7 Things Killing Your Productivity (and What You Can Do About Them)

Time, as they say, is money. People want to get more done in less time. And as life become more fast with the passage of time, and those personal and professional responsibilities add up, people look for ways to become more productive and efficient.

For professionals, increasing productivity is vital – and it can easily be the difference between success and failure in their personal and professional lives.

A few weeks ago, we looked at 10 solid, actionable things you can do in order to enhance and increase your productivity. Here’s my take on some of the biggest productivity killers in our lives.

From how to try and accomplish more work in less time, to minimizing distractions and disruptions, I’ve listed 7 solid and actionable solutions that should help you increase your productivity at work, and in life in general (along with some excellent links to help you out with it!):


Productivity Killer # 1: Distractions

Solution: Minimizing distractions

Technology is pretty great, right? Cellphones and emails have made life convenient and easy. But at the same time, it is essential to understand that these things are also a massive waste of time. If you want to be more productive, you need to cut down on any and all distraction in your life. Split your time into chunks (usually 90 minute chunks work best, more on this in a bit), and make sure that you turn off your cellphone, and refrain from checking your email/Facebook/Twitter during this time at all costs. In addition, if noise throws you off your game, change your workstation to somewhere where there’s less commotion and noise, or a place away from noisy or chatty co-workers. Don’t take unscheduled calls or IM’s – set ground-rules and let everyone know when you will be available for calls and messages and when you won’t be.


Productivity Killer # 2: Multitasking

Solution: Avoid multitasking

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking isn’t all that great, and is actually a big productivity-killer! It is instead a much better idea to focus on a single problem or a task to handle at one time, rather than taking on a multiple number of things all at once. Focusing on a single task, and trying to accomplish it within a specific period of time will actually allow you to do more, because while having the ability to do multiple number of things all at once might seem like a good idea, the fact is that multitasking is actually bad for your brain (another link here). Pro-tip: make a list of all your tasks the first thing in the day, and arrange tasks according to priority. Set time limits for each, and begin working your way down the list.


Productivity Killer # 3: Clutter and disorganization

Solution: Getting organized

Organization is essential for productivity, in fact it is the stepping-stone towards being more productive. Being organized helps you find the tools required for getting things done easily, and is actually helps produce positive energy (or ‘Chi’). Clutter, disorganization and grime all block the flow of positive energy, or ‘feng shui’. If your workspace, your routine and your life in general is organized, you’ll automatically become more productive. Have a look at this excellent piece on increasing productivity through organization.


Productivity Killer # 4: Travel and fatigue

Solution: Try telecommuting

In situations where your your office or the place where you work might be too far away from where you live – and if your work can be done remotely – it might be a good idea to try telecommuting. Long travel is not only a big time-waster, it tires you out and hence adversely affects your productivity. It might be a good idea to pitch the idea of working remotely or from home for at least a certain number of days every week – but before that make sure you go through this excellent LifeHacker article on how to convince your boss on letting you telecommute.


Productivity Killer # 5: More things to do and less time to do them

Solution: Use Technology to help you

Like I said in the beginning, technology is God’s greatest gift to mankind, and the best thing to happen to us since sliced bread – IF used correctly. Smartphones, tablet PC’s, online resources and gadgets can help you stay focused and achiever more in your personal and professional lives, no matter what you do or which walk of life you belong to. For starters, there are probably thousands of apps geared towards increasing productivity on the iPhone/iPad and the Android platforms (here’s a great list for the iOS and Android to get you started with). Businesses can perhaps look into the power of ‘The Cloud’ and cloud computing to help increase their organizational productivity.


Productivity Killer #6: Working continuously (or attempting to do so)

Solution: Taking a breather

It is important to realize that certain tasks can often be very draining – either physically, mentally or both. In addition, people should also know that the human brain can focus on certain things for only a limited amount of time (said to be a maximum of 90 minutes). This means that you should split any assignments or tasks that you might be working on into small chunks and take (10-15 minute) breaks in between – go out, walk a bit, socialize, have water, make some tea or browse Facebook during this time in order to take your mind off work for a short while. You’ll come back re-energized and fresh. Furthermore, never underestimate the importance of taking yearly vacations and time off work as well!


Productivity Killer # 7: Not Getting Enough Sleep/Rest

Solution: I’ll give you 3 guesses! 😀

Being mentally drained will perhaps affect your productivity the most! Make sure you get proper sleep every night, and most importantly, at the same time! It is a well-known fact that going to sleep and waking up at the same times every day helps the mind and the body get proper rest, helps you develop a routine, and paves the way to achieving productivity.



LifeHacker ran this excellent piece on 4+1 renowned techniques – endorsed by productivity and time management professionals and used by millions all over the world – on increasing productivity. Definitely worth a read!

Got any productivity pro-tips to share with us? Leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!