6 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Productivity

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Are you having trouble getting things done? Image of crumpled pieces of paper and the phrase, 6 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Productivity

You might be blocking your progress without even realizing it!

In this post, I offer six ways you may be harming your ability to complete your work.

You pride yourself on being busy.

Shuffling files from one side of your desk to another and checking your email for the ninth time in fifteen minutes may seem like you’re getting things done.

In reality? Well, not so much.

Being busy and being productive are two completely different things.

You can be busy checking your email, but that won’t help you finish up those campaign concepts for your marketing meeting.

Ask yourself what you are producing as you work: ideas, widgets, summaries, calculations, and so forth.

If you can’t provide a specific answer, you may need to rethink what you’re doing.

You view every project as a life or death situation.

Very rarely are work projects or assignments “life or death” situations. Not everything in life has to be done at this very moment.

You can determine whether or not something is truly urgent and important by comparing it to the rest of your work.

Having trouble distinguishing emergencies from trivial matters? Use an Eisenhower Box to help categorize and prioritize tasks.

You ignore valuable feedback from others.

Sometimes the solutions to our problems are staring us right in the face. Think about this for a moment: have you been the handed answers to your problems?

These answers may not take the most obvious of forms, but they are probably there.

For example, let’s say you worked tirelessly on a budgeting report, but it was sent back to you for revisions.

You’re fuming over this, wondering how you’ll redo everything, all the while, the revisions and accompanying notes are made out clearly for you.

It will take less than thirty minutes for you to make the changes. Obviously, it’s time to put your pride to the side and make the necessary revisions.

You eschew all forms of breaks.

From coffee breaks, to lunch breaks, to vacation breaks, you’ve got quite an array of breaks available to you.

But what really matters is whether you’re actually taking your breaks.

Our society has unfortunately glorified working 24/7 as if it is some sort of trophy, or mark of distinction. Let me gently remind you that it is not.

Rest is important for your basic health and wellbeing. Don’t shortchange your full potential or sabotage your ability to do your best work: take that break!

You think your work has to be perfect.

For the most part, your work doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect. It just needs to be structurally sound.

Now, this isn’t a signal for you to produce sloppy or slap-dash work, rather, it’s a call for you to adjust your approach towards your work.

Sometimes, the bare minimum is good enough. Ask yourself if your work is satisfactory…or if you’re just chasing perfection.

You over think the simplest of tasks.

While our minds are a fantastic tool, they can sometimes work against us. We over-exaggerate, over-stress, over-think, and over-imagine the time it will take to complete basic (and wholly uncomplicated) errands and tasks.

Let that simple task remain a simple task. It really won’t take two hours, let alone twenty minutes, to check that account balance, nor will it take the entire day to vacuum the hallway.

If you’re really stuck, just take some physical action before your mind has the chance to talk you out of that office or household chore.    

How about you? Did any of the above scenarios resonate with you? How do you get out of your own way when it comes to completing your work? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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