Eight pitfalls stopping productivity

In a busy environment like the one we live in today, we tend to miss a lot of deadlines. Some, of course, make it to the level, And the most used excuse for this is “time is not enough.” Does this sound familiar to you? Did you find yourself in a situation where you missed a vital project deadline or dinner with your beloved ones? If so, you are one of the armies of seventy-six percent of the people who struggle with “finding enough time for everything.” And many professionals in different spheres come out with advice and do’s and don’ts on how to save time. Some of this advice works excellently, but others we tend to skip as unimportant. And still, trying to follow a particular system, we often fail, just because our conscious and unconscious mind does not accept parts or all of the system.

But what many “magic pill systems” do not get in their site is that people are unique, and giving a particular model of dealing with a shortage of time and lack of productivity is doomed to be the next forgotten thing in people’s life.

The purpose of the current post is not to give you a working model of how to work more productively but to point to you eight everyday pitfalls that lower productivity and let you analyze them for yourself and find the best ways to deal with them.

Accepting gifts

This first one looks irrelevant at first. How getting some gifts can lower your productivity? Now think back to the time when you received a gift. You knew that something would happen before the moment and were thinking about it constantly. The moment you reviewed the gift was longer than expected. The givers wanted you to open it or use it. After getting the assistance, you start thinking about how to use it to experience immense happiness. In all that continuum of time, you have lost precious time to think of a thing that may be a positive emotion builder but did not do anything more in your work.

Just a simple example. Your boss promises you that if you do a particular work or finish a task within a specific time, they will give you an additional day off. Now ask yourself what you think: “How to finish the task faster and with the quality expected?” or “How am I going to spend that day?” If you thought the second, you are not alone. Some sixty-eight percent of people react just like you.

To fight this pitfall for yourself, explain to the people around you that you need to focus, and what is to be given as a gift to you can be discussed after the job is done.

Not having a morning routine

Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly. According to Code Health Association research, some seventy-six percent of people do not have a strict morning routine. Morning routines are what keep you organized and disciplined. They train you how to react in different situations, plan your schedule, including all essential things that have to be on it, and see the real-time investment you need to go successfully through the day. People with a morning routine set up are thirty-two percent more productive than those who get out of bed and start with the first thing that comes to mind. Planning your morning is excellent training to prioritize and plan all your work and personal activities and build a plan where your productivity is much higher than the one of an ordinary person.

Not prioritizing big work

Remember last time when you started checking tasks on your list? And just when you arrived at the big ones, or the most important one for the day, your power has fled out. Some sixty eight percent of the people in a survey , conducted from CIPD in UK are in the same trap. We often do not get the most impactful results because we want to finish all we have on our agenda. A more innovative approach to the task list will be to move through it, arrange the task and prioritize those with the most significant impact during the times of the day when you are most productive. This prioritization will let you invest your time smarter and get the best results in a short term, while planning and executing for a long term success.

Prioritizing small work

Almost opposite to the previous one, a pitfall often seen is when inexperienced with prioritizing people are trying to get all the tasks done. This type of people focuses on quantity instead of quality. They do not make a before results analysis and do not arrange their list of functions by impact, but just on the order of how things has gotten into it. With the FIFO (first in, first out) mindset, they rush through their plan, to find at the end of the day that most of the essential things are still there, while the quantity of the tasks finished is just a number with low or no impact to the mid and long term goals of the team, or the company. Changing the FIFO mindset is not easy, but it can be done after the person learns how to analyze what gets into their list and prioritize it in line with the higher-level goals.

Overly relying on an 8-hour workday

Did you ever have a colleague who comes just in time to their workplace and finishes precisely when the official working day is off? According to University of Utah research, some forty-two percent of people rely on the limits of the standard working day. And that is not bad if these same people work with no interruption and balanced speed throughout the day in the same model of behavior. Unfortunately, the same study shows that we use only thirty-six percent of our time to work effectively, some twenty-seven percent of our working day, we work with a maximum of sixty percent of our productivity, and the other time we lose with distractors around us. That statement is at the heart of the flexible work theory that was invented not to show that the work day is endless but that if companies want higher results, they have to allow their employees to work when they feel they experience higher energy levels and concentration. With that statement, the flexible working hours and the flowing workday have been structured to help get better results while working in the most comfortable way possible. But it is still up to the person to decide how they are going to work


New gadgets are trivial time wasters, but smartphones are the king among all gadgets. Small, comfortable to use, and always in your pocket. It is a helpful device that can save you lots of time. You have a search engine with you, a convenient and always up-to-date map, GPS to show you where you are, and…tons of apps that distract you every day. Every several minutes your smartphone is beeping and showing notifications – the e-mail you received, the notification of a post shared by someone from your social network, new pictures uploaded from a close friend who begs you to like them. And the list goes on. According to a European study conducted in twenty countries, thirty-nine percent of the Europeans spend more than six hours a day on their smartphones and more than fifty percent of that group uses social media for more than three hours a day . I do not say that smartphones are a bad thing to avoid. But as much as you can control your willingness to get to the smartphone often, you will be more productive and effective.


A lot has been written about how to manage your e-mail. While e-mail has become an essential part of our work-life today, we need to find a balance on how to work with it. For example, did you get an e-mail that you were tempted to answer right at the moment of receiving it? Well, you are not alone. Some forty-one percent of the people participating in a Korn Ferry survey have responded that when they get an e-mail, they are tempted to answer it right after receiving it. And do you know how much time this loses for you? Answering e-mails every time of the day distracts you from essential tasks from your agenda and lowers the quality of your results. Managing e-mail and building a routine with timeslots for working with e-mail is a positive strategy to overcome the pitfall of failing your work while being distracted from receiving and sending e-mail s in an uncontrolled way.

Giving in to requests of others

Do you like the colleague who walks by whenever you are overwhelmed with work, just to ask for a quick coffee break or a small favor? This simple “socialization ” moment can cost you more than twenty percent of your time during the day. Giving in to requests from others is not bad, but it must be managed carefully if you want to achieve results. Trying to look socializable and likable can drastically lower your productive time. Remember last time someone just “came by to see you,” and you agreed to talk about personal life, took some tasks or requests from them, etc. Now go again through that time, add the time you have invested on the requests you have gotten and see how much time from your work time has been allocated for someone else just because they “came by”. Not that you have to stop anyone who wants something from you, but you must spend that time with a focus on how it affects your success and theirs.


Nowadays, productivity is a hot topic because everyone experiences a lack of productive time and falls behind schedules. Unfortunately, compensatory mechanisms for that are often overworking ourselves or delivering less satisfying results. Some pitfalls of the lack of productivity are easily seen, while others may be hidden from our sight while still causing damage. Realizing the pitfalls of our productivity is a good starting point for transforming our lives and becoming more productive.


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