As hard as you work to be productive—to stay on your A-game, to block out distractions, to knock things off of your to-do list—the simple truth is this: We all have productivity blind spots. We all have things that sap our time and our attention, and in many cases we aren’t even aware of them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t work to identify them, or to be just a bit more diligent in eliminating those productivity killers from our life.
As a leadership speaker and teambuilding coach, I’ve spoken with a lot of business leaders about their own productivity drains, and I’ve pieced together a list of five common ones that might nevertheless surprise you.
Do These Productivity Killers Sound Familiar?
See if you recognize any of these:
Checking email throughout the day. Do you pause to check your new messages every time they appear? Or do you constantly have your Outlook window open to know the minute someone tries to contact you? I’ve got news: That’s stealing a great deal of your attention and concentration. Turn your email alerts off, and set aside time to check and respond to all your messages once or twice a day, instead.
Being too open-ended about meetings. Never be afraid to insist, before accepting a meeting request, that it starts and ends at certain times. Never hesitate to excuse yourself from the meeting if it starts to go over (“Well, we said we’d end at 3, and I’ve got other appointments to keep, so I’m going to have to bow out now”). Never be afraid to decline a meeting invitation if you simply don’t think it’s necessary or valuable.
Taking your work home. Worst of all: Taking it into the bedroom. To maintain productivity, you’ve got to give yourself some time to recharge your batteries in the evening. When you’re at work, do work. When you’re at home, commit to leisure, family, and rest.
Multitasking. It’s not making you work better or get more done, as study after study confirms. Skip the multitasking and focus your efforts on one thing at a time.
Not taking time to get moving during the day. A sedentary life will kill your energy and corrode your mood. It may seem counterproductive, but it’s actually highly productive to take a few minutes to work out during your day—even if it’s as simple as walking around your building a lap or two.
You may be surprised at some of the opportunities you have to be more productive—so seize them today! Start by spending some time empowering yourself through ACES course work.