If you’re like most people, you probably wish you could get more done each day. Hence why you’re probably on this site. If you’re struggling with productivity, you’re not alone. Studies show that people are unproductive for well over 10 hours during any given work week.
That’s a lot of wasted time. Before you can start to determine how you’ll win your time back, it’s important narrow down why you’re not being productive. Here are a few common ways you’re killing your productivity. Cut these habits and tasks out of your regular schedule and you’ll be well on your way to getting more done.
1. You Check Your Phone Constantly
If you’re constantly checking your phone, you are interfering with your own work, chores, and other tasks. Every time you interrupt yourself in the middle of a task, you kill the momentum you’ve built up. You may or may not be able to get that momentum back in a reasonable time to be productive and complete the task.
When you begin a project, put your phone on the other side of the room and turn off all sound notifications. Distancing yourself from the distraction will help you to be more productive. When you take a break, you can check your phone. By breaking the habit of checking your phone every five minutes, you can increase your daily productivity and get more done in less time. When I really want to focus in on a task, I put my phone on airplane mode and just check the notifications later during my downtime.
2. You Don’t Have a Plan
If you wake up each morning hoping to be productive, but not having a plan, this is killing your productivity. It’s not enough to want to get things done. You have to know what you want to get done when you can do it, and how long you’ll give yourself to complete the task.
Create a to-do list the night before so you know what you have to do the next day. Don’t make a long to-do list that will overwhelm you. Use your calendar tool to your advantage by scheduling out tasks, meetings, and time-blocking your day. For example, like most people, I tend to feel overwhelmed and unorganized when I return from a trip.
This happened recently and since I still had some energy on the day of my return, I planned out my schedule for the remainder of the week. This included some days where I’d block out 2-4 hours to work on projects and catch up. By the end of the week, I am usually caught up and feel super productive thanks to proper planning. If you want to be more productive each day, have a plan you can refer to instead of wandering around wondering what to do.
3. You Sleep In
If you work for yourself, this can make it easy to set your own schedule. Unfortunately, you may decide part of your schedule is to sleep as late as you want each morning. If you wake up at 9 am, for example, you lose a few hours where you could be getting things done.
As the day progresses, there is more and more that needs to be done. If you get an earlier start, you can get some tasks done in peace and quiet. This is especially true if you have a family.
Once you have meals to cook and errands to run, your time devoted to work and other tasks may be cut short. By waking up an hour or two earlier, you give yourself time to what you want to accomplish that day.
Recently at a conference, I had the chance to attend a mini-session where a multi-7-figure-earner was speaking. He was sharing his processes and offering tips and advice to help us boost productivity. One thing he mentioned that really stuck with me was how he woke up at 5 am and spent 4 hours trying to tackle a problem in his business and understand something. From 5 am – 9 am, he was solely focused on learning and getting results.
By the time the average small business owner wakes up, he has already achieved 4 hours of productive work time. This should motivate anyone to wake up earlier.
4. You Try To Do Too Much
If you’re self-employed you probably wear a lot of hats. You might be an ambitious person, but you can only handle so many goals at once. When you want to be productive and achieve your goals, it’s important to focus on just a couple at a time.
Avoid multitasking because it will only keep you busy but prevent you from getting anything done. If you do end up getting something done, it probably won’t be your best work. Once you narrow down your focus, you won’t feel as overwhelmed. When you aren’t trying do get everything done at once, you are more likely to actually be productive and achieve your goals.
5. You Let Others Distract You
It’s so easy to get distracted during the work day especially if you work from home. I’ve had to deal with everything from family members dropping by unannounced to random phone calls or impromtu meetings.
You may put up with these distractions because you don’t want to be rude to other people. However, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Communicate your work schedule and availability to family, friends, clients, and colleagues. Set the tone for these relationships in your life so people know that it’s not okay to stop by your desk and gossip for 45-minutes or call you during the middle of the day if it’s not urgent.
That way, you can focus clearly on the task at hand and also be fully present with others when you’re not working.
If you find your productivity is lacking, it’s time to look at your daily habits. Chances are you can find at least one area where you’re killing your productivity. When you commit to change, you will find yourself accomplishing more than you did with old habits.
Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.