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These 8 barriers to being productive are real ! Here is how to avoid them !

We all know that productivity is essential for success. However, in our fast-paced world, it can be difficult to stay focused and productive at work. No one can work at an equal productivity at all times. If you are human, you will face barriers in maintaining productivity all the time. 

The difference between successful individuals and those who are not, is the amount of time one is productive at their work. Successful people are productive in the limited time they allocate to any task. Those who are not successful are not productive, no matter how many hours they work. 

It is not the number of hours, but the quality of time that is the differentiator here. 

But isn’t that the case in everything, including the time that you spend with your family ? 

Unfortunately, when we’re not productive, it can lead to missed deadlines, missed opportunities, and lower productivity overall. And it causes stress that we carry to our personal lives as well. 

However, by understanding the common challenges to productivity, you can try to overcome them. 

So, here are the most common productivity challenges that people face. 

1. Planning and Prioritization

It can be difficult to plan and prioritize tasks. One way to overcome this challenge is to create a daily schedule that includes specific tasks and a timeline to complete them. Another way is to set daily or weekly goals and develop a plan to reach them. 

There are many methods to plan and prioritize your day. Some of them are listed below. You should use the approach that is most suitable to you or make a combined version of these techniques. 

  • Todo lists / Checklists
  • Time Blocking
  • Eisenhower Matrix ( Urgency / Importance Matrix) 
  • Pomodoro Technique 

2. Distractions 

In today’s world, distractions come in all shapes and sizes. From social media to emails and phone calls, it can be hard to stay focused. To combat distractions, turn off notifications, block out time specifically for tasks, and dedicate yourself to one task at a time. 

For example, in my last job, I used to check emails only in the afternoon and evenings for one hour each. Soon, people understood my behavior and used to call me or text me for an urgent issue. It was a fast growing startup and I did this for almost 2 years – nothing broke !

Another way to cut distractions is to outsource. Hire someone to do the task for you, and you only have to check on the person you hired. 

3. Procrastination

Procrastination is a huge productivity killer. To overcome this, break down tasks into smaller pieces and start with the most important tasks first. 

It can help to give yourself incentives for completing tasks, such as taking a break or rewarding yourself with something special for completing tasks on time.

Incentives can be a great source of motivation. I once worked with a brilliant salesperson who I hired for her exceptional conviction to sell. Later I discovered the source of her motivation. At the start of each month, she would promise herself to buy a brand new expensive item she wanted in her life. For example, a Versace bag, and would try to close as many sales as would give her the commissions to buy that item. 

4. Stress

Stress can lead to a lack of motivation and productivity. To combat stress, make sure to take regular breaks, practice mindfulness, and stay organized. It can also help to eliminate tasks that take too much time or energy, and to focus on tasks that are meaningful.

5. Lack of Focus

If you ask me, the root of productivity challenges is a lack of focus. 

Focus literally refers to concentration or zeroing on something. A lack of focus is then caused by too many distractions, a cluttered work environment or simply a lack of motivation. To overcome a lack of focus, it’s important to set goals and prioritize tasks, adn track progress. Meditation, deep breathing, and visualization are also great ways to increase focus. 

6. Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be a real killer of productivity, as it can lead to an endless cycle of reworking and revising. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on getting the 70% draft ready. 

All the world works on approximation. Even Newton’s laws are approximate and not perfect, but they run most business in the world. 

Aim for progress, not perfection. And then perfect it later if needed. 

7. Overthinking

Overthinking can lead to analysis paralysis, which can be detrimental to productivity. To overcome it, it’s important to focus on the task at hand and to avoid getting stuck in a loop of endless thought. 

It’s also important to practise mindfulness and to stay present in the moment. 

Forget past mistakes – learn from them and let them go. They do not mean anything more than the learning you derived from them. Future is still in your hands, and you can change it. So, no point bothering about that either. Try to give your best to the present as per your plan. This behaviour will only make you succeed

8. Lack of Motivation

A lack of motivation can be a major barrier to productivity. To overcome it, it is important to link rewards on obtaining the results. Such positive affirmations can provide you with great motivation. 

Reward yourself. It works !

It is especially important if you are a founder. There is no one to appreciate you or reward you. So you need to do it yourself.

One of the founders I worked with had linked a particular growth figure target to his dream adventure of 2 months in South America with his wife. He reached that goal in 4 years and reaped that reward. However, the motivation to get there had rewarded him and the company immensely by then. 

Now that you know these 9 barriers, be aware that they can cause you great stress if not kept in control. Build systems that can work to control them or remove them from your life. 

Let me know how you found this article in the comments. 

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