4 Things that Impact Productivity at Work
What are the main reasons that lessen your productivity at work? Let's take a fresh look at the work day. How many times do you get interrupted by your colleague who wants to pick your brain on something or needs a progress report every 4 hours? How many times do you check your phone or watch? How often do you get distracted when your phone buzzes?
These are the critical interruptions and distractions that we come across every day at work.
Interruptions are external stimuli that we don't plan for. Things such as unplanned discussions and ad-hoc work requests are the primary interruptions that shift our focus during the day. As a result, it takes longer to get things done. We need to try our best to limit these interruptions as much as possible, even if it means, saying 'No' to your peers.
Distractions are actions that we knowingly take to delay or avoid work. Things such as texting on your phone, long phone calls, reading or replying to social media posts, tracking stock prices, checking your Fitbit or smartwatch, browsing for deals or coupons etc. are some of the main distractions that we have at work. These distractions reduce our focus on the task at hand and must be minimized.
A common myth is that people who can multi-task are better performers. However, it is just the opposite. We are not good at executing multiple tasks at the same time. When we say we are multi-tasking, we are actually switch-tasking which means that we switch between one task to another. Switch-tasking slows you down as you spend more time and effort to re-focus on the first task once you have switched to the second one. Thus, let's acknowledge that we cannot multi-task and direct your energy to complete the priority task at hand, before taking up a new one.
Spending your time on an unimportant task to delay the start of the most important task is procrastination. The main causes of procrastination are lack of focus, fear of failure, or excessive perfectionism. The best way to overcome procrastination is to break down your goal into smaller tasks, know the bigger purpose or the outcome, overcome your fears, and get started. Stop procrastinating today to achieve higher productivity at work. Learn goal-setting, purpose-driven leadership, and more with my book, Think Big: A Leadership Series to Climb the Ladder of Success.