Not much beats the satisfaction you get when you can accomplish a task. You feel productive. You have done what it takes to get the job done.
Unfortunately, there may be times when you are showing counterproductive behaviors, which will be thwarting your efforts and holding you back. You may not even realize you are. It's now time to find out if you are being productive or counterproductive.
Instinct tells you, and even success stories show that success will eventually come when you work hard. However, hard work alone will not assure you of complete achievement. You have to make sure that your efforts really produce the targeted results-the right quality, timeframe, and quantity. Tackle your task wisely and don't just jab blindly or ineffectively.
So before you rush and take your usual plunge to work again today, pause, read on, and be enlightened at how your seemingly well-intentioned actions may be countering your productivity efforts.
Being Too Obsessed With Focus
In your effort to be focused, you may have resolved that you will not look at your mobile phone or emails or communicate with anybody until you are done with your current task. While avoiding distractions is brilliant, you need to be realistic that you still need to connect to the outside world.
Do not completely cut your communications as you never know if that call might be helpful to you, or a more urgent issue needs to be addressed immediately. To avoid being extreme, you should set aside particular periods for answering emails.
If you are concerned that your line of thought will be gone when you answer a call, finish first what you are preparing or doing. Then, return the call immediately. Maintain control of the call and evaluate its importance compared to your scheduled tasks.
Too Many Sources and Ideas At Once
While browsing on your mobile, you may save all ideas even remotely attractive to you with the thought that you will use them someday. You leave a comment for every post you agree or disagree on. You join many groups related to your current interests, and those you plan to delve into in the future.
Doing so might appear to be proactive, but it also increases the chance of overwhelming you and even confusing you when you read conflicting ideas.
The world will never run out of information and new ideas that will excite you, so learn to filter what is important.
Decide what you want for the moment and on which activity you will focus your limited energy and attention on. Narrow down your options, and take note of subjects you intend to study later. Take notes only and don't scour for more nor delve again deeper than necessary.
Doing so balances your momentum. Remember that the time and energy you have right now are enough only for the productivity goals you planned to achieve. Trying to know everything at once, when it is not relevant to your current task or circumstance will impair your productivity.
Accepting Only Perfection from Yourself and Others
If simple mistakes and unavoidable lapses that could be compensated for the next day easily irritate you, the positive goal of impeccability might be working against you.
Vying for excellence is good, but disparaging your efforts after you have done your best and have exhausted all possible efforts will leave you feeling down.
Standards and goals should be set to be your guide and direction. However, it is essential to still allow for some margin of plus and minus from the standard.
There will always be variables depending on the task's complexity. Be a little kinder to yourself, and take some time to step back and look from another angle. Celebrating your achievements of how far you've come can re-energize you the next time you tackle it.
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Plans should be your blueprint but only machines are designed to follow-up to the dot. Stubbornly sticking to them may cause more harm than good, especially to your emotional wellbeing. Be prepared to take corrective action or propose an alternative solution if needed. As the point person for a particular task, you have a responsibility to act or report any irregularity you observe.
Give updates to your manager or the stakeholders involved and propose or ask for solutions. Take your cue from chefs who refuse to stop cooking just because a single ingredient is lacking. As a result, new recipe spin-offs are constantly discovered. There is always room for creativity that allows you to be more productive and efficient.
Giving In To Pressure
Time is vital in meeting your productivity goals. Have you ever been scrambling to meet your deadline and a colleague has asked for your assistance with utmost priority? In scenarios like this, you should learn to discern the importance of each task based on the risks involved and your accountability.
Failure to do so may compromise your own commitments and productivity goals. Don't let an eagerness to please others be the determining factor. Remember that a colleague's priority is not necessarily your priority unless your superior tells you that it is. If you are in an uncomfortable position of declining to your workmate, do so politely but firmly.
Disregarding Your Health
Being productive demands that you use the available time wisely. Along with using your time properly, you build your integrity whenever you reach your productivity goals in a given timeframe. However, as much as you give importance to your time and integrity, so should you value your physical well-being.
Neglecting your body can have dire consequences, even more than failing to meet your goals. Living up to your employer's expectations and keeping your word are all admirable traits, but you can have them without sacrificing your health. Arrive at work early or on time, but take your food breaks on time, too.
Try to work within office hours only, and when you leave, don't take your work to-do list with you, either physically or in your mind! A well-rested and refreshed version of yourself can accomplish much more than habitually extending your working period.
The Core of Being Productive or Counterproductive
Bear in mind that the busiest employee is often not the most productive. Instead, being truly productive requires you to have a combination of the following traits – focusing where it is needed, being flexible and proactive, standing strong even in the midst of pressure, and not ignoring self-care. Along the way, as you practice them, you sharpen your ax, producing more output and countering inefficiency.