The goal while you’re at work shouldn’t be to work harder. It should be to maximize the time you have. You want to be efficient not burned out. So much of what I learned when I worked in corporate was about time management skills and how to structure my day in a way that would set me up for success. We all have the same number of hours but it’s about who does the most with that time. Here are 7 things that hurt your productivity at work and what you can do about them.
Not Having a Plan
Having a plan when you start your day is crucial. I usually like to have one laid out the day before and adjust first thing in the morning if I need to. This lays the foundation for my entire day. I have a set of smalls goals that I know I must accomplish by the end of the day. By having this bird’s eye view to my day before it even starts, I can begin to anticipate challenges and block off time to complete my tasks. Now things don’t always go as planned but this way I can run my day instead of letting my day run me.
We all get sick. There are times when you get sick where you really just need to use that sick day and stay at home. I understand the pressure to show up and perform but not only will you be underperforming but you’ll also run the risk of spreading an illness to your coworkers. No one wants that. You’re better off taking the day off, resting up, and returning to work refreshed and ready to go.
Relationships in the office are important but this is the kind of behavior that can negatively impact those relationships and is a huge waste of time. It can be easy to get sucked into office drama and before you know it, you’re being distracted from the real task at hand. Once word gets around that you participate in this type of behavior, that reputation will be hard to shake. This isn’t the type of thing you want to be known for around the office.
There are days when I could spend an entire day checking and responding to emails. It can feel like a never-ending battle. If you respond to emails as they come in, it can really derail your productivity. This is especially true if you receive a high volume of emails. Now there are certain emails that will need your attention right away but you should block off times in your day to allow for correspondence. This way you can get back to everyone and you won’t disrupt your other tasks.
Multitasking is often touted as the ultimate skill. However, the old phrase jack of all trades master of none comes to mind. If you’re stretched too thin mistakes are bound to happen. Sometimes it’s best to take it one item at a time with complete focus and then move on to the next instead of trying to juggle multiple projects and pushing back the deadlines on all of them.
We all want to be accommodating at work and show that we can take on more responsibility. However, it’s important to know your limits. In order to accomplish more, you have to say no. This ties in a bit above about the point with multitasking. Being stretched too thin isn’t working efficiently. You certainly won’t be producing your best work or impressing anyone.
Not Asking For Help
Delegating might be one of the hardest skills to master. There are so many variables involved. It takes a lot of practice to get this skill down. It encompasses time management combined with managerial skills. Once you’re able to start delegating tasks it’ll free up your time to allow you to focus on the things that only you can do.
Once you figure out where you get distracted or become unproductive in the first place you can formulate a plan to address it. How do you deal with productivity issues at work?