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10 Statements That Kill Your Productivity

10 Statements That Kill Your Productivity

Productivity is usually associated to the amount of useful work done, targets accomplished and goals achieved. But in this world of distractions, where a million things are competing for each second of your attention, the focus span is reducing and getting some actual work done is increasingly becoming a battle against time. Things could be better though if we knew beforehand about these little monster killers of our time and energy, and the answer to the million dollar question we often ask ourselves; ”where did the day go?”

Here’s a list of 10 statements that account for poor productivity in our daily life:

1. I can’t do this now! 

Some people spend the whole day jumping from one mail to the other and finishing one task to start the next and still at the end of the day when they take stock of the work done, they realize they haven’t achieved much of what they set out to. It’s because they are exercising, what I like to call, second degree procrastination, the one in which you pass on the most important tasks of the day to do some other light work either because your main work is too complex or time consuming. They beat the bush playing around small tasks and answering simple e-mails which do not require much focus or work.

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2. I can finish all of this at once!

Much as we would like to, aren’t physically and mentally built to handle too many things at a time. Doing so results in lack of focused work, mistakes, forgetting things and anxiety. It is important to stick to what you are doing and take it to the finish before you pick something else up.

3. Got a lot to do, no breaks today!

Taking a break is not necessarily a waste of time or a time to chit chat and make unnecessary conversations On the contrary, taking healthy breaks and making for some no-work zones in your every day schedule allows you the breathing space to relax, rejuvenate and take stock of your projects progress and your own performance.

4. No schedules for me, I am flexible!

Some people believe that restricting their work in schedules and binding it in to-do lists are an impediment that does not allows them to do a lot. In reality, your mind is great at executing patterns and following routines. Organizing your days work in a sequence, defining boundaries to obstruct unnecessary tasks and establishing a structure around your work can greatly improve your efficiency.

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5. It’s all in my mind, I remember everything!

If you are used to going around with a mind that is full of ideas, thoughts and to-do lists, you are less likely to focus on the task at hand. Do a brain drain and write down everything on paper or just email a list to yourself. Work light headed!

6. It’s just a little time on the net!

OfficeTime.net conducted a survey of over 600 small business owners, freelancers and professionals and found out that an average person spends at least two hours per day surfing the Internet. That’s a lot of time! A little Facebook, twitter here, a little YouTube, Amazon there can eventually all add up.

Define boundaries around your work, deter those interruptions, put the phone on silence, turn off those notifications and block the sites that consume your precious minutes.

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7. I will complete all the major work today!

Trying to execute tasks throughout the day can be counterproductive as we do not have the same energy levels all through the day. This requires understanding your body and the hours you feel energized maximum. It is advisable to deal with complex tasks when you have your energy at the highest, and when the energy is waning away, is the time we should assign for work that does not require too much mental effort or is light work.

8. I believe in finishing- as- you- go!

Such impulsive workers take up impromptu meetings, leave the work at hand to cater to phone calls and respond to mails and texts during meetings. In short, they pick up any form of unscheduled work, taking up tasks at random without really assigning any priority to them on a first come, first serve basis. This is a major enemy that can affect your performance.

Control that impulse, assign priorities and start with finishing what is critical and needs to be finished before EOD.

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9. I will skip that Lunch/breakfast!

Feeling overwhelmed with meetings, emails and phone calls…..presentation lined up back to back, no time for food today please!

If you find yourself allowing for such mini hunger strikes on a busy day, it can backfire and you can end up making mistakes and losing focus. Your body needs both food and rest to perform at its best. A lack of any of the two can result in decreased energy and even sickness.

10. I can do that, No problem!

If you accept everything that comes your way then you are more likely to put up a bad show. It can be difficult for some people to exercise “NO” and they end up having too much on their plate. Everyone around you is happy but now you are stuck with more work and less time. Not a very appealing situation to be in!

Know your limits, learn to turn down irrelevant commitments, let go of all that is unnecessary, freeing up more time for what’s important.

Avoid these productivity killers to get more done with less efforts and lesser stress.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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