6 Productivity Killers and How to Get Rid of Them

Do you ever feel like your life at work is spinning out of control? Like you cannot seem to get ahead of the game. You spend countless hours working tirelessly, sun up to sun down, and yet still you cannot seem to catch up? The work continues to pile up on your desk until you reach the end of the week – by which point the mountainous stack of stuff you are behind on is a guaranteed show stopper for your weekend. You can forget about having a good time. Relaxing? Ha, yeah right. Instead, you will spend your nights wide awake trying to figure out how you will compensate for what you did not accomplish in the week past, especially once next week’s work starts rolling in.

Monday morning comes around and you stumble into the office, plop down in your cubicle – bloodshot eyes from a weekend of restlessness and disturbed sleep – and all at once a 100 lb. cinderblock of discouragement is dropped on your back. Overwhelmed does not even begin to express how you are feeling.

There is no way you will ever make up for lost time. You are never going to get ahead and you can forget about that spring break vacation trip with your friends down to Destin.

Negativity floods your body and suddenly you are 100 percent unmotivated to even attempt to do a single thing. Great.

Open Facebook tab, Amazon Prime – loading, and what’s that? Oh yeah, you almost forgot to order those Florence and the Machine tickets for your best friend’s birthday! Que the procrastination.

If you feel like you are putting forth every effort on the job and yet still are not getting the results that you desire, you might have fallen victim to one of – or all six of – these common productivity killers.

Failure to Prioritize

Sure, there are probably 15 different things for you to do at any given moment during your workday, but you are no different from the rest of working class America. There will always be things to do and deadlines to meet, the key is to prioritize these obligations in a manner that helps you to stay organized. Staying organized will help you to successfully accomplish your goals and meet your deadlines, which in turn will naturally keep you motivated to carry on.

So, if you have 35 emails that are awaiting responses, a deadline for tomorrow evening and a surprise birthday party to plan, can you guess in what order you should tackle these tasks? That’s right, go for the most urgent first, as well as take time to ensure that you bump your projects with nearing deadlines to the top of the list, and as you probably assumed, the birthday can be moved toward the bottom of the list.

Make your workday more efficient by being able to recognize the order in which you should prioritize and cross things off as you accomplish them, this will lead to a mega-boost in productivity.

Out of Control Multitasking

Multitasking is a skill that any efficient and productive worker must have. However, there is a limit to the amount of multitasking that one should partake in. There comes a point where too much multitasking becomes counterproductive. Being able to recognize and drawn that line is essential to maintaining your productivity and motivation to continue on in the workplace.

A study a couple of years ago conducted by Stanford University, found that those individuals that excessively multitasked were far less likely to harbor the ability to filter information, unlike those who only partook in light, productive multitasking. Not being able to filter information translates to an inability to weed out irrelevant information and thus makes you far less efficient.

Slow down and take a step back every once in a while. When you find it necessary to concentrate, have less communication devices open. That means close the Facebook tab, set your G Chat messenger to ‘away’ and put your smartphone on vibrate. Once you eliminate these distractions you will find it much easier to concentrate and stay focused, thus improving your productivity and efficiency on the job.

No Motivation

There is hardly anything more detrimental to your productivity than lack of motivation. It can sometimes be very difficult to get motivated when you are drowning in work. Not only that, but sometimes outside influences can also hinder your ability to stay focused and get your job done.

Every once in a while, we just need a break, a chance to reboot. When it comes to motivating yourself to be more productive and efficient on the job, one of the best ways to recharge is to listen to inspirational speakers. Motivational speakers know what they are talking about and they know how to kick start your battery. These are professionals, who have been exactly where you are today, but were able to pull themselves out of the ‘funk’; and they are generally a highly effective way to get yourself re-motivated to be productive in the workplace.

You Are Burned Out

Being burned out on work means two things: lack of motivation and severe lack of productivity. Do you find that you work eight hours straight and yet still you accomplish nothing? You stare blankly at the computer screen, send redundant pointless emails and search aimlessly on the Web for help in accomplishing even the simplest of tasks. If any of that sounds familiar, then you are likely burned out. Do not panic, there is a simple solution for recharging your battery.

Choosing to take more frequent restful breaks will undoubtedly improve your productivity tenfold. The key is to ensure that your breaks are just as productive as your crunch time working. That means working hard for a couple of hours and then taking a swift 15-minute brisk walk. Working an hour or two more at full capacity, getting lunch and listening to an inspirational speaker. Work an hour or so more and find somewhere quiet to meditate for ten minutes. You get the idea.

You Are Plagued With Self-Doubt

All of those feelings about whether or not you have the ability to finish a project on time, or complete a task that will please others will ultimately drag you down – way down. Self-doubt is capable of wreaking havoc on your workplace productivity and overall motivation to accomplish necessary tasks. If you often find yourself in doubt, consider the following solution.

First and foremost, recognize it. Notice that you are doubting yourself and do something about it. Is there something that you can do, perhaps someone that you can ask, to help ensure your success with a project? Maybe you are certain that you cannot meet a deadline, no big deal, ask for an extension. The point is to recognize the doubt and act in a way that diminishes it.

Your Office Space is Chaotic

You are your environment. So, if your desk is full of stacks of paper, piles of junk and overall clutter, then guess what your head is going to feel like. You guessed it – massive chaos. Take time to get your workspace organized and watch as you almost instantly become more productive and motivated to meet more goals.

Chaos and clutter bring you down and fog the mind; distractions hinder your ability to focus on what is important; over multitasking prevents you from accomplishing just about anything; being burned out is like poison to your performance, in that it will kill you slowly; you will never succeed as long as you doubt yourself; and all of these things collectively lead to a lack of motivation to be productive in the workplace.

If you are feeling bogged down on the job, consider eliminating these six productivity killers from your work life and watch as your performance improves almost overnight.

How do you stay productive in the workplace? Please share, we would love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: freeskillshare via Compfight cc

Tips For Increasing Productivity In The Workplace

We’ve all been there. It’s Monday, your weekend was much too short, and you’re getting paid to just sit at a desk, doing little to no real work.

With the birth of the Next Great Distraction seeming to crop up on the Internet every other day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be the productive employee you and your boss expect you to be.

Being more productive at work is not only good for your career, it will make you feel accomplished and fulfilled on your commute home.

Use these 7 productivity tips when you’re feeling slow at work to make you happier, healthier, and, in the end, more successful.

1: Exercise

The two best ways to increase your energy are through physical exercise and the proper diet. Everyone knows this, but until you’ve ingrained healthy habits, it’s much easier to continue being a sedentary junk food eater – especially while at work. The most popular alternative to 8 hours of sitting is, of course, the standing desk.

The good news is you don’t have to break the bank or take up much space to implement this work-friendly tool thanks to such manufacturers as Techni Mobili. Even bike desks can come in small, inexpensive packages. By engaging with these simple technologies, you give yourself the gifts of increased mental and physical energy.

2: Healthy Snacking

To further boost your stamina, keep only brain-power foods on hand and snack on them throughout the day, thereby stabilizing your blood glucose levels. Walnuts have been shown to increase inferential reasoning, blueberries improve short term memory, and the turmeric in curry helps to create new brain cells.

In order to increase your productivity on the job, you can intentionally set yourself up for success by instituting limits on idleness and food and, of course, by rewarding yourself for making good choices.

3: Acknowledge Employees & Coworkers

There is a simple reason for taking time out of your day to acknowledge the good work of the people you work with: putting energy into being negative drains you and those around you; positive energy generates more positive energy.

By generating an optimism epidemic, you create happy, efficient employees who are motivated to create output that prolongs the reward loop. Be realistic with your expectations, communicate them to your workforce, and reap the benefits of a happy workplace.

4: Harness the Power of Collaborative Office Spaces

Whether in a traditional office or a coworking space, people who form into teams give themselves a boost by generating a larger opportunity set and accomplishing more as a group than anyone can individually.

Creating a collaborative environment through the use of open office space not only solidifies an employee’s sense of being an integral part of the team, but research has shown that a moderate level of ambient noise can keep you alert as well. Plus, chatter and information-sharing is necessary for the generation of innovative ideas that will keep your business at the forefront of your industry.

5: Organized Fun

Friendly competition can play a large role in collaboration and productivity. Here’s how: the release of endorphins is essential to stress relief; at its heart, play is a team-building activity; a stimulated mind is more creative and poised for improved memory.

What is most important is that a playful environment comes from the top-down; the best leaders recognize that they set the tone for the work environment and it just so happens that games provide relief from mundanity.

6. Form Good Work Habits

If you haven’t done so yet, Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, is a great read for anyone who wants to understand how to make good habits last and bad habits die off.

It all begins with the neurologically-driven habit loop: a cue triggers a routine and, if the brain likes the ensuing reward, the same cue will trigger the same routine time and time again. If you want to become addicted to habit building, there’s an app based on Duhigg’s principles – and if you play with the app too much, you can always hire someone to slap you out of that routine.

7. Take a Nap

We have all experienced the post-lunch lull – when a full stomach brings on the burning desire to trade in your desk for a nice, warm bed. Whether your belly is satiated or you just didn’t get enough sleep last night, it’s time for a 30-minute nap. Sleeping for 10 to 30 minutes during the day is just enough time to enter the peacefulness of Stage 2 sleep without delving into grogginess-inducing Stage 3 REM sleep.

Stage 2 sleep is where memory consolidation happens so, when you wake up from your nap, you not only have increased productivity, creativity, and cognitive function, but improved memory, as well. One caveat, though: taking a nap too late in the day will throw off your circadian rhythm, so it’s best to snooze in the late morning or early afternoon.

Image: bigstock

Lead With Love And You’ll Love The Results

Valentine’s Day is in less than a month. I know, right? But love is already in the air. The problem is: it’s *still* not in the air, or culture, or anywhere else at too many companies.

That’s really too bad, and it’s also very shortsighted.

Because leading with love is a winning leadership and employee engagement strategy on many levels.

Employer & Employee Rapport Is Like Marriage (Or Dating For The Faint Of Heart)

The employer/employee relationship is, in many ways, similar to dating or marriage. It started with courtship (the hiring process), moves through engagement (building deepening bonds and commitment), and if successful, ends with a fulfilling relationship in which both parties thrive in a culture that balances independence with emotional support.

Think of the great leaders, in any field, who have inspired you. Typically, you don’t like them, you love them. Because they touch you. They give you something that transcends the everyday ordinary and the practical; they engage you on an emotional level. They speak to your best self, and make you want to give of that self. Leaders at all levels in every organization can take performance to new levels by putting love into their toolkits.

The Research That Backs Love

Want some research to back up the power of love? First of all, according to Gallup’s widely respected State of the American Workplace report, disengaged employees cost businesses $450-550 billion a year in lost productivity. Emotionally connected employees simply perform better. According to the Boston Consulting Group, since 2001, companies that embrace “whole person” employee engagement have consistently outpaced growth in S&P average cumulative share price by margins of up to 99 percent. Gallup reports these additional benefits from total quality of life programs:

• 37% lower absenteeism
• 48% fewer safety incidents
• 41% fewer quality defects
• 28% less inventory shrinkage
• 10% higher customer satisfaction and
• Up to 22% higher profitability

These numbers are nothing less than astonishing: proof that love is the ultimate leadership tool. So how do you bring it to your organization? Try this exercise: Think of the people in your life that you love: spouse, parents, kids, friends, colleagues. Think of the ways you express that love. Now bring that same mindset to your employees. This is about caring about them and for them. Helping them build high-quality, fulfilling lives for themselves.

This means, first and foremost, making them a partner in their own work lives. Help them develop their strengths. Listen and respond. Give them the tools they need to deliver stellar performance. Then look at ways to integrate their work lives into their whole lives. Childcare, healthy foods, exercise, flexible scheduling. You want to develop a holistic approach, one that views employees as well-rounded individuals, not cogs in a large impersonal wheel.

Power Up With Love

It’s easy to roll our eyes at the power of love in the workplace, to be cynical, to dismiss all this stuff as touchy-feely nonsense, fine in theory perhaps but of little practical use. Big mistake! Think about the companies you most admire, look into their corporate culture and management practices, and I guarantee you that you will find love. They may not call it that, but any company that actively cares about its people, and works with them hand-in-hand to build fulfilling, well-rounded lives is practicing the leadership of love.

May we let the Valentine’s Day love last all year long! Why be cynical?

This post was adapted from Let Love Inspire Your Leadership, which originally appeared on

About the Author: Meghan M. Biro is a globally-recognized talent management leader and social business and community catalyst. As founder and CEO of TalentCulture Consulting Group, she has worked with hundreds of companies, from early-stage ventures to global brands like Microsoft and Google, helping them recruit and empower stellar talent.

photo credit: ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu Gheorghita ) via photopin cc