Top 10 Productivity Killers

Are you struggling to get things done everyday and still remain busy? Surprisingly, the reason for this busyness is not just about the work itself. It’s also about a large number of internal and external factors that kill our productivity.

Here are top ten productivity killers to watch out for:

  1. Surfing endlessly: The seductive nature of internet allowing people to click from one hyperlink to another is the biggest consumer of time and attention. The quest to find useful information on internet often lands up feeding our curiosity. Here is a handy solution for it.
  2. Checking e-mails often: Checking e-mails multiple times a day can suck away a lot of attention and productivity. Unless you are in a customer support type role, habit of checking e-mail frequently might easily turn into an obsessive compulsive behavior. Here is a solution to this problem.
  3. Meetings: Having too many meetings or long meetings can be very toxic and detrimental to getting anything worthwhile done. Try to keep meetings to minimum, shorten meeting times and do a lot of background work before meetings to save time and energy.
  4. Frequent distractions: Constantly ringing cellphones, messages in im’s and frequent interruptions from co-workers are most common types of distractions. These distractions can be avoided by getting a pair of headphone and putting them on (even if you are not listening to music), taking your instant messenger to invisible mode and turning off all alerts on you cellphone.
  5. Social networking sites: Apart from ‘shares’ and ‘likes’, games played on social networks have added a new dimension to amount of productive time lost. When you are spending time on social networks or playing games, someone else is making money at the cost of your time and energy.
  6. Disorganization: For many people, frequent source of procrastination comes from not being organized. An immediate impact of disorganization can be seen in the mental horsepower being lost in dealing with the uncertainties, surprises and urgencies.
  7. Lack of clarity and definition: In knowledge work, a big part of work is to define the work itself. If you don’t think and develop enough clarity on what needs to be done, it usually consumes much more time and effort than needed. A big productivity killer.
  8. Unrealistic expectations: This is an extension of previous point but deserves it’s own place. Since there is a lack of clarity about the tasks and activities at hand, we tend to make unrealistic commitments to ourselves and others. When the expectations are not met, they turn into failures resulting in unproductive behaviors.
  9. Multi-tasking: When you try to do everything, you end up accomplishing nothing. Multi-tasking is the surest recipe to not getting anything worthwhile done.
  10. Too many things on mind: Many people overly utilize their mind to remember and process everything at the same time. Usually there is a inverse relationship between how much is on your mind and how much it gets done.

Unless you do something about each of these productivity killers, they can become a way of life and pave the way towards chronic stress and never ending busyness.

Want to get rid of these productivity killers? Find out more .

 

The Five Most Effective Procrastination Advices on the Internet

Searching for procrastination on Google returned an incredible amount of advice. Here is a summary of some of the best procrastination advice from leading bloggers and authors.

#1 Procrastination Advice From Leo Babuta

In this inspiring article, he admits being a life long procrastinator and shares how ‘letting it go’ worked for him. Here is a summary of his advice:

  1. Pay attention to pain caused by procrastination instead of temporary comfort/pleasure it gives
  2. Think about the person you want to be and life you want to live. Set your purpose.
  3. It’s okay not to feel comfortable when confronting a change (such as leaving your temporary pleasure aside). Best things happen when you are at discomfort

Most of his advice works for me but it can vary from person to person. If you are a die-hard chronic procrastinator, his advice may not work. Nevertheless, I love his formula for it’s directness and simplicity.

#2 Procrastination Advice from Scott Young

Scott Young’s guest post on zen habits sets a very practical advice on procrastination. He suggests a three step solution to beat procrastination:

  1. Write a weekly goal lists right before the week ends
  2. Write a daily goal list for the next day every night
  3. During your workday, focus on completing the daily goal list only

The catch about this approach is that you need to be extremely disciplined and focused towards setting daily and weekly goal list. Such discipline can be created with the power of habits. I definitely vouch for this idea, it’s worth giving a try.

#3 Dr. Piers Steel – Leading expert in dealing with procrastination

In his satirical article, Dr. Piers Steel talks about how to become a procrastinator. Here is the summary of his advice and insight:

  • Don’t be excessively pessimistic or optimistic
  • Keep away from distractions
  • Develop clarity by making routines and checklists
  • Willpower will not beat procrastination, don’t try to use it
  • Do not repress or block something from your thoughts. By doing so, you ensure that you think about it again and again
  • Have clearly defined goals and tell everyone about it
procrastination equation

procrastination equation

For chronic procrastinators, I recommend reading his book The Procrastination Equation. If you are procrastinating to read his book, Lifehacker has a very nice poster summarizing underlying the principles mentioned in the book.

#4 Time Ferris on Procrastination 

Tim Ferris talks about some remarkable ideas on procrastination in this video at Reddit. Tim cites three main reasons for procrastination:

  1. Not motivated enough – If you set your goal too low, you won’t be motivated enough to pump up your spirit and do your best. He recommends reading the book – The Magic of Thinking Big.
  2. Not managing time well – Using the available time effectively can be the most important art you can learn. He recommends reading the book – The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker to master the art of using time.
  3. Anxiety – Anxiety is caused by fear of failure and setting your goals too big. To get rid of anxiety, he recommends reading the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

#5 Advice from Oliver Emberton

Oliver Emberton wrote an interesting answer on Quora on procrastination. Here is a summary of his advice:

  1. Build a routine of positive and negative reinforcement
  2. Incite Emotions, our reptile brain responds to emotions
  3. Force Start, biggest resistance is to get started
  4. Conductive Environment. Good environment around your place of work has positive impact

Visit Forbes.com to read the full article.

Understanding your own pattern of procrastination is the key towards getting rid of it. These advices can help you look at procrastination pattern from various angles, but you still need to do the job of identifying them.

Get started with identifying your patterns. Take pen and paper and throw your procrastination out of the window!

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