Avoid the Top 10 Productivity Pitfalls

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There are many barriers to our productivity in the workplace. Avoid the following pitfalls to productivity:

Doing 100 percent. Giving 100 percent to client service is not doing 100 percent. Doctors don’t take blood pressure, staff does that. Delegate as much non-critical service as possible.

Outdated habits. Outdated habits waste time and money. Periodically examine established practices. Eliminate any that have lost value.

Addition only. We add to our lists but frequently forget to subtract, causing overload. If something new is important, drop something that’s now less important.

Always being available. Being responsive turns into a trap if we’re always available. Rarely do clients need immediate attention. Train staff to manage requests. You can always be interrupted for a true emergency.

Distraction delirium. New research shows multi-tasking significantly diminishes productivity and quality. Good concentration requires at least 20 minutes of focused time. Build boundaries around email, phone and other interruptions.

Energy flow. Biorhythms are a fact. People concentrate better at certain times of the day. Schedule workflow around individual energy for highest productivity.

One-size-fits-all. Time-management takes personal discipline and a personalized system. There is no one-size-fits-all. Don’t waste time forcing a fit. Custom tailor the system to fit you.

Life. Life is filled with disruptions and setbacks are completely normal. Expect them and adapt goals to accommodate reality. Research shows those with realistic optimism are the most successful in overcoming obstacles and achieving their goals.

Brand confusion. Well-meaning but exhausted professionals fall into the trap of providing high-end service without the pricing and the resources to sustain it. We don’t get fine dining at a fast food joint and there’s no dollar menu at five-star restaurant. Define your brand and structure the business to match.

Should’s. Lots of “best practices” provide real value. However, people sometimes do things just because they should. Unless it brings real value to you, your business and your clients, don’t succumb to should.

Two Steps to Get Started Now

Remove team time-wasters. Call a team meeting specifically to discuss and eliminate time-wasters. You’ll be amazed by small shifts that can make a big difference. Have everyone come to the meeting with at least one time waster and a solution that is quick to implement. Then prioritize and execute on the solutions immediately.

Do a client “value-check.” Formally or informally, ask clients about optional communication and service touches. Find out what clients really value. You may find things of low value that can be easily eliminated. It’s easy to stop doing things clients don’t want.


Barbara Kay, business psychology and productivity coach, helps advisers and firms maximize potential. As a member of the FPA Coaches Corner, Barbara offers a free consultation to all FPA members. Visit: www.barbarakaycoaching.com.

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