The Top 5 Killers of Productivity – Despite Your Best Efforts

You have your to-do list, your calendar, your awesome project management software, and your very own personal assistant.  You scheduled everything in, planned your wardrobe and meals for the week, and have a perfectly organized workspace from which you work your magic.  So, why can’t you get any of your magic spells to work?

Here is the simple truth:  there is more to productivity than organization.  Productivity means getting things done, but spending hours planning on getting things done doesn’t substitute, as much work as it is.  Let’s see what is actually killing your time…

5.  Quantity of Work over Quality of Work

You have a ton of work to do.  You want to get everything done.  Sounds typical, right?  Your to-do list is miles long, and can someone please schedule a vacation in sometime between 3:00 and 3:07?  It’s all you can do to make it to the coffee pot before the delicious medicine-of-the-gods is all gone.

This may be a sign that you’re trying to do too much.  Instead, go ahead and take a break to focus on what really needs to be accomplished today, and what can be put off or delegated to your helpful task elves.  Sometimes, you’ll never even get those less important things done, because they never needed to be done in the first place!  If you do all of the urgent stuff right away, you’ll feel much better at the end of the day than if you had run around trying to get a ton of pointless tasks done.

4.  Over-organization

Yeah, your desk may look super neat, and your color-coded calendar is the cat’s pajamas, but are you going to sit there and admire your handiwork all day, or actually get things done?  For those in the creative business where your ideas are liquid gold, all that organization may be stifling your creativity.

Despite what you may think, spending hours getting your things in a precise order probably does not pay off in the long run, especially if you’re a naturally messy person like myself.  It’s okay to have papers not in neat rows of folders.  It’s okay to have stacks of books in random order.  Leave a pen or two outside the pen organizer.  Better to be working than organizing!

3.  Lack of Habituation

The Random House Dictionary defines habituation as the “reduction of psychological or behavioral response occurring when a specific stimulus occurs repeatedly.”  What does that mean, and why is it important for productivity?

It basically means automation.  When you go through your morning routine, do you recite all the steps in your head and think about each step as you’re doing it?  Likely not.  You’ve done the same thing every morning for years.  Dress, brush teeth, fix hair, make toast, etc.  Do you need to think, “Okay, me.  Put right leg through right pant hole, then left leg through other pant hole, then button, then zip.  Okay, toast time!  You got this!”

Yeah, didn’t think so.  Same should apply to your work.  Automate the tasks you do on a regular basis, so you don’t even have to think about them anymore.  No more wondering if you paid the people you’re supposed to pay, or checked your email.  Do these things at the same time and in the same order every time you do them.  It’ll make you more productive.  Promise.

2.  Lack of Flow

Flow is a crucial state of mind for everyone.  Some achieve this through knitting, others through video games.  Any repetitive motion that requires your full attention can help you flow.  If there’s no way you can incorporate this into your work, pick up a hobby.  It will help you in all aspects of your life by making you mentally stronger, happier, and generally more productive.

1.  Perfectionism

Ahhh, the top killer of productivity at last.  Perfectionism.  Trying to do everything right.  There’s no shame in having pride.  But if you spend more time on perfecting one task than you do at trying to complete all the important tasks of your day, then you will certainly fall short.  You’re busy.  Let the small flaws slide.  It’s doubtful anyone will notice them anyway.


All that being said, you can’t go wrong by trying out Copper Project Management Software.  There’s a snazzy free trial right here that shows you all that it can do to help you and your business thrive.  Thanks for reading, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!


Sara Border is a guest author for Copper, and she likes to use phrases like “cat’s pajamas” and “hunky dory.”  She can’t help it.  Check out her website over here!