Career Management

Sometimes you just can’t help but be super unproductive. You feel like you’re pushing an elephant up the stairs all day and just cannot get one thing done. Your best bet here is to hope for an epiphany when you go for your 6th coffee, but we both know you’re not going to have one. Today is a total write-off. You might as well go home.

BUT! On days when you’re teetering on the edge of falling into an unproductive slump, but are not fully a lost cause quite yet, you shouldn’t lose hope immediately. You can still save yourself. How? By correcting these top 5 time wasters which are totally killing your productivity:

1. Keeping your to-do list ‘up here’

*points at head*

Clogging your head with a million and one things you need to do puts a lot of pressure on your brain. It probably makes you more tired too. While it’s no new concept, remembering to write a to-do list is a great way of keeping track of your work throughout the day. It also takes the stress out of trying to remember certain things, deadlines, appointments and so on. And don’t even get me started on how amazing it feels running a bright pink highlighter through a completed task. So. Great.

2. Not taking proper breaks

If you don’t take proper breaks, you’re bound to get flustered and start drowning in your own thoughts. Taking time to step away from your desk, go for a walk and clear your head will see you come back to a project with a fresh perspective, feeling somewhat rejuvenated. The key to this is scheduling your breaks, and sticking to it. If you hold yourself accountable for actually getting up and moving at certain times throughout the day, you’re less likely to resort to pointless walks to the kitchen which only exacerbate being unproductive.

3. Postponing the harder tasks

Little eats away at your soul more than a hard task that you know you have to complete, but really don’t want to do. Sure you can delay the pain and put it off, but you’re going to have to get it done sooner or later, so you might as well free yourself – don’t hold yourself hostage to a looming deadline. Bite the bullet, get stuck in and own it.

4. Saying ‘yes’ to everything

Trying to be everyone’s hero is a huge waste of time. Firstly, you’re never going to please everyone. Don’t confuse saying ‘yes’ to everyone about everything as being a hard worker. Sure, in many cases it does denote just that, however, when you don’t stand your ground and place value on your own time, you open yourself up to being a walkover. Of course be a helpful person, but be sure to prioritise your own work first and not spread yourself too thin. Doing other people’s dirty work will only make you unproductive within your own job.

5. Having social media on the go all the time

Social media is the greatest thing sometimes. You can keep in touch with people far away, conduct extensive research and be entertained, constantly… and it’s all thanks to apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Social media never sleeps and it never takes breaks. You though, when you’re at work, probably should. If you constantly have Facebook open in a separate tab, or have Twitter right there on your phone ready to scroll through, you are allowing yourself to be easily distracted. It’s so tempting to have quick look, but every time you do, you’re bound to lose your train of thought and disrupt the momentum you’ve been creating. Saving it for lunchtime or coffee breaks might be just what the doctor ordered.


About Phoebe Spinks

Editor of Undercover Recruiter & Senior Account Executive at Link Humans, a recruitment marketing agency.

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