7 Ways You’re Killing Your Productivity at Work


It’s 4:00 pm and you still haven’t touched a single thing on your to do list. Another unproductive workday once filled with intention is about to go waste as deadlines approach and anxiety sets in. It’s time to take responsibility and address the productivity killers you’re bringing on yourself.

Top 7 productivity killers

The Chatty Kathy

Mornings are a race. The sprint to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door followed by a commute means most of us start our day with a break. Instead of sipping coffee and chatting with coworkers until mid morning, start your workday with 30 productive minutes of email-free work time.

Zoning out

Taking a little internal getaway feels good. A blank stare out the window at 2:00pm is about as hard to resist as thinking about your personal life. Snap out of it! Focus on work so you don’t have to think about it at home. Besides, leaving work to buy groceries is not going to happen.

Put away the phone

Seriously, put your smart phone away. It wasn’t that long ago that millions of people survived the workday without answering a text every five minutes. Like it or not, we have become hardwired to respond to the beeps, clicks and buzzing of our phones and it’s getting out of hand. All those notifications are not only distracting but they can affect your mood and displace attention, adding up to hours of lost time. Free yourself.


Want to really waste some time? Try multitasking. This buzzword competency is a fallacy. Taking notes and talking on the phone is doable, but tasks that take real attention can only be completed one at a time. The truth is, when we try to do two or more things at once, we’re overworking our short-term memory. The result? Scrambled eggs. Our minds will capture bits and pieces, leaving us remembering only shadows of each task and producing choppy work. Don’t believe me? Try writing a report while attending a meeting on a separate topic. It can’t be done, just accept it and stop multitasking yourself into a corner.  

Hero syndrome

No one is impressed by your ability to leave your desk only for urgent restroom breaks. Productive people know the value of pushing away to eat, rest or play. It’s the way they do things at super successful places like Google and Apple — rest spaces, games and free cafeterias on site. Take a break to give your mind a chance to rest and reset. And eat some lunch, will ya?

Late night TV zombie

Long and demanding days at the office force us to carve out ‘me time’ at unusual hours. We work hard all day, take care of our families in the evening and that late night talk show is a perfect way to shut down and relax for a few hours before bed. After Jimmy Fallon wraps it up, you’re looking at less than six hours of sleep and a groggy workday ahead. Shut down the TV and find a 20-minute wind down ritual that helps you relax without stealing hours of sleep time.  

Wake up to a hot cup of… email?

More than half of us check our email from bed. Seriously? You’ve been awake for 30 seconds and the first interaction you want to have is with your office? Checking email from bed can hijack your mood and your priorities for the day. Get an old-timey alarm clock and leave the work email until at least after you’ve been to the bathroom.