4 Biggest Threats to Your Productivity and How to Avoid Them

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

In the constant bid to become more productive, we often end up achieving exactly the opposite. Whether it’s steaming ahead without remembering to take a break, multitasking to try and get more done, or focusing too heavily on the smaller tasks, there are many things that we do in our day-to-day lives, both personally and professionally, that might actually be having the opposite effect and limiting our productivity instead. Here are some of the main things that might be killing your productivity, and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Taking Breaks

When you’ve got a lot to do, plowing on through your work and skipping all your breaks might seem like the most sensible option for getting everything done – but often, it isn’t. In fact, not taking proper breaks can have a huge negative impact on productivity. After all, we are human beings, not machines – we need some rest, relaxation, and time to refuel if we’re working on something big. Working intensely without proper breaks might help you get more done in the short time, but over time it’s more likely to mean that you develop anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and other health problems. So, take a short break now and then – even if it’s just 5-10 minutes.

Not Sleeping Enough

In your bid to get more done and be more productive, you might find yourself up to the late hours of the night or even the early hours of the morning, working as much as you can. But this isn’t going to do much for your productivity. In fact, not getting enough sleep can make you much less productive over time as you’ll have trouble focusing and staying alert when there’s a task at hand. It’s always better to make sure that you get at least eight hours of high-quality sleep at night and sleep early so that you can wake up early and get more done if you need to. If you tend to struggle sleeping or wake up with aches and pains that prevent you from getting stuff done, a new mattress can help. A memory foam mattress can be helpful for back pain and can help you sleep better at night.

Starting Tasks Too Early

While it’s always good to get started as early as possible and get a head start on a big task or project that you have coming up, be careful not to start it too early. Many tasks and projects will eventually be changed quite a lot before you are given the fully scoped brief, or they have been signed off. And if you’ve already made a start on it, you could end up wasting a full day of work if the brief changes a lot, and you’ll have to go back and do it all over again. Instead, wait until you know the task is good to go before making a start.

Emails and Messages

Emails are essential for keeping in touch with your managers and colleagues, but repeatedly checking your inbox throughout the day can have disastrous results for your productivity levels. It’s a passive form of work and most people tend to spend more time than they realize on communications that are not vital to their work. Additionally, the constant distraction from emails and instant messages limits your ability to really focus on your work and get things done, especially with most of us socially programmed to be available instantly. Instead, set availability hours and use intelligent software to help you automatically prioritize emails so you only respond immediately to the ones that genuinely need instant attention.

Are any of the above killing your productivity at work or home?


About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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