Roadblocks to Productivity

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Feeling stressed, over stimulated, overworked and just plain tired? In today’s world, we all have numerous responsibilities and tasks that fill up our days. At times, it feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything.


But maybe it’s not a time management problem.


Maybe the issue isn’t how many hours you have in a day to get all your responsibilities completed. Maybe the problem requires you to step back and get a new perspective on what’s REALLY blocking you from living a productive life.


You clutter your life with tasks and responsibilities that just aren’t important anymore. At one point, they were important to you. However, your life has evolved and over time, you’ve added new responsibilities that are more vital to your current life. However, you haven’t taken the time to let go of the old to make room for the new. It’s possible that you’re trying to accomplish a daily weekly list that is not relevant to your life NOW. Step back and take a fresh look at your life. Do each one of these tasks and responsibilities lead to your overall short-term and long-term goals? Maybe you need to do some purging and throw out what’s standing in the way of your goals.


You have trouble prioritizing and looking at things objectively.

Last week, I was having a conversation with my husband. He informed me that he had way too much to accomplish on his daily list. He had some extremely important paperwork and also had to pick up all the leaves in the yard. He was on his way out to clean up the yard, which I knew would take hours. I stopped him and asked how the leaves could possibly be as important as his required work. Yes, the leaves had to get done, but they could wait another week. The work was much more important. Sometimes, everything seems important in our heads and we have difficulty assessing what truly is priority for that particular day.


Being busy does not mean we are being productive.

There’s a big difference and in order to be truly successful at work, you need to be clear on the difference. You can fill your days with all kinds of activities that get you not even in close proximity to your life goals. Sure, it makes you feel good but it masks the truth. It doesn’t address the fact that without the right kind of activity you’re not going to succeed in your ultimate goal. You’re just fooling yourself into believing that you’re making progress. Be strategic in your daily, weekly tasks and monthly to-do lists.


We feel good about working non-stop but eventually, this backfires.

I know plenty of people that eat lunch at their desk so they can get more done at work. Smart, right? WRONG! Numerous studies have proven that it’s impossible to work at peak performance for long periods of time. Yes, you’re working, but you’re not working at full capacity. Sitting too long depletes your brain of oxygen and glucose. The good news is that a walk around the block or even through the building will reenergize you so you can be much more productive. Take breaks regularly that don’t involve your computer or phone.


We get lost in the hidden expectations and beliefs that we attach to our responsibilities.

Take a good look at your responsibilities and do a self-check. Are you holding on to any unrealistic or unhealthy expectations that you need to let go? For example, a belief that “I must join every committee and attend every event associated with my company in order to be successful” will eventually drive you crazy. Sure, it will make you busy, but does it truly lead to real success? Decide whether your expectations of self are fair and accurate.


With a few tweaks, you can live a successful, productive life.



Making Time

I was talking with someone in a bookstore a couple weeks ago and the topic turned to losing weight.  She was sharing how she knew that she needed to eat right and workout, but she just didn’t have the time.  She had two kids, a part-time job and a husband— this kept her very busy. She even went as far as to share her daily schedule with me to prove her point.  Yes, she was very busy, but that really isn’t the point. You know why? Because the truth is that we make time for things in life that are a priority to us.


I’ll bet that there’s part of her that really doesn’t want to exercise.  Maybe she’s stuck in a rut or maybe she enjoys sleeping in late in the morning.  It could be that it just doesn’t bother her enough to take action. On an intellectual level, she knows that it would be healthy for her to start an exercise regime.  However, on an emotional level, she just isn’t ready to take action.  Regardless of why, the fact that she’s busy is nothing more than an excuse.  Making the change is just not that high on her priority list.


When I walked in my backyard 30 minutes ago, I was shocked to see my tomato plant wilting. The leaves on the bottom half of the plant were turning brown and it was slightly tilting to the right.  My hydrangea was wilted and the flowers were curling up.  The petunias that always thrive in their beds didn’t look so hot. When I walked around front, I noticed that my two pots with planted begonias by the front door were beyond hope.  I was stunned.


I immediately looked for reasons this could have occurred.  Is it possible that there’s something wrong with the soil?  Could it be that I bought “bad plants” this year?  It must be the extreme heat that’s affecting my plants. Yes, that’s it. I decided that it must be the heat.  I’m sure that the plants are just getting way too much sun.


I went back to my desk to work and then it occurred to me.  Maybe I was just like my new friend in the bookstore. I’m unhappy with my circumstances in life, so I’m searching for something that takes the heat off of me. If I blame it on the plants, then I don’t need to take responsibility for the consequence.  The bottom line is this, the plants were dying because I wasn’t giving them the care and time that they needed.  I wasn’t making my plants a priority.


I guess it always goes back to the same point— the way to move ahead in life is by being honest with YOU.  By being truthful about the issues with my horticulture, I’m able to face the fact that I need to reassess what I want to make important in my life.  So what about you? Have you been guilty of that overused excuse that you don’t have time?  Is it honestly a priority for you?  Give it some though