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1 min readBeing Productive Isn’t Easy

by Guy Gage | November 17, 2019 | Business, Performance, Personal Management

I hear constantly from professionals at all levels that being productive isn’t easy. They say that all the distractions and interruptions they face make it nearly impossible to get everything done. And you say the same thing. If you could just do your job without being sidetracked, you would be so much more productive.

Don’t Distract Yourself

The logical conclusion you make is that the majority of interruptions come from outside of you—other people, technology and “immediate response requests” that distract you from what you should be doing. But an interesting study indicates that many of the distractions and interruptions you contend with originate with YOU. That’s right—it’s not “out there.” It’s “in here.”

In this study, the researchers asked nearly 2,000 office workers if they thought they were productive throughout the entire day. 79% said no. The most popular unproductive activities listed were:

  1. Reading news websites–1 hour, 5 minutes
  2. Checking social media–44 minutes
  3. Discussing non-work-related things with co-workers–40 minutes
  4. Searching for new jobs–26 minutes
  5. Taking smoke breaks–23 minutes
  6. Making calls to partners or friends–18 minutes
  7. Making hot drinks–17 minutes
  8. Texting or instant messaging–14 minutes
  9. Eating snacks–8 minutes
  10. Making food in office–7 minutes

The researchers found that the remaining 2 hours and 53 minutes was the average time spent being productive.

Own Your Distractions

You can discount and explain away all your discretionary activity as necessary because we all know the importance of taking periodic breaks throughout the day. But if you were to examine your daily routines, you’ll find that you could compress or eliminate some of your distraction activity in order to be more focused and “in the zone” with productive work.

Managing yourself better, by itself, won’t make you a productivity machine, but it will help. So rather than complain that you have too much to do, maybe the first place to look is where you spend your time. Being productive isn’t easy and anything you can do to reduce your unproductive time is to your advantage.

For today, do your own research. Track what you do and how much time it actually takes. Then track it tomorrow and determine if there are some habits, practices and routines that rob you from being productive. You will be surprised how much “found time” you will have.

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