Top 7 Productivity Killers (and How To Avoid Them)
By Michele Hanson-O'Reggio
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As a small business owner you wear many hats. Office administration, marketing, sales, bookkeeping, advertising, customer relations: it never ends. Your to-do list is growing as quickly as your energy level is plummeting. Oh, and you need to make more time for yourself and your family. There just isnít enough time! And letís not forget those goals you set for yourself. Werenít you going to dramatically increase your personal productivity? Didnít you promise yourself youíd grow your earning power? And what about working on your self-esteem and getting more out of life? After all, isnít that why you went into business for yourself in the first place? You can manage your time better and reach your goals, if you learn to avoid these Seven Deadly Productivity Killers.
- Procrastination: Weíre all guilty of it. But the upside of procrastination is that it offers clues to the nature of the real problem. You might be putting something off because you donít have the expertise to complete a task. Perhaps you havenít found the best solution to the problem yet. Maybe the task is too overwhelming. Or maybe you just donít like doing it. Once youíve figured out why you procrastinate, you can start working on a solution. For example, if youíre overwhelmed, try breaking up the task into smaller pieces and tackle them one by one. If you donít have the expertise for the task, or you hate doing it, why not give the job to someone who has the know-how, is good at it, and actually loves doing it?
- Multi-tasking: Most people, including me, try to do everything all at once. You kid yourself that youíre getting lots done. But youíre not. When nothing gets your full attention, errors creep in. In the long run, you end up spending more time undoing those mistakes. Stop trying to do it all at once. By giving your undivided attention to one thing at a time, youíll be much more productive.
- Spending Time on Tasks That Donít Produce Income: The hallmark of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to delegate. Working on a difficult or boring chore quickly saps your energy and enthusiasm. Admit that youíre not an expert at everything! Give the job to the real experts. They can do it more easily and cost-effectively, and you can get back to doing what you do best. The first step in deciding what to delegate is to determine the most valuable use of your time. Always apply Paretoís Principle The 80-20 Rule. This rule states that 20 percent of your activities produce 80 percent of your results. So, in prioritizing your to-do list, determine which tasks are in your top 20 percent by assessing their value to your life. When youíve identified the activities that generate the most income, youíll know which tasks to delegate.
- Lack of Planning: If you donít know where youíre going, any path will take you there. Stay focused by periodically re-evaluating your objectives. Making a list of your goals helps. Thinking on paper stimulates creativity and transforms fuzzy ideas into a clear and concrete action plan. Reviewing the next day before you go to bed is also effective. Your subconscious busily works on your goals while you sleep, and youíll wake up feeling in control and ready to tackle your challenges.
- Handling Things More Than Once: Do it, Dump it, or Delegate it! Handle things only once by evaluating every task that comes your way, decide what to do with it, and prioritize your to-do list. Once youíve started a task, keep at it until itís done. When you come back to an unfinished task, you need to take extra time to re-familiarize yourself with it and figure out where you left off. Successfully completing a task, no matter how small, gives you a great sense of accomplishment and encourages you to take on other tasks that come your way.
- Disorganization: Did you know that disorganization costs the average worker at least one hour of productivity each day? Can you afford to lose five hours a week? Of course not! Keeping your desk, files, and work area clean and organized makes you more productive. Youíll be more focused on the task at hand, find the things you need more readily, and feel more in control of your life.
- Lack of Balance in Your Life: If youíre like most people, you went into business for yourself to get more enjoyment from life. Yet many people lose sight of this goal. They become too preoccupied with the business, and end up sacrificing their own and their familyís well being. Stress builds up, they burn out, and productivity takes a nosedive. This doesnít have to happen to you! Be sure to leave at least one day a week for leisure and being with the people that are important to you. And take care of yourself Ė set aside time each day to do something you enjoy. When you lead a balanced life youíll enjoy good health, have a happy family life, and find peace of mind.
Copyright 2004 Michele Hanson-OReggio. All Rights Reserved.
Michele OReggio is a Certified Virtual Assistant providing administrative and online marketing services to solo entrepreneurs. For more useful tips and resources to increase your productivity, sales and working virtually, email mailto:25tips@SendNow.net and subscribe to the Fre^e Tips for Pros ezine at http://www.avirtualpro.com
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Article Submitted On: October 13, 2005