I think Darin is talking to me with his latest article. I am in the camp of those who were going to stop procrastinating, but I put it off! If I don’t multi-task with a phone in one hand, a person in front of me and my computer up—it’s a slow day. Yes, I need to better take care of myself too. I haven’t played tennis with the guys at Petersburg Racquet Club in many months! Uggh. I better start reading. Enjoy—this maybe aimed at you, too!
Even the most dedicated business leader finds that, upon occasion, it’s an uphill battle to remain productive. With so many distractions both inside and outside the workplace environment, executives grapple with varying levels of productivity during their workday. “Distractions,” of course, can refer to anything from a technical glitch in shipping that somehow rises to your attention to a call from your kid’s daycare center.
Often, however, business leaders sabotage their own efforts at productivity. Certain bad habits diminish what can be achieved and contribute to a sense that day-to-day management is sometimes slipping out of control.
What bad habits limit productivity and what can you do to change them?
Eliminate (or at least reduce) the effects of digital distractions.
Your phone and laptop come with “built-in” distractions, work-related or not. The online “noise” generated by these and other devices—texts, emails, social media activity—can divert even the most focused mind from the task at hand.
In these cases, there is a simple fix. When you really need to focus, turn off your mobile device until the task is completed. Any alerts you receive can usually wait until you have a few moments to look them over.
Just say “no” to multitasking.
You may feel you’re the exception to the rule, but expert research confirms what we all suspect is true. A person who multitasks actually gets less work done by switching from one project to another, and as we’ve said before, “the end-result is often less than what you would get from staying with one task at a time.”
Identify the truly important task ahead of you and give it your full attention. You’ll most likely get more done and see a better ROI for your efforts.
Address your “inner procrastinator.”
When faced with a difficult or unpleasant task, most people tend to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to address that task. This is a surefire recipe for diminished productivity.
Instead, recognize that we all have “a limited amount of mental energy, and as we exhaust this energy, our decision-making and productivity decline rapidly,” notes business author Dr. Travis Bradberry. This mindset, otherwise known as “decision fatigue,” can be modified by a willingness to take up the challenging task or project when you’re at your freshest (in many cases, early in the day, rather than later.)
Go into “delegation mode.”
High-achieving business owners and CEO’s have a hard time letting go of the notion that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” When you’re talking about running a business—large or small—doing it yourself simply isn’t an option.
Look closely at the dizzying array of tasks and “emergencies” that come to your desk every day. How many of those do you really have to address yourself? If you’ve got the right people on your team, delegation works. Start handing off tasks that others can, and probably should be doing anyway. Conserve your precious time for strategic issues that have a critical bearing on the present and future state of your business.
Take better care of yourself.
Productivity can be negatively impacted when you’re not feeling 100 percent. Look for ways to take better care for yourself, i.e., eating right, exercising, taking time off, and getting enough sleep, and so on. When you find ways to improve self-care, you can focus more effectively on important tasks and not feel like things are spiraling out of control. Following this principle also sets a good example for your employees.
High productivity is the “gold standard” we all aspire to. By altering some bad habits, you can reach that gold standard a lot more often than you think.
Want to learn more about creating the best exit strategy from your business? Check out “Are You Ready for Your Exit?” by TAB Facilitator Phil Spensieri.