Know what one of the top ways to kill a business is? Lack of productivity. Know what one of the biggest challenges for self-employed people, like voice actors, is? Maintaining productivity.
In today’s home-work environment, there are a million distractions. In addition to the hundred things around the house you need to get done, there are also endless alerts about emails, social media “likes”, text messages, and so on. There also are phone calls to make, colleagues to connect with, grocery lists to draft, laundry to fold, kids to shuttle….this list literally never ends, and it’s basically the same for every working adult.
I think these things are amplified when you’re self-employed and working out of your home, though, simply because you’re in your own, personal environment - your comfort zone. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder to see how much you’ve accomplished, and no one (save for clients) to report to. You’re on your own. And it’s solely up to you to maintain productivity and motivation.
Of course, complicating all of this are all those pesky distractions, lurking and just waiting to kill your productivity. However, if you can isolate what your biggest interferences are, you can stop them before they start and maintain an efficient level of productivity.
Here are my big 3 productivity killers:
1. Facebook. This one is probably going to top the list for a lot of folks, because it’s one of the biggest time-sucks out there. When you log onto Facebook, time seems to move faster, and the deeper you go down the FB rabbit hole, the more time you lose.
The fix: I don’t log onto Facebook until I’ve accomplished everything on my list for the day. It’s that simple. I just don’t do it.
2. Multitasking. I know there are a lot of people out there who can knock a ton of work out by doing multiple jobs at the same time. I am not of them. When I try to do too much at once, I get overwhelmed and frustrated, which negatively impacts my efficiency and productivity.
The fix: I make a list each morning of what I want to get done each day, and then I do those things one at a time. I don’t try to crowd them together and do things like compose emails while I’m on the phone or even on hold. I focus on each task individually until completion.
3. Overscheduling. In a similar vein of multitasking, I’ve found that if I try to cram too much into one day, the same feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed occur. I look at my list and think “I can’t do all this!” and then I feel kind of awful and hopeless, which is extremely counterproductive.
The fix: I don’t overschedule myself. I make my lists specific and realistic, allotting reasonable timeframes for each task. I try to keep it fairly flexible, too, so I can move things around if I need to.
So what about you? What kills your productivity and how do you deal with it?