03 Jan

5 ways you’re killing your productivity and how to fix it


How diligently do you work each weekday?

Americans waste a supposed $1.8 trillion in lost workplace productivity, according to The Washington Post. Factors in this cost range from vices like being hungover to just logging onto Facebook.

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And while you may or may not believe that number, you should admit that it’s pretty easy to become distracted at work. Here are a few other habits that could be killing your productivity, and also how to fix them.

1. Multitasking

Trying to do multiple tasks at once may result in poor performance. Only 2% of the population can successfully multitask, according to a study covered in Business Insider. As a result, you can feel cluttered and scattered.

Instead, write out your daily tasks in a to-do list and follow them sequentially with small breaks in-between to recover concentration.

2. Procrastinating your most important work

You know you have a big assignment due EOD, but you also know it’s going to take some blood, sweat and tears to accomplish. So you decide to start on it after lunch. But by the time the afternoon rolls around, you find yourself low on motivation.

This exhaustion of willpower happens all too often, and is called decision fatigue, a term coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister.After spending your entire day on making little decisions, you run out of self-discipline and mental energy for the assignments that matter most. To avoid this, try exerting your energy on your most important tasks first.

3. Too many meetings

Many of us spend our days bouncing from meeting to meeting, only to get nothing really accomplished. A 2008 Microsoft survey found that people spend 5.6 hours per week in meetings, with 69% of respondents feeling that the meetings weren’t even productive.

Psychology Today suggests using meetings to only support already-made decisions and to keep them committed to a game plan. Beyond that, use chats or messaging systems for quick status updates and questions between colleagues.

4. Social media

No surprise here but 44% of Americans blame the Internet for distracting them at work, with 36% specifically calling out social media.

If checking your Twitter feed is one of your vices, consider downloading an app like SelfControl or giving yourself designated social media time slots to wean down the habit.

5. Loud colleagues

A 2013 survey by Ask.com found loud colleagues to be the most commonly reported workplace productivity killer. But instead of getting distracted by your coworkers, try escaping for some alone time or bringing it up to your coworker or manager, Time suggests.

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