Call it a sign of the times, or simply the busy lives we lead, but nowadays we are having to battle with more things to do, things to distract us, and on top of all that we have technology to deal with too. This can all add up to a recipe for productivity disaster, so how can you make sure you avoid those pitfalls and be as productive as it’s possible to be?
A bad start to the day, a poor night’s sleep, a lack of caffeine, these are all standard reasons we simply don’t feel like doing anything in the morning, but it’s important to approach each working day with a mindset that you’re going to get things done, no matter what!
Here’s a few pointers in the right direction.
Pitfall number 1 – Not having a plan
How are you supposed to get your work done if you have no clue what it is you need to do? You need a plan! A good starting point is a piece of paper and a pen, and you simply write down every task you have to do that day; from there, prioritise it into the order of importance – you simply do the most important thing first.
If you want to stretch it out so you can make sure you get several deadlines met on time, you can give yourself a list of things you need to do that week.
Make sure you get rid of anything you don’t really need to do, anything which will waste your time, and make sure you list the items which have deadlines. Prioritise again, and work downwards, ticking things off as you go. You’ll get a sense of achievement with every single thing you mark off.
Obviously you are going to have tasks which come in out of the blue, and it’s important to add them to your list and review it every day.
Pitfall number 2 – Too many meetings, not enough time to work
Do you actually get anything done during a meeting? Probably just over half are total time wasting events, so try and streamline down as many as you can. If you need to have some input into a meeting and you want to dedicate your time somewhere else, can you send a representative?
If you’re the one who has to organise the meeting and attend it, set a time limit and don’t go over it, don’t invite too many people, make sure you stick to the meeting purpose specifics, and make sure you end the meeting with a solution and a person responsible for putting that solution into practice.
Pitfall number 3 – Lack of job satisfaction
If you are working in a job you don’t like, or you are surrounded by co-workers with whom you don’t get along, this is not going to be the best combination for a successful and productive time. On the other hand, of course, you don’t want to be working with people who you are always laughing and joking with too, because this is a distraction; no, some middle ground is always the best recipe here.
Pitfall number 4 – Doing too much at any one time
Yes, multitasking can be a good thing sometimes, but it’s often the case that the jobs you’re trying to do simultaneously never really get finished in their entirety. Unfinished jobs are a big no no for productivity, so the best course of action here is to stick to one job, finish it, and then move onto the next.
Pitfall number 5 – Checking emails too often
If you are constantly checking your emails then you have a habit that needs to be broken. Extra work often comes in through emails, or chats that basically take you away from your work.
Set yourself a time to check emails, so perhaps after lunch, halfway through the afternoon, and obviously when you arrive in the morning for work. If you are expecting something urgent, you can be excused, but don’t make it a job to check every five minutes.
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