#1 Thing Killing Your Productivity (plus 2 more)

Gosh … it’s 9pm already??  How can that be?  What did I accomplish today?

I ask myself that almost every night.  And more times than not, the answer to the last question is “Not nearly all I wanted to.”

Are you doing any of these three productivity killers? Try some easy fixes!Can you relate? Please …. tell me you can relate and I’m not the only one who feels the days tumbling away like boulders down a steep slope.

You’d think that since my business is all about helping people be more productive and effective, I might be the most organized person you know and have my act together.  That happens to be the biggest misconception about me.  I may be great at organizing OTHER people, groups and events, but when it comes to personal organization and productivity, well, let’s face it.  Some days, I just flat stink at it.

Now why is that?  I’ve read all the books and listened to the podcasts, but I know there are three critical mistakes I’m making on my worst days to kill my productivity, and you might be making them too.

1. Not getting enough sleep

Why do we do this to ourselves?  When there are so many things to be done, the first thing we sacrifice is sleep.  Staying awake way after the kids go to bed, or getting up super early to have the house to yourself for a while may be your most productive time to work.

But when you are doing both and getting less than your ideal amount of sleep, it’s a productivity killer.  It may seem like the right way to get more hours in your day, but you know what the Bible says about what seems right to us?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25 (ESV)

And not getting enough sleep is definitely death to me and my productivity.

This is near and dear to my heart right now.  Last week, I was traveling and got stuck in airports during all the storms in the south east.  Two nights in a row, I got less than five hours of sleep.  I was cranky and definitely not thinking clearly.  I even told my co-workers not to stress me out because I know I will cry at the drop of a hat if I don’t get enough sleep!

Check out this infographic from the folks at Quill.com about the effects of not getting enough sleep.

Click to Enlarge Image

How Sleep (and Lack of it) Affects performance on the Job

When I’m at home, I’m forcing myself to head to bed by 9pm, no matter what’s finished and what’s not.

2.  Not having a plan for the day

When my to-do list is longer than my arm, it’s overwhelming.  There’s no way I am going to get all of that done in one day, so I need a way to prioritize.  Often the easy, fun things are not as important as some of the necessary thing.  But which ones do we gravitate towards when we are overloaded?  Yep, you got it.  Those easy, fun ones.  The low-hanging fruit.

Start your day (or end the night before) by reviewing the list of things to do.  Pick the top three you must get done that day.  Then three more you’d like to do, but could wait for another day if you don’t get to them.  And pick one fun, easy thing you’ll just feel good doing.

Focus on those top three and work them until they are complete before you start something else.  Work the one fun thing in somewhere.  And then tackle one of the “optional” tasks if you have time left over.

If you are still looking for the perfect to-do list that works for you, try this post from Brit + Co. I found this week.  It has 20 FREE printable to-do list styles.  One has to be perfect for you.   I think I might try the Tic Tac Toe one!

3. Wasting time

Harsh, right? How can I be wasting time if I am busy 110% of the day? But if I’m honest, I waste a lot of time.  Playing games on my phone.  Checking website stats about 40 times a day.  Grabbing a snack to avoid starting a new task.  The sneakiest time wasters are the ones that fill those small empty spaces of our day. I can’t do anything productive with these 10 minutes, right?

Wrong.  I made this whole list of how to make just 10 minutes matter.  I’ve started keeping a note on my phone with a list of quick things I can do in those little spaces. So I don’t even have to waste one of the 10 minutes thinking of what to do!


So which of these productivity killers do you most struggle with?  How will you make your days more productive?

Linking up with Jaime Weibel at #SittingAmongFriends


9 thoughts on “#1 Thing Killing Your Productivity (plus 2 more)”

  1. Hi Christa, Thank you for your honesty and, yes, I was one that thought you were very organized and a perfect example of time management in action. I love your tansparncy!! Sleep is definitely not a problem-most nights I get 7-8 hours-due to health issues it’s a must because I can’t function the nxt day if I don’t get adequate sleep. I generally have a plan for the day but lack of time management often throws that plan right out the door. The TV can definitely waste a lot of my time.
    Today is a day I am going To add to my blessing jar for sure. If my husband is home, the TV is on, whether he is in the living room or not to watch it. The minute he is up, it is on. Being physically challenged it’s easy for me to just sit there and watch TV. Today, he is off and he didn’t turn it on. We’ve had such a productive day. Praising God and believing that this will happen more often.

  2. Thank you for sharing, I found that sleep is SO important yes. I was going on fumes for a while and my brain was like mush. It wasn’t worth it. The other thing that we had to do to help in our daily home school (and it has helped me in my writing) is move the only tv we have to the girls room, so the living room and kitchen don’t have “noise.” I typically write at the table, and the kids do their work here too, so when anyone would be on break right in the next room, the tv was distracting. Now that we have overcome that hump, I would say my struggle is just learning to write a little everyday.

    I tend to be an all or nothing person LOL. It is like everything will all come out at once, or nothing at all. I have tried the “writing a blog post in pieces” method but my brain isn’t wired this way. I go back to add to it and it feels old, like I can’t remember what I was writing about or why. I think it because when I write it is current and with much emotion. If it involves my past then there has been something to trigger that memory/lesson I learned.

    In a nutshell, I am not sure if this is bad or if it just the way I am and I should embrace my word vomit approach haha!

  3. I struggle with #1. I don’t get enough sleep. Not because I don’t love my bed, but I have a four year old with higher needs, which may wake up three to four times every night. So, I have to work around the fact that’s my normal for now and gotta make it work, but can totally see the effects after a while. Great tips!

    • Yes, Edith, that is a season of life where you need coping strategies to make it through. Blessings to you, friend. They do grow up…but then they keep you up all night for different reasons. 🙂

  4. Yes, yes, and YES! All of the above! Thanks for giving us a plan to be more productive. I’m really hoping the CPAP machine installed today will help me with #1!!

  5. I really appreciate your blog, Christa. It offers value consistently. I like your plan for a simple to-do list. Sometimes mine gets too long, with stresses me and clouds my perception of that day’s priorities.

  6. Christa, I love reading your posts. They are so straightforward and a bit convicting. I need to work on 1, 2,& 3. Yikes. Will I ever get it right. Thank you for sharing with us at Sitting Among Friends on Wednesdays. I look forward to seeing you again next week. Thanks also for linking back to my site, I truly appreciate it.


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