Do you ever wonder why despite all the activities that keep you busy all day long, you often end your day with nothing to show for it? Perhaps it’s high time you assess your activities. It’s possible these activities give you only the feeling of being busy but are not actually effective. In short, you are simply wasting away your time. If you do this purposely, and some people do, you are indeed foolish to be throwing away a very precious unrecoverable gift – your time. However, if you honestly want to be productive but do not know how, here are some tips to help you:
- You still live in the past. Online applications that automate most procedural tasks are easily available now. They are designed specifically to meet the problems of lack of time or manpower. Imagine how much time and efforts are wasted if you are still processing your office procedures manually. These may include attending to customers’ queries, regular updating of website, processing of their orders, and keeping track of due dates of rentals and other payment of recurring bills. Your failure to attend promptly to these functions may mean disruptions of operation and loss of revenue. By keeping abreast with modern technology will prevent all these and will considerably boost your productivity.
- You are being too amiable. Unless you are after the title of being “Mr. or Ms Congeniality”, do not hesitate to turn down personal requests or favours especially if they disrupt the performance of your own responsibilities. Also, frequently giving in to these requests only encourages others to be lazy and be dependent too much on you. Do not allow others take advantage of your kindness and kill your own productivity.
- You lack system. You do things as they come. Operating without the proper system in place makes you lose control of your time and your life in general. To avoid this from happening, you have to define your time for work and for social and personal activities. Once you have blocked the time for each particular purpose, set up separate schedules for them. Make sure you have a daily task list you prepared the night before. Prioritize each task based on their importance.
For example, set aside a special time for your routine and recurring business activities like attending to calls, processing of orders, communicating with clients on social media, etc. As much as possible, automate these activities. Although you may do some adjustment to your work schedule along the way, at least you have a general agenda to guide you. At the end of the day, review your accomplishments. Tasks you missed can be included in your next day’s list of activities. This way, you do not miss tasks.
- Set reasonable goals. There is no harm in setting lofty goals but keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. You may aim for perfection in your job but do not be upset if you sometimes fall short of your expectations. Spending too much time thinking on your setbacks is a waste of time and energy unless you want to learn from them. Often, spending too much on what went wrong is just an excuse to procrastinate. Being obsessed by productivity is counter-productive. Limit the amount of time you spend planning. Sometimes, the best thing to do to be more productive is stop worrying about your productivity and just get started working on something. A less than perfect action is better than no action at all.
- You try to do things alone. Show your confidence on the ability of others. This will encourage them to cooperate and produce results beyond your expectation. Productivity is then enhanced in much shorter period of time. Sharing and passing your skills and expertise to others is a great way to achieve your own immortality. There is strength in number so when you work with others, you multiply yourself and be more productive than by working on your own.
- You do not keep track of your progress. Look at how far you have come, not how far you will still have to go. Reviewing what you are able to do so far will boost your morale and self-confidence. On the other hand, thinking how far you still have to travel can overwhelm and discourage you to move on.
- You are envious of others. You keep on comparing yourself to others. There is nothing wrong with this if your purpose is to emulate and be guided by their success. More often, however, people do this out of envy. Peering over your neighbour’s fence and getting frustrated for not doing as great is a waste of time and quite discouraging. What others are doing is none of your business and you have no control over them. However, you have full control over your own actions so instead of worrying how others excel over you, focus on improving yourself in every way you can. You may soon notice you are doing better than those whom you waste your time envying. Incidentally, instead of envying others, think positive. Rejoice over their success and hope to soon join their rank as another successful person.
- You waste time by deliberating too much. Although careful planning is a factor in the successful completion of tasks, too much preparation kills motivation and cools down enthusiasm. In fact, this is just a subtle way to justify procrastination. Fear of failure may be the real reason for your delay in putting your plans into action and guise it as “thinking things further”. By failing to act promptly, you may miss great opportunities. Right timing may often be the deciding factor between success and failure.
- You are too proud. Sometimes, you become your greatest enemy to your productivity. You become too proud to admit your failures instead of learning from them. Whenever things go wrong, you take it as a personal affront to your capabilities and a devastating blow to your ego. This paralyzes you from thinking clearly and acting promptly on solutions. Do not be too proud for your own good. Be responsible for your mistakes and avail of the lessons they teach you.
See which of these habits kill your productivity, and like murderous criminals, keep them under lock-and-key.