Are you looking for new strategies to increase your productivity? In this article we will look at the mistakes you absolutely must avoid in order to be more productive.
“The secret? Do not prioritize things you’ve planned but learn to program (and therefore first recognize) your priorities.” – Stephen Covey.
Are you totally immersed in a project that could change your career? Did the boss give you a very important job with impossible deadlines? Or do you want to graduate in time and are you trying to improve your study method?
These are all very common situations. Just as it is very common the feeling of not being able to reach a goal in the ways and times estimated.
In short, it may happen that the initial enthusiasm turns off, that the first hitches come to the surface, that the project that you so passionate about has become an immense nuisance.
Probably your productivity is not working as it should and this prevents you from achieving the results you expected.
In this article I tried to take stock of the most frequent errors that destroy the productivity of many people. Knowing them will allow you to change your habits and become more productive and effective.
Let’s find out together!
Do not exploit the “right” moments
We are not robots, so we cannot expect to have a constant return all day, much less all week. This means that we must learn to exploit the moments of maximum energy.
If you need a starting point, according to some studies, the energy fluctuates throughout the day. In particular, on average in the morning there is a tendency to feel fatigue every 90 minutes, while in the evening it shows up on down on two occasions: at 4.30 pm and at 11.30 pm.
In summary, the ideal would be to keep the focus on the activities that we have to complete in the midst of the moments in which these energy drops occur.
Program then the activities that require greater concentration in the phases of peak energy and plan the simpler and less demanding ones accordingly.
You get obsessed with emails
The emails? They have revolutionized the way we communicate, making it simpler, leaner, and more effective.
However, for many they risk becoming a real obsession. I’m talking about those people who use emails for all communications, they always expect immediate answers and they come to feel frustrated when colleagues, customers or collaborators do not respond immediately.
The truth is that keeping your inbox open and snapping at every notification is not only very stressful, but makes us easy prey for distractions, productivity killers.
Also remember a very important thing: multitasking does not exist.
Let me explain better, what we call multitasking is a continuous rebound from one activity to another that leads to a single result: lengthen the time to finish a single task and seriously risk lowering the quality of work.
Moving frantically from one activity to another forces us to continually take up the strings of what we were doing, and this has a huge cost to our personal productivity.
So try to decide in which moments of the day to dedicate yourself to emails. It could be 8 am, near lunch break or at the end of the working day.
You do not have a list of things to do
Keeping a list of the activities you need to do allows you to get to the end result in a simpler way. It’s like having a sort of map that, step by step, guides you towards the goal avoiding that annoying sense of loss and disorganization.
In short, not having a list of things to do is a bad habit that I suggest you leave as soon as possible: a good to do list will be very useful to keep all your activities under control.
However, it is good that you know that there is something worse than not having a list of things to do: have a confused and disorganized!
A to do list is too long a list of written activities haphazardly will risk to confuse you even more and increase the frustration.
Work in the wrong place
Have you ever stopped for a moment to observe the place where you are studying or working?
Try looking at the desk, the chair, the room. Notice the lighting, what are the potential distractions and the noises that surround you.
Done? Now ask yourself: when I work I am really comfortable? I have everything at my fingertips or am I forced to get up to take documents, pens or other things? Does lighting give me good visibility or are the sources of light annoying? Is it a silent or noisy place? Are there sources of distraction?
I’m sure you’ll find things you can change to improve your productivity.
Try to opt for a sufficiently quiet and well-lit area, with a comfortable chair and a large desk. And I recommend, if you can eliminate all distracting sources.
You want to do everything yourself
That of “doing everything alone” is one of the most widespread habits especially among professionals.
The reasons are the most disparate: excessive perfectionism, fear of not having everything under control, inability to assess the amount of work …
Well, know that one of the killer of productivity is precisely the inability to delegate.
Instead, try to consider the idea of collaborating with other people, perhaps starting from small activities that do not necessarily require your intervention.
As you gain confidence in others, you will also begin to appreciate the extraordinary potential of collaboration.
In particular, if you are a freelancer or an entrepreneur, understanding which activities you can automate or delegate will be a real turning point for your career: it will allow you to grow professionally and achieve ever more ambitious goals.
Procrastination (again, and again!)
Here we are, one of the great enemies of productivity: procrastination.
Sometimes we procrastinate because we seek perfection, other times because we focus too much on the analysis of the problem, or maybe because we are afraid of change.
In any case you have to do one thing. Fight procrastination with the most powerful weapon you have available: action. Always try to get on with your project even in small steps. You will discover with pleasure that even the smallest of the actions can get rid of the densest quicksand!
You give too much weight to the tools
This is perhaps the most insidious mistake. Very often people focus too much on the media, totally neglecting the method.
I’ll explain. When we want to increase our productivity we often start reading all the possible books on time management, downloading apps as often as I can or trying always different calendars and calendars. I caught you, right?
The truth is that it is useless to empty the “productivity” section of your smartphone if we do not have a method.
Evaluate first what your real needs are. What makes you unproductive? Too many distractions at work? Low levels of energy? Or maybe you do not know how to identify priorities?
In short, applications are not the solution, but are tools that allow you to apply a time management method.