There are times when we are tempted to cheat for convenience or for fun. We sometimes even cheat on productivity by deluding ourselves that we are accomplishing more when in reality, we are not. Here are some techniques we are guilty of using in cheating on our productivity:
• With our Emails: We convince ourselves (and others as well) that we are getting things done when we spend hours working on our emails. True, we may be communicating with fellow workers, attending to requests, and tackling new tasks as part of our work, but are we really accomplishing something significant for ourselves?
The fact is, by attending to emails first, we allow others (the senders) to impose their own priorities on us. Instead of working first on our own tasks, we work on the requests of the email senders whether replying to their queries, acceding to their requests, or even filling their idle time by chatting to us.
The most logical action to take is minimizing these emails, but how? First, set a definite time to attend to your emails and make sure it is not as soon as you hit your desk in the morning. Instead, check on your today’s to-do list and start working on your planned tasks one after then other.
After finishing all, or at least your important tasks, then you can open your emails. Better still, set one-hour email hours twice a day, one before you break for lunch and another before the end your workday. For urgent matters, advice those concerned to call instead. Make it clear to that you consider anything sent by emails as non-urgent matters.
On Notifications: These notifications are big time-wasters, especially if they are sent online via social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. What makes them worse than emails is their presumed urgency. The notifications flash on your screen every few minutes or send off non-stop alarms until you open them. If you are in the middle of a task, you are forced to switch work screen every now and then — a most annoying and time-wasting process.
There is only one way to fix this problem: kill them all! Switch off every one of them. You would be surprise that life goes on without them—and peacefully, too. Remember that these modern technologies are aimed primary for our convenience, not theirs!
Stimulants: These are stashed in almost every office cupboard or desk drawer, presumably to enhance productivity in the work place, but do they? Studies show that caffeinated drinks or soda may trigger instant surge of energy but their after-effects include sluggish mental activity, diminish motor coordination, and decreased willpower. Unlike drugs, these stimulants are more dangerous since they are not regulated and are accessible to everybody.
If have been addicted to these stimulants to some degree, you may resort to the drastic cold-turkey treatment. Abstain from them completely. You may undergo some withdrawal syndrome for a few days (a day or two maybe) such as dry mouth and headaches but they are well-worth the effort. In place of these stimulants, you may take cold water or fruit juices. Do not worry about fighting bouts of drowsiness while at work. Your frequent trip to the water closet will surely keep you awake the safe and healthy way.
You turn your work desk to snack table: You may justify this action by thinking that by eating and eating simultaneously, you save time. You are mistaken, my friend. Multitasking has been proven to be a time and energy waster. You could only attend effectively and efficiently to one activity in a single time, all the rest is myth. Eating while working on the computer is not only very distracting to your line of thought but messy as well. Furthermore, it will take you more time to do both so how could you impress your boss if he sees you taking too much time eating. Most probably, he may not even notice that you are working, too.
The solution is simple: take your regular 15-minute snack time in the snack area provided. It will be good for your health because you can digest your food properly; you avoid spreading grease all over your work area; and you finish your work on time with more accuracy. Forget about impressing your boss and your fellow workers – eating and working on your desk is far from impressive and kills your productivity, too.
Compulsion to be updated on everything: Unless you are the president of the country, you need not know everything that is happening around the world. You can delude yourself into believing that he who knows everything holds power over others, hence you feel you are being productive by knowing all. Would it really matter to you if the stock market drops by.00002% in the last few seconds when you are not even into forex business at all? Or that somebody made it to the Guinness Book of Records by eating 20 hamburger sandwiches in 5 minutes? Wasting hours reading the dailies several times or checking the CCN or BBC channel in your computer several times a day is definitely non-productive however much you think on the contrary.
To break this habit or self-delusion, stay away from the newspapers for a week. You will be surprised to find out that the world you knew last week is practically still the same world you see today, except for the day/date on your calendar. In reality, 99.98% of the news you constantly follow do not concern you a bit, so why bother about them and let your productivity suffer?
Perhaps, the toxic effects of these day-to-day time-wasters on your work may elude you sometimes. However, being aware of them now will help you maintain or considerably improve your productivity.