Michael Sterling

7 Productivity Potholes


How many times have you wondered where the day went? One minute it’s 8am, the next it’s 8pm. Did you get as much done as you wanted? Chances are the answer is – NO!


We always think we’re being productive, when actually we’ve hit numerous productivity potholes. The potholes aren’t large enough to cause the wheels to come off our day – but they they do slow us down.


I’ve identified a number of productivity potholes to steer clear of at work.


7 Productivity Potholes


  1. Surfing. Not the kind of surfing where you’re out riding the waves with the sun on your face and breeze in your hair. Web surfing. Sure, surfing the web is fun – too much fun. Let’s just say that a ‘quick browse’ – when it comes to the web – is an oxymoron.
  2. Office Politics/Gossiping. Getting caught up in the who did what and when conversations at the office is not only a time waster but can be a career killer. Competition in the workplace can be fierce. Trying to one-up or talk-down a colleague to get ahead will quickly put you behind in completing your projects efficiently.
  3. Measuring-Up. Spending time measuring yourself against others is futile. Everyone’s skills and strengths are uniquely their own. Comparing yourself to others will, not only consume valuable time, but will likely deplete your motivation and your self-esteem.
  4. Instant Messaging. It’s amazing how instant communication – designed to make our lives easier – is actually a major hassle. Things designed to be done in an instant end up taking much longer. Is a quick I.M. every really quick? Enough said.
  5. Meetings. We all know many meetings are runaway trains. They’re productivity potholes en masse. But the time between meetings can be equally draining on momentum. Scheduling meetings too close together leaves little time to be productive. Getting ‘down to business’ for a half hour between meetings is unlikely. Leaving larger breaks between meetings gives everyone a chance to focus on the work at hand.
  6. Over Planning. Every project needs a thoughtful plan. However, planning without subsequent action is a time-buster. To get things done efficiently, a plan needs to be moved forward and acted upon. Otherwise, it’s really the equivalent of doggie-paddling. You’re moving – but not really going anywhere.
  7. Worrying. What if the worst thing imaginable happened? Well, what if it didn’t? When worry and fear get in our way, productivity tanks. Address each obstacle as it arises and more forward.


What productivity potholes have you encountered? Feel free to comment and add to the list.  And connect with me on LinkedIn.


Interested in more career nutrition? Check out the Career Wellness section of the SterlingFreeman website.  


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