Does your to-do list at the start of the day often turn up as failed to-do list at the end of the day? Or that your to-do list today is exactly as your to-do list the next day, and maybe even the day after? That is not unusual and you are not alone with this problem.
Many complain of having a never ending list of things to-do that never seems to get done. The most common cause of this is the arch-enemy of productivity—procrastination, of course. However, that is not the only reason. There are other reasons which you may not be aware of but are as detrimental to your productivity. Here are some of them:
- Undefined goals
If you are not clear of what you aim to achieve each day, every week, or for the year, you end up a busy fool, jumping frantically from one project to another without completing any one task. Every close of the day finds you exhausted and nothing to show for it. Having clearly defined goals prevent this frustrating outcomes. They help you decide your priorities and what you should tackle first each day. When you are sure what tasks should be done, you can schedule them effectively. The next thing to do is simply to work your schedule.
- No activity plan
Without an activity plan on hand will cause you to waste time due to protracted indecisions. A very simple and effective everyday tool you can fight procrastination with is a simple desk calendar, or any calendar for that matter. It is a fact that once you have written down the task on your calendar, it has a very slim chance of being forgotten and a very good possibility of it being done, sooner or later.
- Connected to distractions
Nothing could be more distracting and annoying than a mobile phone blinking for a text message received or an email notification popping on the screen while you are busy typing an article or rushing a report. The simplest solution to end these distractions is to turn off your phone and temporarily disable your email.
- No task management system in place
Some use their inbox as their to-do list which is the most unwise thing to do. This will make you react to what others would like you to do instead of what you really plan to do. A better option is to use your own calendar or any of those online applications. Examples of these are:
- Trog Bar: auto-prioritizes your tasks, emails, and agendas in GTD sidebar for Outlook
- Bossdesk Calendar: organizes your various tasks, keeps tract of necessary info and builds reports
- EssentialIPIM Free: manages appointments, tasks, notes, contacts, emails, and passwords
- Desktop iCalendar Lite: creates and manages events and to-do list on your desktop
- What’s Up: organizes your life, manages contacts, creates to-do list and reminds you of important events
- Ignoring nature
Listen to your body. People have built-in circadian clock which dictates the time of the day a person is most energized. Each one has his/her unique setting of the circadian clock. Some people are active in the morning, some in the afternoon, and others at night. Study your own body energy rhythm and schedule your tasks accordingly. Let nature help you become more productive. Do not ignore its dictates.
- Lack enough sleep
Sleep is important for focus and productivity. Lack of sleep affects the neurons in the brain and causes mental sluggishness. Someone who has not had an adequate amount of sleep may become incoherent and will have memory and concentration problems because of the shift in patterns of brain activity. If you are sleepy, your brain will be working harder but accomplishing less. Other bad effects of lack of sleep are tiredness and fatigue during the daytime, anxiety, depression, and impaired motor skills.
- Lack of exercise
Do not be a couch potato. Number one productivity tip is exercise, so make it your priority. Exercise creates energy and focus. It reduces stress and increases well-being.
The human body is made of 70% water so being low on water will affect every cell in your body. If you want to be more productive, the cells in your brain should have enough water. Dehydration will drain your energy and affect your brain’s ability to focus.
- Skipping meals
Missing meals, even if you are trying to lose weight, is not a wise practice. Without adequate food intake, it drains you of energy and lowers your blood sugar level. These will cause you to lose focus on your tasks and make you suffer afternoon or midday slump, thus affecting your productivity.
Avoid these 9 factors and watch your productivity to soar. You will notice how much work you can do because you become more focused and energetic, and maybe happier, too.