In the business world, time is equivalent to gold – every tick of the clock weighs a lot. There is no time to waste and productivity is very much demanded. From the big bosses down to the lowest-paying employee in the company, productivity is expected. This is the ideal environment in the business world where everybody is doing his or her job, and even going an extra mile while at it. In reality, however, not everybody in the company is as productive.
To put it simply, productivity means gaining more output from the same amount of input. From that definition alone, we can understand why productivity is an important fiber in running a business and why employers continually find ways to push their employees to be more productive. In some companies, they hold team building activities, like leap leadership programs, that invite mentors and coaches in seminars, or conduct other activities that promote productivity among their employees.
There are countless reasons why people fail to be productive, and most of the reasons are within our control. Generally, it is because of the way we allow our minds to work. We ourselves become hindrances from becoming productive.
Here are five ways to avoid productivity mistakes that every entrepreneur has to know if they want to be successful.
The Wrong Priorities
To-do lists are good for anyone. It keeps us on track of the things we need to do for the next day, week, or month. The list helps us keep our goals in mind without getting sidetracked. This, however, can serve unhelpful if we incorrectly prioritize our tasks. Most of us take on the easiest and most mindless tasks when we start our day. We check and reply to emails, read the newspaper, or lurk around our social media accounts to get updates on what’s new.
However, according to a behavioral scientist Dan Ariely, our highest potential productive time of the day is the first two hours after we become fully awake. That said, we should be starting our to-do lists off with the important things that require high cognitive capacity. We need to stop our tendency of putting off the more difficult tasks at the later part of the day when we are already exhausted from the pile of work we have gone through.
We have all done this countless times in our lives, even way back when we were still in school. It has worked before so how come it is no longer productive now? It has been scientifically proven that multitasking is all an illusion. Studies have proven that the mind is only able to hold small amounts of information at any given moment. Given this, multitasking exhausts the brain from repetitively flicking from one task to another, which takes up energy and results in committing more errors while also hindering creative thought – hence, crippling productivity. Better to focus on one task at a time. It may seem like you are wasting so much time by doing so, but at the end of the day, you are less exhausted and your tasks are better done.
Hoarding of tasks
Whether for startups or those large corporate businesses, manpower is an important component in keeping the business up and running. When you employ the right people into your company, it is important to learn to delegate tasks. There are some entrepreneurs who take the bulk of the tasks at hand in fear that something may not get done properly with someone else at the wheel. By not delegating tasks to others, you are wasting away invaluable time and energy. Learn to sort those important tasks that only you can do from those that can be entrusted to others. Not only will you be able to save time, you’d be surprise how much weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
There is a pretty big difference between focused thinking and over thinking. Focused thinking is an invaluable skill in any work environment. Overthinking, on the other hand, reduces our productivity by causing us to become more confused and indecisive. Overthinking happens when we gain too much information on a certain thing but our mind cannot seem to come up with anything to get the task done. We become paralyzed by all the information we have that it eventually confuses us.
This is a huge pitfall for almost everybody. Distractions come in different sizes and shapes, but the most common source of distraction is the time we spend looking through our social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter, or simply by browsing through the internet for non-work related things. We may think that a minute or two we spend by looking at these isn’t harmful. But if we sum up all the time we actually spend on these pointless activities, we would see well over an hour wasted. Limit the time you spend on the internet and force yourself to stop once the time you have allotted is over. Or better yet, teach yourself to practice self-control by only checking on your private accounts or leisurely browse the internet on time you are off work.
These five common mistakes that you should avoid as an entrepreneur will definitely create a substantial difference in your business and life. I would love to hear about your related experiences and comments below.