Productivity at work is one of the most important determinants of managing your time and tasks effectively. When we engage in something really important to us – work, passion, personal development – we want to make the most of every moment. And rightly so – it allows us to achieve our goals, do more, and take extra time. However, we have to be careful of at least two dangers. Firstly, to avoid falling into false thinking about productivity, which instead of satisfaction will only make us tired and cause frustration and discouragement. Secondly, negligence and unhelpful habits prevent us from being effective.
Productivity at work: Top 10 obstacles
1. „Not a single minute can be wasted”
Contrary to popular belief, being productive at work or in any other aspect of life is not about being 100% active. The moments of „doing nothing” support creativity and efficiency, and allow our body and mind to rest and regenerate. Meditation, a walk, a short nap, and relaxing with your favorite music can greatly increase your productivity. Don’t be surprised if you get great ideas or solutions then. About 72% of people say they have the best ideas… in the shower.
2. Lack of selectivity
Consider whether any challenge that you find attractive is indeed worth your commitment and energy.
Try to answer the question: Will undertaking the task be valuable for me? Do I have time for that? Does this task fit my long-term plans and can it help me to reach my goal?
3. The most difficult task at the end
Don’t delay the most difficult tasks, even if you feel reluctant or afraid of doing them. They often take a lot of time, and you may need a lot of energy and a fresh mind to complete them, which is difficult to do at the end of the working day. Besides, you will have that delayed thing in the back of your head all the time, which will only increase the tension and pressure.
Have you heard about Brian Tracy’s technique of eating the frog? The essence of the 'eating frog’ method is to do the most important or the most difficult tasks in the first place:
Make a list of tasks that you need to complete.
– Mark your tasks (degree of importance or difficulty) to identify the 'frog’.
– Work on your „frog” first.
– When it is done, concentrate on less important tasks in your schedule.
You will achieve more if you give your full attention to one thing.
Until recently, multitasking was considered one of the most valued competencies of an employee. However, today its negative sides are more and more noticed. The need to focus on many things at once weakens our memory and attention and makes us more distracted. As a result, you can have a problem with remembering important information. When you focus on a few things, you can also lose a sense of control over them (which increases stress). Moreover, you can have the impression that, on the one hand, we embrace a lot, but on the other hand, we are not 100% in any of the tasks.
5. The distractions
Turn off your phone and don’t get distracted by incoming notifications. You can check the messages during the break.
You pick up the phone, send a reply, check the news… and then, before you know it, a lot of time has been wasted and the job didn’t move.
If you keep correcting a well-done task, you will not start the next activity. It’s okay to do something well enough. It’s enough. Leonardo da Vinci believed the Mona Lisa was incomplete.
Don’t put off difficult tasks until later. And if you often do, ask yourself what’s behind it. Does the task scare you? Do you fear you won’t do it well enough? you are waiting for inspiration because you think that without it you will not complete the task satisfactorily? If the answer is 'yes’ you probably have a problem with procrastination.
If a task seems complicated and overwhelming (which is one of the most common causes of procrastination), break it down into smaller parts that are easier to start with and easier to complete. You will get off the ground and feel the satisfaction of completing tasks that, over time, will add up to a bigger whole.
8. No plan
A good plan is not only the basis of work organization. It is also a tool that will allow you to prepare for what awaits you in a given week or month and check your progress successively. Try to find your favorite way to plan – you can use a calendar, specially developed applications, or a mind map. You can try the Pomodoro technique.
9. Lack of priorities
When creating your daily schedule, determine which task is most important. Productivity is also about making choices about which activity you will do first and which can wait.
10. Unchanging routine
Routine and good habits usually support productivity at work. However, remember to observe your daily routine and notice which habits you can still work on.
Example: If you always listen to music when you work, but feel like the songs you choose distract you more than help you, look for something that will support you in your activities while still fitting the habit.
You can find music composed by Muzaic that will support your productivity at work and study on our YouTube channel.