How to Improve Productivity Despite the Threats

Improve Productivity

As time becomes more and more scarce, learning how to improve productivity and stay on top of your work becomes essential in order to lead a balanced life. As we take on more responsibility at work and in our personal lives, we demand more from ourselves but we don’t seem to link the importance of learning skills that assist us with staying as productive as we need to.

Considering all you have to do and would like to do, how productive are you right now? Do you have the feeling that you can achieve more than you currently do, but you just don’t know how? Sometimes we may feel that we are not being as productive as we can but we are just not sure why.  You may be making the biggest productivity mistakes and you don’t even know it!

4 Productivity Threats & How to Overcome them

The following are the most common productivity threats. Read on for how to improve productivity in face of these nasties:

1. Distractions & Interruptions

Most of us are continuously bombarded with interruptions and distractions all day long, no wonder it´s hard to stay focused and get the job done in time. They appear to come from all directions: colleagues, phones, emails and even yourself! Working in this type of environment will not only reduce the amount of work but also the quality of your work dramatically.

Distractions and interruptions are not the same. Interruptions are things that happen to you, from someone else or something external e.g., a colleague coming to talk to you or your phone ringing. If we are distracted, normally we have chosen to pay attention to something, like checking the Facebook account or clicking on ads and pops ups while working. You need to identify and manage the distractions or interruptions that eat away your productivity — all the things that undermine you from successfully performing a task. Make concerted effort to take control and manage your environment so it works for you and not against you!

2. Disorganization

How much time do you spend being disorganized and is your disorganization chronic? Adding up the hours wasted to disorganization is a very revealing and shocking task! This is the most significant contributor to stress and to you, wanting to work efficiently. Is your office or work space an absolute chaos and are you often left clueless when you need to find documents easily and readily? Being organized assists you in maintaining your level of productivity. If you don´t have a well-organized system in place, you need to devise and implement one.

Everything must flow. When work comes in, keep things organized accordingly. Label stuff as “Do it”, “delegate it” or “set it aside for later”.  Take one day to think and implement a system that is effective for you. Get your filing up to date, clear out your inbox, create a daily action plan, plan and prioritize, etc.  A messy mind is a messy office so get everything out of your mind and into a system!

3. Time-management

We all could benefit from accomplishing more in less time. Perhaps you constantly find yourself doing things at the last minute and never have sufficient amount of time to do everything.  Have you taken a moment to pause and consider why? Start by analyzing, identifying and clarifying ways to recover your time, in other words, start by observing the ways you currently spend your time and then you are in a better position to take corrective action to manage it. Use one time management system; don´t overdo it or try to follow a few.

Start by planning your time. “By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” If you don’t plan, you won’t know what you need to do to make a project successful. You might be inadequately prepared, face unexpected problems, miss deadlines and as a result, your reputation and quality of work could be at stake. Understand the value in planning — it may not have immediate results but will benefit in the long run.

4. Procrastination

This is something we all experience at some time, some more often than they would like to. If you procrastinate with a certain task and if it starts to impede normal functioning, it’s highly advised to work out why. You may be procrastinating because:

–    Lack of clarity. You are unclear about why you are doing something or how to do it. If you are not sure how you will do it, you may procrastinate with getting it started.

–    Fear of failing or not feeling confident about your abilities. The only solution for this is to work out and discover exactly what you fear. Then balance your perception of the fear and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

–    The task doesn’t motivate you, you just don’t feel like doing it and would rather be doing something else.  You need to find the value in what you are doing and motivate yourself to do it.

–    Being told what to do. You may be someone who rebels at being told, therefore you just don’t want to do it.

The main idea is not to just write your inactivity off to procrastination but to identify why you are procrastinating, to change the limiting behavior and to get improved results.

Relaxation Promotes Productivity

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I’m not referring to sleeping, lying on the beach or taking days off work but rather doing something active that relaxes your body.  Have you ever tried Yoga or mediation, maybe visualization or even hypnosis? There are a range of methods to help you feel more relaxed. When you perform these types of activities correctly and regularly, you experience renewed energy, you lower your blood pressure as well as your stress hormones!

Your productivity will reach new levels. As you start to feel more vibrant and vitalized, you will wonder why you never focused on this key ingredient to a healthy work life. Remember to take time out to relax. An over worked, exhausted and stressed body will not help you to feel well and productive.

How do you improve productivity despite the above threats? Share your tips below.

Photo by amarette.

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Kirstin O´Donovan is a Productivity Coach – get free e-course - 7 Simple Strategies to Triple Your Productivity” eBook at – follow on Twitter @KirstinOdonovan.


  1. Dong Won LIM (林東垣) on the 6th June

    For ways to improve productivity.
    This is my most effective time management and productivity boosting 2 tips.

    First, Eliminate distractions.
    Eliminating distractions may not be a new time management tip, but my advice for avoiding specific distractions—such as a niggling coworker or a nagging manage.

    Secound, Identify verbs that need attention.
    Organizing your to-do list around verbs, such as call, draft, review, prepare and schedule.
    Those are tasks you can generally complete in one sitting and that help move a larger project forward.

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