Tag Archive: productivity killers

Of all the things that will kill your productivity, having and trying to operate in a disorganized space is at the top of the list.  When your environment doesn’t support you, it contributes to wasting your time.  With a disorganized space you spend more time looking for things, trying to find things in your office, in your files and on your computer.

Operating in such a space not only costs you your precious time and money, but it causes stress, not to mention the fact that it can be distracting to work in a disorganized, cluttered space.  Not only is it necessary for a space to be organized, but it must also have the right furniture, files, supplies and systems to support you.  For instance, if your desk doesn’t provide you with the features that you need, then it’s not supporting you in your day-to-day work and you need to find one that’s more appropriate.  Your desk should have enough surface space to house your computer, desk top trays, etc and the drawer space for  supplies that you need on a day-to-day basis.

With paper being the number one culprit, you’ve got to have a way to contain and manage it, so you’ll need a solid filing system.  Your filing cabinets should have ample space for the files that you have and your filing system should consists of three types of files: reference, action and archive along with a plan for regular purging and archiving.

Anything else that you have in your office should support you in your daily tasks, so seriously think about what you’re going to add before you actually do so.  Consider the space available in addition to whether or not the item is going  to serve you.  Choose items that are functional.  Besides the functional items in your office, add decor that gives it a bit of spice and that’s pleasing to your eye.

Now let’s look at how your calendar and to-do lists can become cluttered and how to remedy that.  There’s always plenty to do, usually more than there’s enough time for.  Clutter can accumulate very quickly in this respect. Everyone has things that they want, have and would like to do, but you really have to look at what’s important to determine which things get placed on your to-do list and into your calendar.  If you don’t take that step, you’ll end up with a cluttered to-do list and calendar.

If you’re overloaded with things to do, take a step back and look at where your time is going.  Maybe you’re spending time doing things that aren’t important to you or that don’t line up with your goals and values.  Take inventory, look at what you have on your calendar and what’s on your to-do list and eliminate the things that aren’t important.  This might mean that you have to go back to the drawing board.  By that I mean that you may have to start by looking at what’s important to you; look at the things line up with your goals and values and possible recreate your calendar and to-do list items.  From that point you can set priorities and create the space for them in your daily activities.

In your regular planning remember to stick to only those things that line up with your goals and values.  This will help keep the clutter from getting to your to-do list and calendar.

When there’s no clear plan for maximizing productivity, so many things can snatch away your precious time.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share info with you on those productivity killers.  Each of these will kill your productivity if you let it.  No matter how much any of them may be present in your environment, there are solutions to conquering these productivity killers.

Clutter is a big culprit when it comes to both home and office spaces.  It shows up in the form of paper, email and things to do.  Paper is the#1 culprit in homes and offices and it’s necessary to keep it under control.

Keep a handle on what comes into your inbox every day.  There are three stages for the paper you see every day: it comes in, you’re working on it, or it’s going out.  Go through your incoming items every day and determine what needs to happen to each thing.  Here, the 3 Ds apply: Discard, Delegate, Do it Now.  Discard it if it’s irrelevant , if you don’t need it any longer or if you can get it again.  Throwing away something that you don’t need is one of the bets things that you can do.  It’s a small step, but keeps the clutter away.  If you come across something that someone else can do, then delegate it, but be sure you give it to the right person with clear instruction and a completion date.  If you decide that it’s something that you need to do, then place it on your to-do list or into your calendar if it’s going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete.  Be sure to prioritize what you add to your list and be sure to schedule enough time to do each.

Paper can take over in just a short time and have you confused as to which way to go and what to do next.  this, needless to say, is not productive at all.  If you keep the paper under control, you can keep control over your inbox, how you’re spending your time and you’ll be more productive.

If your business doesn’t have systems and processes in place, there’s no time like the present to GO (get organized) and create and implement them.

Start by assessing the current situation.  What’s working?  What’s not working?  Get rid of the things that aren’t working, and then take a close look at what is working and be sure there are solid systems around those things.  It might be your accounting system that’s working right now because you have set processes for recording items or services sold or time spent on client projects that feed right into your invoicing process and you have rules for due dates and a collection process in place.

Make a list of the systems that are working and those that are not working for your business.  Don’t worry about how long the”not working” list is.  Be honest.  The things that aren’t working for you right now are the things that have you wasting your time, which will take you away from the things that generate clients for your business and will have a negative impact on your bottom line.  This will give you a clear picture of the systems that you need to refine and the new ones you have to create.

Yes,  it’s personal.  Let me explain what I mean by that.  So often I see people struggling to manage their time, so they’re working harder, not smarter and of course,  aren’t as productive as they would like to be.  One of the reasons they struggle is because they are attempting to use a time management tool that doesn’t fit what I call their time management personality.  The tool that’s not in line with their preferences and the things they are naturally inclined to do, so it doesn’t effectively support them.

A number of years ago a colleague purchased a new Palm Pilot.  It was their latest and greatest model, but she absolutely hated it.  When I looked at her time management personality it was clear to me why she hated her brand new toy.  It was a great tool, but not the right fit for her.  Once she went back to her  original tool, life was good!

When we choose tools to support us, it’s important that they are tools that line up with who we are in that respect.  They fit how we work and think.  If you’re struggling with managing your time effectively, part of the challenge may be the tool you’re using.

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