Productivity Killers

By The Intersect Group

What was your very first thought when you read this post’s title?

Was it something like this:

“OMG! Productivity killers! I have a gazillion of them. My technology, my own thoughts. Clients/bosses. My kids. The weather (if it’s gorgeous, I want to get up and outside. if it’s bad, I want to crawl into bed.”)

And on and on and on and on.


Productivity killers, it appears, are everywhere

And while we can’t cover them all here, we’ll offer tips on how to “fight against” some of the most common culprits.

  • Technology

Tech is designed to keep us “engaged” with it. Social media’s algorithms specifically make us want to keep checking back for new updates. Our work-at-home tools guarantee that our managers and colleagues can ping us at any time of day (and they often do). And let’s not even talk about Zoom and Slack.  (Please, let’s not.)

But it’s the mindless Internet scrolling or Facebook checking we do “just to take a break,” that can suck us into the tech vortex, only to “wake up” five minutes later to find it’s actually been 40 minutes!

The best thing to do? It’s difficult – oh, how DIFFICULT we personally know it is! – but aim to set limits. Set timers for your internet reading. Let colleagues know you’ll respond to messages at certain times. Work from 8 and then quit at 5. And so on.

And now, moving into a productivity killer that managers tend to set…. 

  • Unnecessary meetings.

Naturally, if you’re a manager, you should really dig deep about a meeting’s purpose and see if it really needs to be scheduled at all. (Some tips to help you ascertain if a meeting is necessary.)

And if it’s not, don’t hold it.

  • Multitasking.

That’s right: trying to do more than one thing at once kills productivity.

Want proof? Multitasking lowers your brain’s mental performance and efficiency. Which decreases your ability to be productive, so much so that working on two tasks at the same time can lower your productivity by as much as 40 percent!

Instead, focus on one thing at a time. If you have more than one thing that must be done, see if you can finish one before starting another.

If not, set a timer on one task and stop when the timer rings.

Then focus on another task. And only that task.

  • Your messy desk.

Yes, we know: you know where everything is. You’ll find that thing – whatever it may be – right away.

And you very well may.

But your brain is silently shouting at you: “Clean this up! It’s stressing me out!”

That’s right: clutter is stressing. And stress can kill productivity (not to mention negatively affect your health.)

And a messy desk also can include a messy desktop computer or laptop.

So take time this weekend to make sense out of the disorder. Get rid of files. Place important files in folders and mark them well. Create an organization system that works (for you).

Finally – because this does work – aim to leave work every day with an empty desk (or desktop). Starting work in the morning facing a clean desk gets your day off to a peaceful start.

If one of your “productivity killers” is the fact that you’ve outgrown your IT, finance, or accounting job and are looking for your next challenge, check out The Intersect Group’s current opportunities.

If one or more of them appeal to you, apply per the posting’s instructions. And, even if there’s nothing available now, register with us and upload your resume: our clients continually send us opportunities, and they often are filled before we post them…because someone like you registered with us.