As a business leader, you need to have your A-game on to get the most out of your working day. After all, your productivity is measured by how you use your time to generate positive outcomes - whether it is mentoring your team to hit targets, convincing your shareholders/investors about your business’s growth prospects, or deciding new areas for growth and expansion. Your attention is the biggest asset you have.
However, many leaders (inadvertently) spend their time and attention on things that do not contribute towards the above outcomes. These productivity-killing habits can cause you to ‘take your eye off the ball’ and slow down your progress at work.
Here are some common productivity-killers you need to steer clear of.
Productivity-Lowering Habits to Watch Out For
Micromanagement can be called one of the signs of an anxious leader. Within any organisation, there are multiple departments. Each department has a team lead for a reason. As a leader, it’ll make things easier if you trust them with those responsibilities.
Interfering at every step of the action can strain relations between you and your team. If you find yourself needing to micromanage tasks, you might want to do a need analysis and see where it is stemming from. If it’s a habit, you can always work on unlearning it. The common goal shared between you and the employees is getting the task done. If you decide to trust them with that process, it’ll save you a lot of time to focus on more important things at hand. More importantly, you will also be able to save that energy and redirect it towards unattended matters.
Comparing yourself with other people
Some people find competition a motivating factor. But there is a very fine line between healthy and unhealthy competition. Blind comparison is never healthy, and can also work against you. Each individual has a unique starting point and a unique journey. If you compare yourself without taking into consideration these things, you will spend a lot of unnecessary time and energy proving an invalid point. This can get in the way of your day-to-day tasks and how you perceive your business and even yourself as a leader. Comparison can also divert you from focusing on the goals that you have set for yourself.
Making decisions is an everyday part of any business leader’s life. Many of these decisions also impact your employees, customers, and the business’s future. Therefore, procrastinating important decisions is an unhealthy habit. The more you delay making crucial decisions, the more confused you may feel and that can reflect into decreased productivity. If you find yourself procrastinating, it could be because you feel unsure or uncertain about something. It is okay to feel that way, but make sure that you channel that energy into finding answers. Make your approach more solution-focused instead of problem-focused.
Emotional reasoning means interpreting the situation based on the emotions we feel. It means having an emotional approach, rather than a practical one, towards your work. Being emotional isn’t a bad trait, but if not controlled, it can interfere with your motives and actions. This could result in decisions that may be impractical or not goal-oriented. It can affect your intrinsic motivation to work and can result in poor performance.
An ‘all-or-none’ attitude
When you’re thinking about new business deals, expansion, and collaborations, it’s natural to feel disheartened or demotivated if things don’t work out as planned. One common mistake during such times is having an ‘all-or-none’ approach, also known as the ‘black-and-white’ approach.
This approach is unhelpful because it tricks you into thinking in extremes. For example, an all or none attitude means that your approach was totally right or totally wrong. In reality, however, there’s a lot of scope for something good to come out even if you failed at something. At the very least, you learn what not to do the next time around.
It’s the little habits that make a big difference. As a leader, self-reflection and continuous improvement should be your guiding principles for personal and professional excellence.