Your to-do list is already a mile long and it seems to grow exponentially as the week ticks on. There are not enough conscious hours in the day to conquer the amount of stuff you have bitten off. The burning question is: How can I get more done?

Aside from cloning yourself, you aren’t sure what else you could possibly do to be more productive. The truth is you are losing precious time without even realizing it because of some not-so-productivity-friendly habits. Here is a list of four common time sucks and ways to sidestep them in the quest to be more efficient and take back your day!

1. Sorry, I need to take this. Let’s be real, people are glued to their phones. Period! You can’t go anywhere without seeing someone’s gaze cemented to their cell. Scanning emails, writing texts, or surfing the web; people walk down the hall without ever looking up from their screen. They are the most anti-social social devices in existence. When your phone is next to you or even in your eye line, you become distracted and easily lose focus on the task at hand. Don’t fall victim to the phone trap. Try putting it some place out of reach when you are working on important projects that need your undivided attention. Or better yet, put it in another room and designate specific times you can check it with an allotted time limit. You will be amazed at how much more you will get done because you won’t be constantly stopping and starting from a myriad of interruptions.

2. Save the juggling for the circus. We are a society of multi-taskers. Sadly, science has taught us that trying to tackle multiple projects at once is not beneficial and actually counterproductive. While you may feel you don’t have any other option than to juggle all your tasks at once, it will likely take you longer to complete all of them than if you divided and conquered your list. Try focusing on and knocking out one project at a time. You will notice more items being moved into the completion pile than ever before and that surge of accomplishment will fuel your desire to keep going.


3. Plan, what plan? While there are many schools of thought on what techniques lead to the most efficient output, everyone agrees having a plan of attack is the difference maker. Outline the steps you need to take to carry out your tasks. This way you will have a better understanding of what needs to be accomplished and how much time you will need to set aside. Planning out your next moves will save you time, frustration, and keep you from missing critical deadlines. Need help with forming a plan? Check out David Allen’s Getting Things Done; we like his approach and many call it a game changer.

4. Distractions are everywhere you turn. Your work environment sets the tone for how productive you can truly be. Only you know what set-up gets you in a to-do-list demolishing zone. Not everyone is sidetracked by the same situations. Identify the triggers that take you off task or get in the way of your focus. Once you know what your temptations are figure out how you can avoid or eliminate them from your work area. You are guaranteed to be more productive when distractions are removed and work is the only option.

Once you stop these productivity killers in their tracks, you will be well on your way to getting more of your checklist completed.

What makes you productive? Tell us in the comments below.