In part one of this article, we learned how email, online activity, and interruptions can all kill your productivity. Luckily, habits are learned behaviors which you can easily change, as long as you recognize the problem.
So what are the last two ways you sabotage your productivity?
Meetings are huge time wasters. You may think you are getting something accomplished, but the reality is you are probably just wasting time. This is another way your brain has you fooled. Just because you have a bunch of people in a room talking about something, doesn’t mean that anything is actually getting done.
Instead, try a less is more approach with meetings. Look for ways to reduce the duration and frequency of meetings.
If you have weekly meetings, try meeting twice a month instead. If you find that your meetings are long than an hour, try to reduce the time. Insist on agendas to help keep everyone on topic. And, if you find you have nothing more to say, dismiss the meeting, or stop having them all together.
Most importantly, when you meet, do not try to accomplish any work in a meeting. Discuss problems or findings, assign tasks, and then get out of the conference room. Meetings should be for reporting findings only, not working.
Working Too Long Or Too Late
You’ve been sitting at your desk for three hours straight, and you want to finish this one last project. You can feel your brain is a bit groggy, but if you can just push through it will be done, and you can be onto other things.
But you would be better off taking a break, and coming at it fresh. When your brain and eyes are tired and overworked, it shows in the quality of your work.
Instead, take frequent breaks and your productivity will soar. OSHA recommends a 20 minute break for every hour spent at your desk.
This also applies to working late. Sure, every now and again you may need to work late to finish one last project or meet a deadline, but working late should not be the norm.
If you find that you are working for hours on end, to the point where your projects are taking longer than they would if you are rested, it’s probably a sign you need to pack it in for the night.
A sure way to tell is to read the emails you are sending out. Are they coherent and cohesive, or hard to understand and disorganized? If you have a hard time understanding what you just sent, go home and go to bed.
This concludes our list of productivity killers. While these aren’t the only way you are sabotaging yourself, these are probably the main culprits. When you change these bad habits, you will find extra time on your hands to focus on the work that really matters.
Have you been working hard all week to reduce these time wasters? What was the result? Leave us a comment telling us all about what you discovered. We’d love to hear from you.