Constant racing. Fighting for the best performance. Trying to find the best tactics but instead of winning, you are watching your competitors from behind.
Doesn’t it sound like an F1 race to you?
No, my friend. It sounds like you, chasing your deadlines and tasks, trying to finish them all in time but to no avail. Time passes by, and you are left with a never-ending list of tasks. Is that you? Unfortunately, it is not the only sign that your are struggling to be productive.
Getting help with productivity
What can you do to overcome procrastination and boost your productivity? What signs clearly show you that it’s high time to start working more efficiently? Follow our checklist and find out whether you should fight for productivity and let the procrastinator inside of you go. If you answer “yes” to any of those points, your productivity can be – or already is – in danger.
1. You miss your deadlines
We’ve all been there and done that. You may miss one or two deadlines, sure. Sometimes there are some external reasons that impact missing deadlines, sometimes it could be just your laziness that says “later, mate”. However, if it occurs frequently, then you may have reason to worry.
Missing too many deadlines can mean two things. The first is about having too many tasks that you are responsible for. The second is that you have a problem with managing your time, if the number of tasks sounds about right. How to overcome it?
There are many tools for project management or time tracking that could support your everyday tasks. While they won’t start working for you overnight, they may help you take back your control and be productive again in some time, step-by-step.
Does it ring a bell? Instead of having a short but sweet meeting, you spend two or three hours, gossiping about another department perhaps. Nothing is sorted, no further steps are planned, no (or very little) feedback is given, but at least you caught up with the latest news and rumors. No one is going to give you this wasted time back or do your tasks for you. Meetings like this result in low productivity and being covered with tasks even more than before.
The solution? While some people may simply advise you not to attend meetings, you know that it may not be possible. Resign from those meetings that are not necessary, reduce the number of meetings a week and replace them with online communication or introduce daily standups. Spending an hour on a meeting when you are incredibly busy does not sound like a way of making your work a breeze.
3. You forgot how it feels to be focused
How come that in the past you could have been focused on huge tasks, and nowadays you are nothing but scatterbrained? If you can’t focus enough concentration on everyday tasks, it impacts the time of their delivery and the quality of the work you’ve done. There is no golden rule that can be applied here in terms of boosting productivity, but it does not mean that you have excuses not to try out a few ways of overcoming this problem.
What are the common bottlenecks? Total silence – or noise, even if it’s your favorite song. It can turn out that you love it so much that you focus on getting all of the lyrics right or even recalling some memories related to the music instead of focusing on work.
Identifying potential bottlenecks can help you come back to a satisfying level of concentration.
4. You do it all manually
A real killer of productivity is the approach. Automation of some tedious tasks is the key to success. No matter how much you do not believe nor want to start using tools, you’ll end up investing in some since they can strengthen your productivity.
If you are a G-Suite user, you may struggle with sharing Gmail contacts with others, but there are some available tools that can help you. If you are a social media manager, you may spend ages on planning posts manually – when you can instead use a social media workflow suite to support this process for you and make social media management easier.
If you can’t handle customer support, and your clients wait for your response for ages, consider building a special chatbot you use for conversational marketing. It can answer frequently asked questions and support your clients while you are not available for them to help. Spending time on tasks that can take minutes instead of days is a nail in the coffin for productivity and being efficient at work.
5. Work-life balance? What’s that?
If you don’t even know what time it is, then it may be a clear sign for you to slow down and work on your productivity. Being overwhelmed with tasks often comes down to inefficient task management that negatively affects productivity.
It results in starting many tasks but finishing only a few of them. You're overworked, you can’t fall asleep, and even if you do, you sleep terribly. Your personal life is nonexistent or is pretty boring because you take on more tasks than you're able to complete, or you take on tasks that you need some help with. Your productivity suffers.
Does that sound like your life? Consider getting rid of some tasks or delegate them to your team members. It doesn’t have to mean the end of the world.
Discover incredibly useful ways to balance your work and life all at once – with a little help from your friends at G2.
6. You don’t have control over your tasks
You know you have tasks, but you don’t know what the details or deadlines are. Your tasks hide between sticky notes and some online tools, which results in a constant mess.
On top of that, you focus on micromanagement of your team’s performance instead of looking at your own processes. You can’t become a productivity boss in one day, so before you start checking the progress of tasks that are delegated to other team members, look at your own tasks first.
7. You complain too much
Sad, brutal, but true. Do you find yourself complaining all the time about your work? Change it – or change your approach, since it definitely isn’t helping your productivity. It honestly may sound like a terrible piece of advice, but sometimes it is enough to stop complaining and start rolling up your sleeves to work. Complaining can be the worst enemy of productivity.
8. You see no bigger picture
A lack of productivity often goes along with a lack of motivation or low satisfaction from your work. There can be quite a few reasons behind it – one of them is that you can’t really see any goal of what you’ve been doing. This can negatively affect your deliverables.
Seeing the bigger picture is crucial for your success, but also for your productivity. If you don’t see any sense in what you are doing, it will reflect in your work. If you understand that every single task you accomplish is a part of something bigger, you can be more productive and overcome any lack of motivation.
9. The quality of your (late) work is deteriorating
You used to deliver amazing content. You used to provide readers with added value. It would have been unheard of if you had to submit something of poor quality, but now it happens every day. You prepare your work in a rush and without much motivation or lacking enough time for proper research, which results in low quality work that you don’t even want to sign off on.
That’s a no-no, and a clear sign for you to work on your productivity. Move some of your tasks or divide them into a couple of smaller tasks to make your work process easier and smoother. For example, if you’re in charge of writing an article, dedicate a few hours a day to research, and then start working on the actual article the following day. The third day in the content creation pipeline should be spent on proofreading.
It probably sounds and looks better than a huge task called “writing an ebook”. Accomplishing smaller tasks can resemble a series of small wins, and it can motivate you to finish your work on time, and in outstanding quality.
It is not a walk in the park to actually admit that you need some help with productivity. In many cases, people simply try to find other reasons that can impact a lack of motivation and yes, in many cases it can be easily explained.
But if you don’t see why the level of your productivity is so low, it is high time for you to look for a reason and eliminate its negative impact. It may take some time, it will take some effort, but it will pay off with productivity you never know you always missed.
Not convinced how important a productive life is for being your best self? Read our productivity statistics roundup just to see where you fall in the grand scheme of things.