How Productive Are You Really?

As a career coach, I spend a lot of time working with people on their productivity. You might not expect that, but being productive is actually an important skill - both inside the workplace and out. When people tell me they have big goals—or even small ones—and they just can’t seem to make progress on them, I know it’s time to evaluate their productivity practices. Nine times out of ten, people get stuck because they’re not using their time, energy and other resources effectively. And that’s what productivity is all about. Whether you’re searching for a new job or working to get that big promotion, you can’t afford to waste your resources. Regardless of your personal or professional situation, it’s always a good idea to hone your productivity skills.


Why Does Productivity Matter?

Think about a time in your life when everything just clicked—when you were accomplishing amazing things with minimal effort, and yet you weren’t buried beneath the stress of an overwhelming to-do list. You were in control and moving quickly toward your goals. Maybe you’ve never felt this way in your life. Or maybe you’ve only experienced this in occasional bursts. But, by implementing a few simple productivity strategies, you really can create a life like this now and in the future. When you master productivity, you naturally experience less stress. You can rely on the systems and processes you’ve put in place, so you know you won’t forget important information or miss important events. You won’t forget that great idea you had in the middle of the night. Things won’t fall through the cracks. You can concentrate on just getting things done instead of worrying. When you’re a truly productive part of your workplace, you contribute on a level that brings real value to the organization. Productive professionals experience a great sense of job security, because they know their importance to the success of the team. Outside of work, people who understand productivity even have better relationships. After all, can you imagine spending time with family and friends without worrying about your growing to-do list or all the errands you should be running? Instead, you’re simply concentrating on having a good time because you know you’re already on top of everything else.

How Productive Are You?

Now that you think about what it’s like to be truly productive, let me ask you: How would you rank your current productivity on a scale of one to ten? Imagine one is an unbelievably unproductive day and ten is a perfectly productive one. Where do most of your days fall? If you’re somewhere between five and seven, congratulations—you’re normal. This is the range that most of my clients typically fall into before they implement my strategies and recommendations. Of course, once they have the tools they need, they easily land in the nine to ten range.

What Kills Your Productivity?

If you’re not experiencing the level of productivity you want, it’s important to figure out what’s causing your problems. For most people, the common productivity killers are perfectionism and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Both of these lead to procrastination either because you’re afraid of getting started or you simply don’t know where to start. Lack of focus may also be harming your productivity. If you have a hard time concentrating or if you’re trying to do too many things at once, you’ll inevitably fall below your ideal productivity range. Are you guilty of these things? Scratch that. No guilt. We all fall victim to these productivity obstacles now and again. If you recognize a few as your own productivity killers, don’t beat yourself up. The good news is there are plenty of strategies out there to help you. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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