Three Productivity Stoppers and Some Ideas How to Avoid Them

Of course we don’t want to waste time. But we can get into habits that, without our even realizing it, can steal this precious commodity. Here are 3 concepts to keep in mind that should go a long way to helping us get the most out of the time in the day.

Stop Those Phone and Email Interruptions:

As children most of us were taught to answer the phone when it rings. To most of us this action became automatic and has lasted into our adult years. More recently, with the advent of email, many of us have extended this habit to the way we handle our emails. Many folks keep a notification alarm on their computers which rings each time new mail comes in. These systems may check for emails every 5 to 10 minutes. These 2 habits, immediately answering the phone, and handling emails when they arrive can become major time wasters and can essentially stop our production.

The problem with phone calls and with emails that are being constantly monitored is that they intrude into our lives without regard to what we are doing. If we saw another person who did this to us, who came interrupting us regardless of what we were doing, we would think they were being rude and, perhaps, believe them to be almost psychotic.

Most experts, and most people who get a lot done, agree that it is best to control phone calls and emails and to handle them at times of our own convenience. While this may not always be possible, an attempt to put some sort of control these factors can be very beneficial. One way to do this is to designate certain times of the day to handle phone calls as well as emails.

There are many workable ways of doing this, each of us will find our own. One successful method is to not check the email, even for the 1st time during the day, until after lunch. While some want to check it in the morning, the truth is that this can often derail our daily planning activities and cause us to divert our attention off the things that matter. This can kill momentum.

A key suggestion is to turn off the ringer of the phone, if you are answering it yourself, and turn off the notification alarm of your email client. Regarding emails, it is also best to shut down the automatic checking of emails and to control that operation manually.

The phone can be a bit different because we might want to be available more often, especially for new clients. However if we are doing any kinds of projects, it is essentially impossible to be available all the time for phones. Many people find it best to have certain hours designated during the day for answering the phone. When calls come in during times outside these designated periods, we simply informed them, with our answering system or secretary, that we will get back to them at a certain specific time of the day. And we, of course, keep that promise. This allows us to control the times of our communication and allow us to have time relatively interruption-free. This is our time for production.

Regardless of how you handle your email or your phones, you will definitely find putting control into these factors will raise your own standards of efficiency and productivity.

Trying to Be a Perfectionist:

Action is the key to a successful life. We simply need to get to work and get stuff done. It is best to consider every action as a cycle of action with a start, a change and a stop. We need to do each of those components to actually remain in control.

Trying to be perfect is one of the false standards that many of us try to achieve in our activities. Perhaps one’s ideas of perfection come from the time they were criticized as children. The key problem of trying to be perfect is that it sticks us in a cycle of action and we never are able to stop it. Since perfection is actually impossible, in order to hit the stop button on any cycle of action we must abandon the idea of trying to be perfect.

If one really looks at it, one should remember that the only realistic standard by which we can operate is to do the best we can at the time that were doing it. Oh yes, we make it better as we become more skilled and more educated, but at any given time we can operate at a certain level and that is standard that we should expect. If we find that we have many actions that are hung up, because they are not good enough, perhaps we need to look at precisely what we are trying to achieve. What is perfect? Perhaps a simple definition, applied, would break us of the habit.

It’s best to leave perfection to those in society who cannot get things actually done.


With today’s many amazing tools and communication deices we are capable of having almost countless numbers of things coming at us at any given time. We can keep many screens open on our computers, be listening to talk radio or running the television while we work, and, basically, find ourselves doing, or attempting to do, many things at one time.

There are folks who have Facebook open on their computers all the time. Some folks have Twitter running. Many are being notified of every email that comes in as it comes in. And what they find is that they have attention on these items rather than on getting the actual job done.We can easily end our days, when we have these kinds of games going on, where despite an amazing amount of activity, we have really gotten very little of value done.

There isn’t any such thing as multitasking. We might think there is by looking at professionals in operation such as pilots. It appears a pilot as multitasking. But in reality what he or she is doing is doing several things as one action. Walking is another example of that. If you look at the activity of walking you are doing many things but reality you’re doing one thing – walking.

Productivity requires the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. We do one thing, complete it, then do the next thing, etc. If we do that, we actually get things done – efficiently.

Efficiency is not something that we look to achieve for its own sake. It is simply an indicator as to how much we are getting out of a fixed commodity. Since time, essentially, is a fixed commodity the more we can get done during certain periods the more efficient life will be. Keep the three above points in mind can go a long ways to making our lives more efficient and productive.

Go to for more Time Management and Day Planning Hints and Tools. Also, check out our Free Download of an amazing Day Planning Tool called Time Coach.

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