control – even if you must leave your office (or your home) to get it.
Need to be a helper. Assisting others personally or professionally can make your life rich and rewarding. But only when it’s kept in balance. Too much can make you resentful and overwhelmed. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own need to be appreciated and feel valuable that we don’t let other people help us. You empower people when you allow them to contribute, so let others help you too!
Love creating. You keep starting projects but have a hard time finishing them. But half-finished projects don’t deliver results and the sense of accomplishment that comes with getting things done. This zaps energy and hurts productivity. Get some results-oriented people involved with your projects — employees, colleagues, or a business coach can help. Spend some time with people who love getting things done.
A need for perfection. Not all tasks are created equal. Do you feel compelled to do everything at the same level of excellence? If you set the same high standards for every task, you will not finish anything. Adjust your standards based on the specific tasks. Some are worth your extra effort, some are not. Remember, sometimes good is good enough!
Fear of losing creativity. Some people fear that imposing structure or routines in their lives will squelch their creativity. As a result, their lives are chaotic and often stressful. Therefore, you need to learn to trust that you can put structure in your schedule and still be creative. You don’t have to plan every minute and hour, but you can map out a general rhythm to your day.
The first step to making some changes comes from recognizing the need to do so. Don’t try to fix them all at one time. Focus on one then move to the next.
Tired of Hitting Roadblocks?
Are productivity and other issues causing roadblocks? Would another set of eyes and accountability from an expert help you to get more done? If the answer is a resounding YES, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation today.
About Joan Nowak. I’ve been helping business owners turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business, common-sense approach empowers my clients and drives improvements in critical areas, including revenue, operations, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.