Do you ever allow yourself to get distracted? Do you ever allow others to set your agenda for the day? Do you ever find your day being consumed by tasks that take you no closer to your end goal or objective? Do you know which tasks are important for reaching your goal? For that matter, can you even state your goal?
If you can, great. But plenty of people in business can’t.
I ask these questions because I read a superb post today on Quora by Chris Wake the founder of Spotwag a new startup in the San Francisco Bay Area. His piece is titled “Hidden Habits of ineffective people” and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you as it hits the nail on the head in so many ways.
He starts out saying, quite rightly: “No one sets out to be ineffective, but it is easy to pick up the habits. Too easy.”
His post then goes on to spell out and elaborate on five habits that cause people to be ineffective. They are:
- Consuming more than you create
- Watching your own vanity metrics
- Starting the day responding to others
- Prioritising the wrong activities
- Relying on multi-tasking to save time
I recognise so many of these productivity drains, partly because they’re traps I try hard to avoid myself, and partly because I’m frequently interacting with people who fall into one or more or even ALL of these traps, and as a result they’re just not effective.
In my case I’m writing a lot of books. I’ve written 8 in-depth books in the past 18 months in a planned series of 36. I’m currently working on the 9th book and believe me, it’s a big, big task. To get the books written I have to pretty much take myself out of circulation to focus on the task at hand. I also have to run a business; mentor groups of business founders into market leadership (it is for them that I am writing the books); monitor, keep abreast of and assimilate all the latest thinking and developments in my areas of interest; maintain a presence online, engage with a wide variety of people, plan the future scaling of my business; sleep, eat and have a life. And occasionally write a blog post as well. LOTS to do but never enough time.
I believe I’m actually quite good at prioritising and focusing but I still aspire to getting a lot more done in less time. And occasionally I do still have days that are consumed by unproductive tasks. Chris’s piece is a great reminder of what can get in the way of your being effective and I’m tempted to print it out and put it up in front of my desk while I’m working.
You can read the full content of Chris’s excellent post here: Hidden Habits of ineffective people
So what are your views? Please add your comments below or share your own advice for overcoming distractions and being productive. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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