The signs are subtle yet hard to miss, only obvious to those who know what to look for. Frazzled looks in the morning, deadlines missed, multitasking gone wrong, snoozing during peak hours, lackluster attitude to work, caffeine overload. All these are just flags indicating that you’re struggling with productivity, and if not quickly managed could end in a slippery slope. The good news is that half the problem is in the discovery phase.
More often than not, business people find themselves in situations where they seem to be swamped by the workload and focusing on one task becomes seemingly impossible. This inadvertently leads us to try multitasking, in a bid to do more in less time. But according to research, multitasking can actually reduce productivity by up to 40%, leading to increased stress and up to 10% drop in IQ. So, if you’re not getting enough work done and are opting for multitasking you might want to rethink and prioritize your tasks; because what we call multitasking is technically switch-tasking, where we shift focus between tasks, causing a reduction in the amount of attention we dedicate to a particular task. Hence, time and productivity are eventually lost.
Doing more in less time has always been a goal of most entrepreneurs, you know, that sign that you’ve attained a status in mastery of time, but doing more doesn’t really equate to being productive as many of us are busy doing nothing and heading nowhere fast.
Procrastination is yet another all-too-common sign of a productivity problem, probably the most common of them all and the hardest to fix, because, why do that task now when you could always do it better in five minutes, or ten…maybe tomorrow, probably never. And the cycle goes on till a backlog of to-do’s pile up. The problem with procrastination is you almost never recognize it till it’s too late and it being more of a mindset problem than anything else, means that it can be changed if you proactively work on it. So, when it seems the most difficult time to get the job done, just do it, and do it now! Because chances are that there would be more tasks competing for the same future time you choose.
In an attempt to be productive for each day’s business, we tend to spend on productivity tools instead of the process. There are a ton of management and productivity tools like Trello, Taiga, Evernote etc. that aren’t worth the time and effort it takes to integrate them into your work plan, if you ignore the processes and focus more on the tools for improvement. These tools are just what they are…tools, used to perfect and optimize your work processes, but then only if there’s a process to optimize in the first place. At the bane of it, all you need to kick-start your team’s productivity is a pen and a piece of paper, without all the distractions that come with the tools you might be tempted to use.
So many of the productivity issues we have, stems from distractions. Distraction from colleagues in our places of work, email notifications from clients and associates, feeds and popups from social media, and the list goes on. While for most entrepreneurs, being active and visible on social media is an integral part of our businesses especially for marketing and branding, but we’ve got to be able to manage and schedule our time to accommodate them, as a one minute reply on Facebook could eventually extend to a two-hour binge on Facebook feeds. Research even indicates that emailing takes up to 28% of a regular worker’s day. Simple things like muting all notifications from email and social media might be all it takes to retain focus and put in the work needed to get the job done, as well as resisting the urge to pick up your phone every now and again to return missed calls and texts.
Recognize any of the signs above? Well, all’s not lost as we would be doing a follow up with productivity hacks for Entrepreneurs.
Image Source: Hongkiat
Author: Toyosi Akinoso
Toyosi is the Content Manager and Editor for 234Finance.com