5 habits that are secretly killing your productivity

Wasting timeHave you ever reached the end of your work day feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything? You worked eight solid hours, skipped your lunch and only left your desk when nature called. Still you feel worn out and deflated.

How is that possible?

Well, my friend, you’ve become a victim of a productivity killer. These are habits that are preventing you from being efficient and effective at work.

Often you don’t even know you’re doing them. They seem innocent enough at first, but left too long, they wreak havoc with your time and energy.

If work leaves you feeling unfocused and overwhelmed, check to see if any of these habits sound familiar. Then, follow the action steps to lead you back to a place of control and calm.

1. Working from your inbox

These days, email is the most common form of business communication. It can be an effective tool or a black hole when it comes to using your time wisely. If you find you spend the majority of your day reading and responding to emails, your inbox has turned into a productivity killer.

Take Action:

  • Check your email at regular intervals throughout the day. This will keep you focused on the priorities you have already set out for the day. It will also prevent your inbox from becoming a task master – something you spend the majority of your time reacting to.

2. Overstuffing your To Do List

Many of us love our To Do List. It adds a feeling of order to our tasks and organization to our day. But an overloaded list is a killer when it comes to getting things done. If you rarely look at your To Do List and don’t have deadlines associated which each task, your task list has become a wish list.

Take Action:

  • Go through your task list and assign deadlines to each item.
  • Go to your calendar and assign a time slot to work on completing the task.

3. Avoiding templates and processes

All of us have things we must do routinely in our business. It may be responding to inquiries, logging our expenses or welcoming new clients. If you manually do the same thing over and over again, and you haven’t set up templates or systems, you’ll end up spinning your wheels and wasting both time and energy.

Take Action:

  • Create templates for emails to which you routinely respond.
  • Develop a process for repetitive tasks, e.g. welcoming new clients.

4. Delaying quick tasks

It’s easy to put things off for later, especially when it comes to a quick task. However, putting them off for too long will wreak havoc on your time. If you can accomplish something in fewer than 2 minutes, just get it done. It will take you just as long to create a task, add it to your list, and put time aside in your calendar.

Take Action:

  • Immediately deal with tasks that take fewer than 2 minutes.
  • Add tasks that take more than 2 minutes to your To Do List.
  • Create a project for tasks that require multiple steps.

5. Not having a business plan

I’m a firm believer in planning, especially when it comes to your business. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you’re moving in the right direction? Without knowing the answer, you’ll fall victim to working on whatever comes your way. And that could result in a big waste of time and energy.

Take Action:

  • Create your business plan. Map out your goals and objectives for whatever time period feels right for you.
  • Keep a diary of what you work on each day.
  • On a regular basis, review your diary and see if there is a mismatch between your goals and objectives, and what you’re actually working on. Adjust accordingly.

Which productivity killers have you encountered in your business? How did you tackle them? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

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