We all want to be more productive in our work or in other areas of our lives. Productive people get tasks completed efficiently. They seem to create more time in the day. But, how can you be like the top % who are harnessing all their time? Here are 6 Mistakes that are Stunting your Productivity.
1 ) Stop Multitasking
It is tempting to do more things at the same time, but don’t. If you take the time to complete one task well, you will be able to quickly move on to another task afterwards. We have all been there, trying to do too much and ending up procrastinating as our brains can’t cope. Studies have shown that multitasking wrecks your performance and could even damage your brain. According to Entrepreneur, Stanford University found that multitasking kills your performance as the people who were given excessive amounts of information at one time could not jump between tasks, remember information or stay focused.
Here’s something you didn’t expect, multitasking also lowers your IQ and EQ. In a University of London study, that was mentioned on Entrepreneur, multitasking lowered the participants IQ by 15 points. This drop has an average range of an 8-year-old. Your EQ (emotional intelligence) is also severely affected by multitasking since using other technology in meetings, for example, expresses low social awareness. More research is being carried out to find out if multitasking can damage your brain in the long-term, but it is clear that it has negative effects on your ability to complete tasks or connect with others.
2 ) Quit Being Reactive
Your inbox is crammed with emails and your phone is receiving copious notifications. Your first incinite is to answer the notifications and start ploughing through your inbox. But think: how many of those messages can wait? Glance through them and decide which ones can be dealt with later in the day. The best way to be productive is to schedule time in your day for answering emails or returning calls in one go. Look to be proactive in your day’s work instead of being only reactive. This will help you manage your day better and get more done in the morning.
3 ) Prioritising the Unimportant Over the Urgent
One of the best ways to manage your time better is using the ‘Eisenhower matrix’. The image above was first created by the American president Eisenhower to prioritise work. It shows how you can split your to-do list into 4 sections, which each has a response. If it is urgent and important, do it now and if it’s important but not urgent, plan to do it later in the day/week. Everything else can either be delegated to someone else or simply deleted.
On the point of delegation, can you delegate the majority of your tasks to someone else? The companies you see scaling up have one thing in common… They have harnessed the possibilities of growing their business by delegating work to employees or outsourcing to others. You need to trust others to do work and this will free up so much more of your time.
Another tool that will improve your productivity is the ‘80/20 Pareto rule. This rule was first created by Vilfredo Pareto and was then turned into a principle by Joseph M. Juran. It basically says that 20% of your work drives 80% of your outcomes. As a business, you can’t deal with everything that is thrown at you. Pick the things that will have the best outcomes on your business. Focus on the 20% of your highest paying and best clients to get 80% of your results for example.
However, management apps for organisation or social media are great to use! Apps such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout are useful to help you stay on track.
5 ) Not Having Enough Downtime
Beyond sleep, your body needs time to chill-out to be productive. Could those emails last another day, so you can get that overdue early night? Maybe you could set yourself a shorter, but more productive timeframe to achieve that work deadline? Studies have shown that assigning less time to something will help you optimise your tasks. (Just make sure your timing is realistic for the task at hand.) The Business Roundtable published a study, which is found on Medium, called ‘Scheduled Overtime Effect on Construction Projects’. It showed that when the employees worked a 50 hour week instead of 60, their productivity was significantly higher over the 12-week job schedule.
Scheduling in downtime sounds counterproductive, but we often get breakthrough ideas when we are not actively focused on a task. Think about all those ideas you have had in the shower or when you are letting your mind run a blank on holiday.
Similarly, too many people don’t get enough sleep, which is terrible for your productivity.
As referenced from The Secret World of Sleep, your ability to function will be significantly decreased if you don’t get enough sleep. Your ability to control impulse decisions, communicate with others and your general emotional intelligence and positivity will be hit if you miss out on this natural staple.
6 ) Not Making The Most Of NOW
Perfectionism and procrastination are not your friends. Perfectionism stops you looking at the bigger picture and procrastination will make small tasks even bigger. Take advantage of the now. There is no point in wasting time waiting around for something to be perfect when you could just start it now. Think about drafting a publication for example. It is easier to complete a task if you have already jotted notes down in a document to go over later. To fight procrastination and make the most of your time, use the 2 minute rule. If it can be completed in 2 minutes, do it now and delegate/delete longer tasks.
Your productivity can be significantly increased by implementing these tips. We all have 24 hours in the day but learning how to manage your time and energy are the keys to successful productivity.