Top 6 Things That Damage Your Workplace Productivity
Do you start your day with a plan to get everything done but end up spiralling out of control in the first few hours? Do you wonder how some people manage to reach productivity beyond the imaginable?
If you struggle with workplace productivity and tend to procrastinate, don’t worry – it is a common problem for many of us. And, yes, oftentimes the sigh of highly productive professionals comes as a de-motivator instead of inspiration.
Read on to find out what slows you down on the path to reach your daily goals.
“Don’t be fooled by the prospects of efficiency by multitasking. Multitasking is the greatest pitfall whenever we’re pressured with deadlines. Doing more than one thing at once negatively affects your productivity.” – Kim Evans, writer at EssayWritingLand.
A number of studies have shown that distributing brainpower over different tasks on average takes twice as long for a single task and increases the risk of mistakes by over 50%. To make things worse, the human capacity to focus on a single task lasts for around 11 minutes. Afterward, it takes around 25 minutes to proceed with the same task. Last but not least, multitasking hinders creativity.
The best way to boost workplace productivity is to tackle problems one-by-one. And it takes a conscious decision on your part to do so. However, the good news is that once it becomes a habit, it gets easier. The brain works like a muscle – the more we train it to mono-task, the better it becomes at it.
Tip: try working in intervals – work for 10-15 minutes, take a small break, and get back to the task. Rinse and repeat!
2. Lack of Schedule
Although it sounds quite simple, making a schedule and sticking to it is a difficult feat. You’d be surprised how many people struggle with a lack of productivity because they don’t organize their time. Lack of organization makes even the easiest of tasks troublesome and time-consuming. Going back to multitasking, probably the biggest culprit which flings people into multitasking is lack of schedule.
No matter how much work you have and how pressuring your deadlines are, try to arrive at work on time. Spend the first 30 minutes to an hour on making a to-do list. Start by listing all of your tasks and appointments. Afterward, assign priority for each and every one of your tasks for the day.
Don’t forget to include long-delayed assignments from previous days. Then, consult the company schedule and make sure that you are on the same page with coworkers and other employees. Lastly, make at least a general outline for your daily schedule. Yes, for many of us this formulaic approach sounds like quantum physics, but there is always help – there are inexpensive and effective software solutions on the market which help you organize your day.
Again, the same principle applies – practice this drill for a while, and making a schedule will become rather habitual.
3. Social Media
In this modern age of the Internet, it is funny how social media grew to be one of the best perks of technology and a colossal factor for procrastination and lack of productivity. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and whatnot – it does not matter, all of them have the same effect. Given the limited attention span and cognitive power of the human brain, it is not surprising that social media is one of the greatest distractors at the work place.
Social media can affect workplace productivity immensely. Some companies take drastic measures and limit Internet access to social media for their employees. But what happens when you are your own boss or you are the person in charge?
There are a few steps you can take to limit the effect of social media on your productivity. The first thing is to narrow down the number of platforms you use – there is no point to completely cut off social media from your life, but when you are at work, try to stick to a single platform. Then, stick to a social platform that can be used for both personal and professional purposes.
And don’t forget to use lists and filters – that way you can only monitor professional groups while at work and the rest in your own time. Weirdly enough, it helps to set a timer – use social media exclusively while you take small breaks between tasks. And lastly, stick to your schedule – if you incorporate breaks in your schedule, it’ll be easier to control when and how long you are on social media.
4. Unorganized Workspace
Your physical workspace can affect your productivity in a positive or in a negative manner, depending on whether it’s organized or not. In other words, if your workspace is organized it can significantly boost your productivity, and vice versa – if your workspace is disorganized, it can deplete your energy and hinder your workflow.
There is no one right way to organize your workspace – do what works best for you, as long as you have access to everything that you need. Organizing your workspace is directly proportional to the way you manage your time since each item in your workspace is connected to some task you need to do.
This is why it is important that you organize your workspace in a way that will synergize with your workload. You can organize your workspace in zones, where each zone will correspond with a certain task which needs to be finished at a certain point during the day or during the week.
5. Late Start
Coming into work in the morning and doing tasks that only postpone the tasks of that day may hinder your workplace productivity, as well. This includes responding to non-urgent emails and phone calls, which may contribute to a late start of your actual work tasks for the respective workday. Resist the urge to do these minor tasks – instead, push them up for later during the day, when you have completed the more pressing tasks.
Checking your messages first thing coming into work is a virtuous thing; however, it may affect your work negatively since it makes you push your agenda to suit other people’s needs instead of your own work needs. So, instead of doing non-pressing tasks first thing in the morning, take some time to organize your work agenda each morning you come in. By doing so, you will be able to complete the major, as well as the minor tasks – and in the order, they need to be addressed and completed.
6. Not Prioritizing
Not setting priorities – whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly priorities – may affect your workplace productivity in a negative way. Similarly to the late start of the day, not prioritizing can result in a major drop in your workflow. This is why it is important to set priorities prior to starting your workday or workweek. A useful rule you can follow is the law of the vital few – the Pareto principle.
According to the Pareto principle, 20% of effort results in 80% of results. What this means is that if you focus on the main 20% of activities which are the most important for your work, this will result in a greater overall impact than if you focus on all activities at once without prioritizing them. So, by identifying the main, most important 20% of your work tasks, and dedicating the major part of your time to that 20%, you will be able to boost your productivity more than if you focused on every minor and major task without having a specific order in mind. Try prioritizing your daily, weekly, and monthly work tasks, and you will reap the benefits sooner than you would think.
Final Thoughts on Workplace Productivity
Keep in mind that it is important to make a conscious effort each day. Starting with a specific purpose and an agenda will boost your productivity and make it easier for you to tackle each task at hand. Make sure to set daily goals and stick to them. Completing each task step by step will motivate you to dig deeper and, in turn, to boost your productivity. By practicing self-discipline you will be able to make the most out of your workday.