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8 reasons why you are unproductive

8 reasons why you are unproductive

European Business Listicle 45/2018

Do you start each day with the best of intentions to get loads done only to finish it completely disillusioned by how little you have actually managed to achieve? If you do, then you are not alone. There are a lot of good reasons why you are not as productive as you might be. Here are a few of the most common:

1. You don’t set yourself targets

What do you want to achieve? What do you want to spend your time doing? If you don’t set targets you can work towards you will not be motivated to do anything.

2. You don’t break big projects down into smaller tasks

Big projects or targets are achieved in small stages. If you know what those individual steps are, then you can work through them much more easily. At the same time, it is easier to determine the order in which they should be completed - see next tip.

3. You fail to set or set the wrong priorities

You are snowed under with work and don’t know where to start. Before you do anything, you should draw up a proper to-do list. Identify which of your tasks and responsibilities are important and which are particularly urgent. Make a list and prioritise those at the top. Work your way through them methodically.

4. You don’t set deadlines

If something needs be finished by a certain deadline, then you can be fairly sure you will have it done by then. If no deadline for completion has been set, then other things will always take precedence and that task will always be pushed to one side. As a rule: The more time you have to do a task, the longer it will take.

5. You try to do several different things at once

You keep breaking off from doing one thing to check your emails or messages on your mobile phone? That is a top productivity killer. Work your way through tasks one by one and leave checking emails or looking at your phone until you have finished. Treat emails or phone messages like any other task and set aside a dedicated timeslot to deal with them.

6. You are unprepared

Make sure that you are properly prepared BEFORE beginning any task. That could be something as banal as pouring yourself a drink beforehand in case you are thirsty. At any rate, you should ensure you have all of the materials that you need. Avoid the need to get up and fetch something while you are working. This kind of interruption is guaranteed to make you unproductive.

7. You fail to delegate

Being productive doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Sometimes, someone else can do the task much more quickly or easily than you. Don’t be too proud to delegate these tasks. You will see: You will achieve your goals in half the time!

8. You don’t take inspiration from others

People pursuing the same goals as you serve as a constant source of motivation and inspiration. Take the time to reach out and network with these people, even if it takes time at first. In the end, you will find you are much more productive and can learn a lot from these contacts.


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