My volume of work is insane. I have more emails than I can handle. I need to block out my calendar just to go to the bathroom.
If you ever say or feel these things, you have one of the top three productivity barriers.
The Top Three Productivity Barriers (Anatomy of Work Index).
- Too much work to do.
- Responding to emails and messages.
- Too many meetings and video calls.
Too Much Work to Do
Let's start here. I can't remember the last time I didn't have something else I could be doing. There are definitely days where I wish I had a clock-in, clock-out job. My husband, a professional drummer and drum teacher, isn't working when he isn't in the studio. When he's on vacation, his work isn't piling up. He simply takes off.
Start looking at your list and get rid of all those nice-to-do tasks that you'll get to someday. Purging your list can be invigorating, whether that purge is accidental or intentional. Often, those nice-to-do tasks just keep reminding us of what we aren't doing, and if you've been moving it forward for weeks or months, just consider it done and move on! It must not be that important, right?
Responding to Emails and Messages
For the love of kittens, please treat email and messages like a task! Schedule time to process them rather than reacting to them all day. You'll have less decision fatigue from context switching, which can decrease productivity up to 43%! Schedule them to send at a later time, so you don't get the email ping pong. Use a program like *Boomerang's Inbox Pause if you use Gmail or Work Offline if you use Outlook. Treat email as a task, not a reaction.
Too Many Meetings or Video Calls
The number of meetings has sky-rocketed since companies went virtual. What used to happen in 2-3 minutes is now a 30-minute Zoom meeting. We're getting Zoom fatigue because we've forgotten how to use the phone.
Stop attending or scheduling unnecessary meetings. Make them shorter, invite fewer people, or pick up the phone. It seems like less effort, so we won't feel compelled to stay on for 30-minutes. We're also more likely to make it spontaneous and get the challenge solved right then rather than two weeks in the future when our calendars are open.
Which of the three productivity barriers can you tackle first?
Implement the steps above to increase your work effectiveness, decrease your working hours, and enhance your productivity.