Productivity – Has your employer forced you to work from home because of the pandemic and you find that you are not as productive at home that you would be in your office?
Do you find that even with the best intentions of trying to accomplish something in the day that you find that your productivity suffers? Does any of this sound familiar to you?
I know it sounds familiar to me, as I find lately my productivity was suffering over the past few months, and didn’t know the cause of it.
I know that whatever I was doing, I was giving it my all, but still, my productivity was suffering.
Life is moving faster and faster as we speak, and sometimes we find out that our productivity suffers because of that.
Why? Because the simplest things that we are not aware of doing to ourselves daily are killing our productivity.
Is your productivity suffering lately, and you need some help figuring out what is causing it? This is a list of 10 simple mistakes that were killing my productivity, and possibly yours.
Ready to turn things around? Let do this!
Not Getting Enough Sleep
I spend most of my time on film sets and notice that on days where I am pulling 14 hour days, I tend to notice that my brain becomes jello.
My brain is not functioning like it was 10 hours before, and everything I am doing is taking longer than it should.
Does this sound familiar to you where you feel sluggish and notice a mental fog settling in because you are just plain rundown?
If this happens to you, the best thing you can do for yourself to improve your productivity is to get some shut-eye.
Now, we all will have deadlines that we will have to deal with, and in my case long hours on a film set, but if you are constantly not getting enough sleep during the night, you are killing your productivity.
Here are some tips to help you get some much-needed rest:
1. Even if you are dealing with major deadlines, long hours at work, or taking care of the little ones at home, make it a priority to find at least 30 min out of the day to meditate and shut off your brain.
2. Set a time for sleep and attain it.
If you make it a routine to sleep at a certain hour, your body and mind will begin to adjust towards helping you get proper rest during the night.
3. Leave the phones in another room while you rest.
The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycles or circadian rhythm.
Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.
4. Create an attainable schedule.
If you are the type of person that thinks they can accomplish 20 things in a day, but can only accomplish 10, then adjust your schedule to avoid burnout.
5. Figure out how much sleep you need throughout the night and stick to it.
If your body functions properly on 6 hours of sleep, then stick with that. If it’s 8 hours of sleep, then find that time in your day to get that rest.
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Now I know there are many people out there who pride themselves on being an excellent multi-tasker. But the problem is all the tasks at hand are not getting the attention they deserve.
Multi-tasking causes you to split up your attention. When something happens, that causes everything to be put on hold; it could take a while to get all the other tasks you were doing back under control.
I know that when I am at home dealing with an important email, a text usually comes in that needs the same attention.
What usually happens is I accidentally send the wrong responses to the people I am emailing and texting. Then when that happens, it throws my whole day for a loop.
Now, I know men are not particularly good at multi-tasking, but our brains are not wired to keep the focus on too many things at once.
Take the MacBook Pro that I used to write this post as an example.
I may have five windows open for many projects on the go, but the minute I open more windows for other tasks I am doing, the computer grinds to a halt.
So if a computer has issues with multiple things running at once, try thinking about how your brain functions under that many actions going on at the same time.
So, if you pride yourself on being an excellent multi-tasker, ignore this section. But if you don’t multi-task well, my suggestion is to slow down and do things in priority.
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Not Staying Hydrated
How much water do you drink in a day? Because if you are not drinking enough water throughout the day, it can seriously mess up your productivity.
Why? Research shows that as little as 1 percent of dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory, and motor coordination.
So how do you avoid being dehydrated throughout the day and mess up your brain? Simple Drink water!
Sounds simple right? But how can you keep track of the amount of water you are drinking throughout the day to stay productive?
Well, there are some great apps for your smartphone that can keep track of the amount of water you are drinking throughout the day. As well as, notify you of when you should be drinking water.
Another cool gadget that I came across lately, is a smart water bottle. See my review here.
Smart water bottles are fantastic for doing everything a water app can do but on your water bottle.
Below are some great smart water bottles that my friends and I use on film sets to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Not Operating in Perfect Conditions
Think about the environment you are in when it comes to getting the job done.
I know that in my home office, the minute that my neighbor decides to do construction on his house, all my focus and attention are gone out the window.
What about your working conditions? Do you function better when there is tons of energy in the room or office, or are you like me who needs silence to concentrate.
I think when it all comes down to your productivity; you have to figure out what environment works best for you and stick with it.
Not Having An Organized Workspace
I believe that organization is the key to success.
Why? Because when everything is in order, it avoids chaos. The more chaos in your life, the less productive you are.
Whether it’s a workspace like a home office or corporate office, a mini-van for driving the kids around to all of his/her activities throughout the day, or even your home to relax in, having everything organized can make your life more productive.
Below are some great organizational products I use that help with my Productivity.
Not Prioritizing A Time For Emails
Check right now how many e-mails you have unopened in your inbox right now. Is it under 10? Or is it over a 100?
Now, I know that I will from time to time have over 50 e-mails unopened in my inbox, but those are not a priority to me at that time.
Plus, I go back to organization again, how organized are your e-mails? Do you have folders for corresponding people and topics?
The key to emails is coming up with the right system and stick with it.
Time management strategies are the only way to control it.
Here’s an example of how I manage my emails:
First, I schedule three blocks out of my day to only deal with e-mails.
In the morning to respond to emails that I received the night before. Right after lunch to deal with priority emails that came in during the morning.
Then late afternoon I either clean up my emails and place them in folders or respond to emails for people to get them first thing in the morning.
Try unsubscribing from emails you no longer want to receive which will reduce the clutter in your inbox.
When it comes to folders, I make sure they are labeled properly for better organization. If it’s billing, create a folder for that. If it’s e-mails from family members, create a folder for that.
This way everything is organized to help you find things quickly and more effectively to help in your productivity.
Having Too Many Smartphone Notifications
Do you have your smartphone set for every notification you receive from social media apps, emails, smartphone apps, etc.?
If your smartphone is set up this way, it’s killing your productivity.
Why? Because we are so programmed these days that the minute we see a notification, we think it’s urgent and we need to attend to it.
I used to have a major problem, that the minute I saw a notification, even on an app that I rarely use, I had to check it.
I hated seeing a notification on my smartphone because I figured I was missing something important.
You know what? No notification on your smartphone is that important, except maybe a text message from work, a family member, or a friend wanting to meet up for coffee.
So what did I do? I shut off every notification that I didn’t need, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The only notifications I have on my smartphone right now are texts and phone calls.
This way, I am not bogged down with things that are unimportant to my daily productivity.
Give it a try; it may take some baby steps to go cold turkey, but you will be grateful you did.
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Not Setting Boundaries
Is there something in your life that is taking over and ruining your productivity? If it is, then you need to set some boundaries.
The problem with many things in our lives is that if it’s in our minds 24/7, it slows you down on everything else in your world. It ends up being counterproductive.
You need time for yourself, and taking a break from it all is a good thing. Find some activities in your life that give you some enjoyment, and do that during the day.
It’s all about giving your brain a chance to relax and recharge.
Now for you to do this, you need to set some boundaries for you to be productive. If it’s work, tell your clients times throughout the day that you will respond to them, and times you won’t.
If they don’t respect that, then you don’t need them as clients.
But this change won’t happen overnight, and it will take some baby steps to get you to the point that your client respects your boundaries.
If it’s family and friends let them know about the boundaries you have set for yourself, and they will understand.
If they don’t, then give them all a lump of coal for the holiday season.
Working At A Place You Dislike
Have you ever watched a two-hour movie that felt like it was a 30-min movie or a two-hour movie that felt like an eternity?
When you enjoy something, you never worry about the time. But when you dislike something, you are praying for the day to end.
When it comes to working if you enjoy the work you are doing, and at a place that respects you, the more productive you are.
So, think about your life right now, if there are things in your life that you hate doing, make the change.
Now, this won’t be an overnight thing but start coming up with things that would make you happy compared to things that make you unhappy.
Once you have come up with a list, figure out if they are realistic and attainable. Then with each new day, make it a point to do something that will help improve yourself.
By knowing you are making a difference in your life, makes you happier and helps your productivity going forward.
Just take a leap of faith, and in five years take a look back at what you accomplished. Make yourself proud!
Do you ever feel that some tasks during your day cause a major bottleneck for the rest of the day? There is nothing like having a situation happen that then slows everything else down.
We then get frustrated by the bottleneck and become less efficient in getting anything else done for the rest of the day.
A great example of a bottleneck is never having a plan to complete a task. You can spend hours thinking about how to do something, but if you don’t have a plan of attack, you are just spinning your wheels.
For me, the biggest bottleneck that I deal with at home is amazon shopping online. I never have a plan of attack when I online shop, and I start randomly starting clicking on items I don’t need.
One minute I might be looking at filmmaking equipment and then 30 min later I am debating if I want to buy a pillow with Nicholas Cage’s face on it.
Not having a plan on most tasks, caused a major loss in productivity that we all can’t afford.
Now that you have read about the 10 Simple Things You Are Doing That Kills Your Productivity, how many are you doing? I am known for doing each one.
But the great thing about these minor mishaps in our daily lives is that once you identify the culprit, change can begin, and then your productivity will improve because of it.
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