At the end of the day, I disappointedly look at my to-do list and all the tasks left undone, and wonder why. A day that felt so busy is often not as productive as I would have liked. In the modern office environment, problems with focus and productivity are something everyone can relate to.
So what’s stopping us from being as productive as we would like? There are so many time-consuming productivity pitfalls that get in the way.
Eight. That’s the number of times the email notification window has popped up in the right-hand corner of my screen just while I have been writing this blog post. And that number only increases with variables such as seniority or service-based roles.
Stop those diversions from ruining your workflow.
Create rules for your email! Have your emails directly sorted into folders and turn off notifications, allowing you to push the non-essential emails to a folder for you to review later.
If possible, quit your email application all together – For at least 30 minutes at a time, try turning off your email. The idea may be anxiety provoking, but calm down – if there’s an emergency someone will call you.
Getting Sidetracked with Side Projects
Whether it be your boss or a coworker, people are constantly putting new, “small” projects on your plate in addition to your day-to-day work expectations. And while I would never encourage you to push off or ignore these requests, it’s important to prioritize them.
Set realistic timelines and expectations! Yes, it’s tempting to complete quick projects right away, but those are exactly the distractions that prevent you from completing the task at hand. Instead, reply to the request with a specific time you will complete the project and address it once you’re at a good stopping point for your current work.
Know which projects need to be perfect and which tasks simply need to be good enough. I find myself spending 15 minutes on an internal email to a colleague and then wonder where the time went. I don’t need to write that email perfectly; rather, I just need to write it in a way which communicates my message effectively and efficiently.
Always put forth your best effort, but also come to terms with the fact that not everything is going to be perfect.
Wasting Time Tracking
Much of your workflow requires you to track, note, log and record your interactions with clients and coworkers. And while you know the benefit of call notes and properly logging communications, these things take too much time.
Find tools to automate note taking and call logging that integrate with systems you already have – like your CRM. Avoid the tendency to add standalone tools that only add complexity to your workflow.
I’m going to challenge myself to fix my productivity shortcomings, and you should too… Right now before you get distracted!