When it comes to productivity, it’s one thing to desire to be more productive. It’s an entirely different thing to identify the reasons why you’re not being as productive as you could. For many of us, especially as working women, optimal productivity is still a myth. We try to fit in as much as we can on our already packed schedules, and claim to be so “busy” all the time. Yet how much of the “Busy-ness” is really bearing fruits? How productive are we really being? Most importantly, what are the triggers that lead us down the familiar path of “busy but not productive”?
In my own career, business and life experience, it took me years to understand that new good habits could not stand if I did not identify the old, negative patterns. Which brought me to re-consider three major areas in our work and lives that trigger us to be un-productive:
Do you notice how most times, when you get ready to tackle a challenging, uncomfortable, or unpleasant task, you tend to procrastinate? Do you listen to your thoughts as you get distracted and un-focused? Do you even know which thoughts and mindsets cause you to lose focus and send productivity down the drain?
One of the major obstacles to being efficient and productive can be traced to our powerful mindsets. The same mental patterns that motivate, inspire and push us to be our best selves are also those that block us from it. They are the thought patterns that tell us that we’re inadequate, that we cannot do it, that we’re not well connected, qualified, or equipped. Those are thought patterns that may have been passed down from generations, through families, friend circles, even work and business networks.
Knowing what these thought patterns are put us in the strong position to be able to recognize them. Once you recognize your triggers, you can better act to stop them, or at least limit their negative impact.
To Do: Start watching your thoughts for patterns that push you into lack of focus or unproductive work. Recognize these thoughts and learn to move away from them, or situations that may expose you to them. Work on improving your mindset through positive affirmations, inspiring relationships, books and learning tools.
In one of this TV show episodes, Steve Harvey confessed that twice a year, he goes through his list of friends, family and acquaintances, and does a thorough cleansing. Whoever does not help get better no longer has a place in his circle. The first time I heard this tip from Harvey, I cringed. As a person who’s very attached to my friends, family and even acquaintances, I couldn’t fathom the fact that people in your circle and network may hinder your growth and productivity. It took me a few years to experience it in my own work and life, and understand what Harvey was really talking about.
As uncomfortable a reality as it may be, there are “energy vampires” around us who can literally suck the best out of us. These may be negative co-workers, unsupportive friends or family members, or emotionally needy people who take of our resources without feeding us mentally or emotionally in return. These are the people who we may not realize are stunting our growth and making us less productive.
To Do: Identify the “energy vampires” in your life, and reflect on ways to limit their negative impact. This can be a challenging, even painful process. However, it is often one of the most potent blocks to optimal productivity.
High-investment, low-return Things And Activities:
This is the era of things that can possess us, rather than us possessing them. From social media to instant messaging, not to mention the lure of wealth and power, it can be easy to allow things around us to rob us of our productivity. How many times have you spent hours on Instagram watching others win while you wait? How many times have you spent too much time accumulating things that cost you too much time, money and energy to maintain?
I used to have a pretty sizeable shoe habit. Which also meant I would spend money on accumulating footwear I didn’t have enough room to store. This is without counting with the money and related credit card interest that could have been invested or saved. These “things” were literally cost me time to manage and store adequately, and money that could be put elsewhere.
Did you notice that some of the biggest entrepreneurs, the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, have a limited wardrobe? The reason behind this is that they devote as little time as possible to things with little to no return, and more time to building legacies. What if we also could stop allowing things from keeping us unfocused and unproductive?
To Do: Look around you. Identify those things and possessions that cost you excessive time, money and energy. Start thinking of ways to minimize their impact and re-allocating your time to your most important projects.
How do you face these productivity blocks in your daily life?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sister.