When you’re not being productive, it means you’re not working on what you’re supposed to. This can be a result of many habits, qualities, and occurrences in your life. From social media distractions to having a disorganized workplace, several things can kill your productivity.
In this guide, we will walk you through nine of the most common productivity killers. We’ll discuss why you might be facing them, how they might be killing your productivity, and how you can effectively overcome them to get yourself back on track.
According to Smart Insights, an average person spends two hours and 29 minutes on social media daily. Think for a second: how many times did you take out your phone to check a notification, and 20 minutes later, you were still scrolling Twitter or TikTok mindlessly?
At one moment, you’ll be working on something important, and in the next, you’ll be distracted by social media, completely ruining your productivity.
If your work does not involve a phone, put it in another room to stay away from it for at least as long as you’re working. However, if you’ll be using your phone, then it’s best to use Focus Mode on iOS or HazeOver on Android—they help you stay away from distracting notifications.
Anything that’s not related to your work but grabs your attention during work hours is a distraction. It can be a noise, a friendly colleague, the overall environment, and even your pet rodent. No matter the reason, frequent distractions can take away your focus and kill your productivity.
To overcome distractions, you first need to figure out the cause. If it’s the overall environment, for example, you can start by changing your workplace. It will not be possible in all cases that you eliminate the cause—like in the case where you’re working in a busy workplace—but you can always re-distract yourself with other things. For example, you can plug in your earphones and start listening to songs. This will help you focus more on the task at hand and minimize your surrounding distractions.
Being disorganized both physically and mentally can kill your productivity. Physical disorganization means your workspace isn’t tidy, whereas mental disorganization means that you aren’t clear about the things you have to do—and in what order.
The antidote to disorganization is organization. As obvious as it may sound, if you organize yourself (physically and mentally), you can be much more productive. Start by decluttering your workspace. Remove all unnecessary items, and be sure that you’re on an organized desk. Then, create a to-do list in the Eisenhower Matrix style—based on the importance of each task. Finally, start knocking out the tasks at hand one by one.
4. Lack of Focus
You can never be productive without a strong focus, as your mind will wander off to different things. Lack of focus is mainly due to stress—which can be a cause of many things, like overwhelming work you have to do and personal issues.
It’s not easy to fix this problem, but taking a step back and rethinking what you’re doing can help. Try to remind yourself that if you don’t do the work that you have to, you’ll be even more stressed. Try to motivate yourself with what you have achieved so far, and push yourself to keep going.
You can complement this by listening to white noise tracks—they also boost your focus and attention.
Have you ever found yourself delaying your work, knowing that the delays will cause you trouble? Well, that’s procrastination. There can be many reasons why you procrastinate, but the most dominant one would likely be that you find your work too difficult to do. This difficulty (or at least the perception of your task to be difficult) makes you anxious, and as a result, you dive into other time-wasting activities to distract yourself from the task.
One of the many ways to beat procrastination is to use the Pomodoro technique to perform your tasks. It helps you focus on important stuff by making you break down tasks into simpler, more achievable ones.
Being a perfectionist might be a good trait in some cases, but it can kill your productivity. That’s because you will end up spending way too much time on a single task trying to make it perfect while completely ignoring the rest.
The best way to tone down perfectionism is to set a time limit and focus on the positives. First, try to finish the task in the assigned timeframe. Once it’s done, focus on the positives and think about how much time you’ve saved by doing the job quickly instead of focusing on perfecting it.
Most of the time, people multitask when overwhelmed by their pending tasks. However, multitasking can hinder your performance and reduce productivity. That’s because you’ll be focusing on too many tasks simultaneously, and neither of them will get your full attention.
To overcome multitasking, you can create a schedule and assign specific timeframes to each task—the time blocking technique. After that, you need to divert all your attention and energy to the task at hand while completely ignoring the rest.
Overthinking is like a downward spiral—it just keeps getting worse. You keep creating fake scenarios, which keep stressing you out and significantly reduce your work performance. It wastes all your precious time that could be better spent on performing the tasks you were overthinking in the first place.
There are two basic things you can do to overcome overthinking:
Being unable to make a decision is indecisiveness—a habit made up of perfectionism and overthinking. When you try too hard to make the perfect decision and think too much for too long, you’re being indecisive. Your inability to make a decision on time can completely kill your productivity and can affect others related to your work as well (i.e. your team or employees).
While the quickest, remedy would be using third-party apps that help in decision-making, the ultimate way out of this is to work on your decision-making skills.
Kill All the Productivity Killers!
By overcoming productivity hurdles, you can improve your work efficiency and boost your career. All you need is a focused mind determined to get the job done in time.
Having a well-managed digital space can also increase your efficiency and productivity. It will save you lots of time and help you stay focused on what’s important.