3 Notorious Productivity Killers and How to Fight Them

You are laying on a blanket, between the dunes, at a beautiful sandy beach? You are looking up at the vibrant blue sky and watching those puffy white clouds floating above your head. Image their configurations. When you gaze up at them, they may take the form of a dog? a star? or even an angel ?.  It takes you to another place. Maybe your dream place. You fixate on the subject at hand. It becomes your center of interest. In short, this causes INTERRUPTION.  It’s time to get your head out of the clouds as the biggest productivity killers at work are all around you.

Does the beach take you away?

The Biggest Productivity Killers – What Is Your Focus Factor?

Your #1 Performance Killer – Interupptions

Whether you work in the office or at home, you experience interruptions all day. In today’s multimedia fast-paced environment, distractions constantly come at you in all directions.  The biggest culprit is the phone and the internet, which makes you feel the need to respond immediately.

But that luxury comes with a high price tag. Interruptions will distract you and cause you to lose focus on the task at hand.

These are huge productivity killers at work. This can lead to a waste of valuable productive time. And in essence, time is money.

#1 Performance Killers Solution: Increase Your Focus Factor

You need to focus at the beginning of your day. Open your email, listen to messages, examine your to-do list, then prioritize.  Place your tasks into four distinct categories. First, MUST do ASAP, followed by,  MUST do later.  Then, perhaps, “I can delegate this,” or you might have to just say “NO. I can’t get it done today.”

You need an uninterrupted time slot. Schedule a set time in your day and group your return calls, and emails together. Then, create a designated time slot to reply to them at that time.

Doing this will keep you from getting interrupted with each one separately throughout your day. Otherwise, you must keep refocusing your thoughts and priorities and lose precious time. Therefore, it makes it harder to get things accomplished. This can be the worst of the productivity killers.

For example, put the phone on silent. Shut off Instagram messages. Don’t open your email…even if it’s only for an hour. Whenever possible, make your team aware of your scheduled time for replies.

Time management is the greatest tool to increase productivity. You may have remembered this point from the last post on 10 ways to make your team more productive.

Take a break. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to drop everything and walk away.

You need time to refocus. Shake out the cobwebs. That’s why they put water coolers in the workplace. And you thought it was just used as the gossip corner.

Schedule time away from your desk. Plan a lunch date. Take a walk. You need to change your focus, in order to refocus.

Your #2 Productivity Killers At Work – Procrastination

How do You Like to Eat your Peas?

Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you to eat your peas? You did one of two things.

You ate them first and got it over with, so you could enjoy the other favorites on your plate.

Or you ate them last because they don’t taste pleasant and are boring. If you did the latter, you were procrastinating.

Do you tackle a task the same way you eat your peas? We all have a tendency to procrastinate from time to time.

However, when facing a deadline to complete a project, you may not have that luxury. Procrastination leads to poor time management as well.

productivity killers
Learn not to procrastinate or your day will get the best of you.

There are several reasons why you may delay the start of your project. You may be overwhelmed with it and simply don’t know where to start. Fear of falling often causes someone to procrastinate.

Maybe this project theme is not within your field of expertise. Perhaps you’ve reached a stumbling block. Maybe it’s the exact opposite. After all, you could be bored with the entire thing. It just doesn’t “sing”.

Or it could be a physical thing. You may be overtired. You need to take a break, regroup and set it aside and refocus later on.

#2 Performance Solution: Eat Your Peas First!

Be proactive. Jump right in. Eat the peas first!  While getting them off your plate, you can anticipate how delicious the rest of the meal will taste and not have to worry about those yucky tasting peas again.

Then, take that overwhelming project and separate it into bite size pieces.

eat your peas
Learn to eat your peas first, get the hard work done before the fun stuff!

Start by making a list of the directives. Break them down into segments and assign them each an attainable deadline. This leads to small victories leading up to the final goal. After all, you could use project management software to help you along the way.

To overcome boredom, one must refocus. It’s time to call in the team and brainstorm.

This can inspire spontaneous contributions to project solutions and generates enthusiasm within the group. It can be the catalyst that drives the team to success.

When your body is telling you “I’m burned out. I need time-off”, LISTEN.

Physical tiredness causes your mind to wander, thus avoiding the task at hand. It causes you to lose focus.

It’s time to give your brain a break. Have a snack. If your timeline permits, sleep on it.

Regroup your thoughts tomorrow. Another way to refocus your thoughts is to put them in print. Jot down some key ideas to keep your thoughts and ideas fresh.

If you get interrupted, you can refer to them and immediately pick up from where you left off.

Your #3 Productivity Killer At Work – Inaccurate Plan

If you Fail to Plan – Your Plan will Fail!

As a project leader, you create the pathway to a successful productive plan.

Poor planning produces poor results. If you don’t have an outline, you have no plan. How can you keep your team focused if you have no plan?

If you fail to plan, your project won’t come to fruition. A weak plan is an inaccurate plan and is doomed to failure. It’s a killer.

Lack of dedicated communication with your team, could jeopardize their productivity in the workplace.

In addition, if a team doesn’t have direction and guidance they lose their focus. This could result in missed deadlines and loss of time and money. Likewise, it could be a productivity killer at work!

Poor planning produces poor results. If you don’t have an outline, you have no plan. #productivitytips Share on X

#3 Performance Killer Solutions – Step up the Focus Factor

Can you pat your head and rub your belly at the same time? You tried it, right? It’s not that easy. Consequently, you have to concentrate and focus on what your hands are doing. But, anyone can do each exercise separately.

Why not approach your project the same way? Split your project into two separate stages with two separate deadlines. The end goal of your project will be less overwhelming. It works better for you too.

You can detect any problems or obstacles at midfield, rather than let them creep up on you at the end zone. Plus, your team can work on each segment separately, and keep their focus.

Numerous consultation meetings should be scheduled on a regular basis. Communication today can take many forms; landline telephone, cell phone, text, and email.

By and large, any one of these instruments should allow you the ability to keep the lines of communication open.

In order to maintain an accurate plan flow, you must constantly monitor your team’s productivity.

communication to avoid productivity killers at work

Finally, begin by learning which form of communication each team member prefers.  It works quickly to get their response.

Then, utilize them when you plan progress and conference meetings. It’s prudent time management.

Hence, it eliminates interruptions and procrastination, the other 2 productivity killers at work.

Productivity Killer Infographic

The following Infographic to avoid productivity killers is brought to you by Wrike online brainstorming collaboration tools.

Productivity tools you need to stay productive today.

avoid being less productive at work with these tips

In Conclusion: Time Savers In The Workplace

What productivity killers at work are you guilty of today? Which performance tips did you like the most? Do you have any additional tips to save time and be productive?

I’d love to know more in the comments below!

Lisa Sicard

13 thoughts on “3 Notorious Productivity Killers and How to Fight Them”

  1. HI Lisa,

    Doing what is necessary on time matters a lot. Procrastination, incorrect planning and interruptions cause big damage to the productivity.

    Most of the times, your love with social networking sites distract you so much that you forget the reason why you are using social networks. In this way you let the social networks use your time to increase their popularity but you are not using them to increase your brand popularity.

    The most common distraction is Facebook chat.

    Sometimes, it also depends upon your behaviour.

    The same thing professionals find helpful to grow more, common people find interesting to waste time on nonproductive things.

    So, I believe that it is all about the psychology.

    A professional mind can understand the productivity killers and kill them before it is too late.

    What do you think?

  2. Among all of them, I think personally procrastination is really a Productivity killer and Lowered the self-esteem. (especially for me)

    To overcome this, I used to punish myself in the past.

    Nowadays instead i use these simple tactics to help me escape from it:

    1. I normally Do the hard and important tasks first and keep the smaller and easy work for later

    2. I work even for a few minutes no matter how hard and I hated it.

    3. I always always always set myself a dateline

    Once I start working, it makes me want to work until I finish.

    It’s called the Zierganick effect,

    Basically, Zierganick effect is that “once you start something, your brain remains alert until you finish it.”

    Anyway, Lisa, this has been a really helpful article.

    Keep up the awesome Work ?

    – Priya Singh

    1. Hi Priya, oh yes, you are right about procrastination! I love doing the hard stuff too first. Save the best (fun stuff) for last. Deadlines are a wonderful thing too. It forces you to get it done. I worked at newspapers for a long time and lived by deadlines.
      I never heard of the Zierganick effect, very interesting, thank you. 🙂
      I appreciate your coming by on this one with your valuable input. Have a wonderful day there!

  3. The funny thing for me is that I almost never had any interruptions in all the years I was self employed until my mother moved in with me. Occasionally my wife would call, but that was pretty much it. These days, my entire day is filled with interruptions; nothing I can do about it except plow on when I know I’ve got a period of time to myself.

    As for procrastination… I actually feel the strongest contributor to this is fear. Yes, there are other things that get you there, but mostly when you talk to people you get excuses and the like, and they end up being affiliated with fear. I know this one very well; it’s the hardest to overcome.

    1. Hi Mitch, WOW, good for you! Oh yes, you can’t help it now with your mom there. This week I have my granddaughter, thought I would get up early at 4 a.m. and get stuff done but guess what? Her and my son awoke now and are having breakfast at 4:30 a.m LOL. Sometimes you do have to plow on 🙂
      I think you are right, fear does lead to procrastination. Excellent point Mitch. I wanted to do video this weekend and never got around to it. Maybe fear had something to do with it Mitch. Thanks for coming by with your input on this one and have a great day ahead!

  4. Hi Lisa,
    This is really an informative post.
    Yes, these 3 productivity killers really waste our genuine time energy and money. One should be aware of this dirty killers. 🙂
    The infographics talks volume. Wrike brought it out well.
    The images along with the post are really, eye-capturing ones, especially the pic of peas!
    I enjoyed reading thru the pages, of course by enjoying the beauty of the images 🙂
    Thanks for sharing.
    ~ Phil
    PS: Lisa, I found this post’s notification on the pages of Growthhackers and I upvoted and posted a feedback.
    Thanks again.

    1. Thank you Philip. I have found it easier to write more now that I start out without my mobile device on and my email shut down. It really has been amazing for me. Thanks for sharing voting and commenting over on Growth Hackers too Philip. Have a great day and rest of the week.

  5. This is why I beat the meditation and deep yin yoga thing like a dead horse Lisa. Interruptions arise and fade away the following second when you become fully aware of the interruption, and let it go.

    Example; I check Messenger on my phone a few times daily. Ditto for responding to folks on Facebook. I never allow a Message to interrupt my meat and potatoes actions: writing posts, recording videos and commenting on blogs….mainly because I am open and aware to those little fear-pulls in my mind, when it tries to tell me what’s important, and what’s not. All about awareness expanding activities to let go interruptions so you can be productive.

    Fab post.


    1. Hi Ryan, I love my yoga class and wish it were more than 3 days per week. But now since I don’t drive to a job anymore, I walk in the a.m. (after I write for about an hour or two). It clears my head and out allows new things to come to mind.
      You are so right about not having notifications come up while writing! I know do it first thing in the a.m. (Write) and don’t have my phone even on and my email is closed. Once I’m done writing as far as I can then I move on. It is amazing how this technique has helped me write more posts in a week than I’ve done in a month prior. I’ve learned that from you Ryan 🙂
      Thanks for coming by and I hope you check out my new about me page as your recent video is there too! Thank you, thank you 🙂

  6. Hello Lisa,

    Distraction is always put a negative impact on your productivity. Mobile phones and Internet especially the social networks are a big distraction which lead you away from your objectives and alter your focus. Being organized is a great way to deal with it. From the past few months, I have started working on a Schedule and it helps me to be organized and focus on my work. Great infographic and the points you have shared.

    Have a Great Weekend.


    1. Hi Vishwajeet, distraction certainly does! I’ve formed a new habit: I write 1,000 words minimum each morning now before I turn on the phone or look at email. It makes a huge difference! I used to wait until the eother things were done and guess what? They were NEVER done!
      I’m glad to read you now have a schedule, they are wonderful to have and stick to most of the time. I do love weekends when I don’t have a schedule or a phone 🙂 Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful new week Vishwajeet.

  7. Love the infographic, Lisa! I am very guilty of non-focus as of late. Interruptions happen at work and home. Most of the time, I welcome it. 😉 Planning is something I’m good at until the “unexpected” hits and then I fall apart. Procrastination usually isn’t an issue. I like to tackle things as they hit me. Overall, I’m a hot mess right now but I love your solutions. I should really try to implement them as soon as possible.

    Do you find these tips help you now that you are working-from-home full-time now?

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Bren, thank you. Wrike does a great job with them. Oh yes, I used to be like when I was working and doing this on the side some days. I find if I have a to do list it helps. I definitely am more focused and use these tips now that I’m full time. Some mornings I do not look at email until I’ve done a few things on my list. Client work always comes first. Then I move on.
      The one thing I’m still finding is hard to find time to write more. I do best in early a.m so that’s my goal now to do it then.
      And I started cleaning up my home office. I used to use the kitchen table for most of the time so Hunter could be nearby but he can join me in the office now that he’s fully trained 🙂
      Thanks for coming by Bren and I hope you have a good weekend.

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