Sometimes it is the small things that get in our way from being as productive as we could be with the time that we have. It matters because time is our most precious commodity so the more productive we are the more time away from work we have.
Here are five simple things that can get in the way of our productivity. They are everyday issues that can be managed for better personal results.
One: Not having a plan for the day
Sounds simple but many of us head for work without thinking through the issues we will face, schedule we have or things that need to be accomplished. A twenty minute review before the day begins, or even the night before can help us prepare mentally for what needs to be accomplished that day. Even having a standard half hour to review the coming day first thing after getting to work can help remind us of what needs to completed that day. A small thing, but we forget easily.
Two: Not prioritizing our work
Not all work is created equal. In fact, some work is more important than other work but unless we take the time to prioritize and identify the most important we will often settle into the comfortable and easy - rather than doing the not so easy but most important work first. Prioritization of our energy at work separates the average from the most productive. Every day we should be able to identify what work is absolutely critical for that day, important but not critical or neither important or critical.
Most of us are tempted to procrastinate. Some of us specialize in it - even very bright people. Procrastination is used by some to force themselves to get things done up against a deadline. However, our best work is rarely done against deadlines but when we have time to think deeply. Procrastination as a habit is really about not wanting to live with appropriate personal discipline. That will filter into other areas of life as well. Procrastination is the enemy of productivity.
Four: Constant interruptions
When someone tells me that they love to multi-task what pops into my mind is that actually they are easily bored and don't like to focus. Our minds are most productive with focus rather than multi-tasking. This is why controlling our interruptions is a healthy thing do to, especially when focusing on the most important work which usually takes the greatest concentration. Don't allow an open door policy to get in the way of your productivity. Closing the door for a period of time has many advantages.
Five: Our smart phones
It may be that our smart phones are actually making us less productive rather than more productive. The same can be said for the constant interruptions of social media, all of which distract our minds from deep work and rob us of an amazing amount of productivity. With every interruption the mind must reorganize itself to refocus on the issues we were working on. In many cases vital thoughts or insight were lost because we allowed our smart phones to distract us.
All of us are susceptible to allowing things to get in the way of our productivity. In most cases, it is our own lack of discipline that allowed our productivity to be compromised. Being aware of those issues and sensitive to them can help us become more productive.