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March 6, 2020

The top roadblocks to your productivity

by Louise Cunnah posted in Quick Tips.

Ayoa | The top roadblocks to your productivity
Productivity is the holy grail that we all strive for in various areas of our lives. It ensures we get the right things done at the right time and with maximum efficiency, which is vital for businesses to cost in, and for individuals to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, being productive is often far easier said than done, thanks to a number of pesky roadblocks that can stand in our way.

Roadblocks to productivity can come at us in any form, and from any angle. It could be as simple as having a lack of organization when it comes to your to-do list, or embracing the wrong mindset when tackling a tricky task head-on. Our work and home lives can also throw many distractions our way, from the temptation to spend far too much time scrolling through Instagram when we should be doing something else, to fitting in those urgent projects that land on our desks out of the blue.

The good news is that roadblocks are not necessarily the be-all and end-all to your productivity. There’s always a solution; a different route you can take to get to the same destination. The same rule applies to many of the most common productivity roadblocks we face – which is why we’re here to tell you how to overcome them…

Overestimating the time you need

Assigning the right amount of time to a task can be difficult, but it’s one of the easiest ways to be more productive. According to Parkinson’s Law, if we give ourselves a week to do a 4-hour task, it will become so complex that it ends up taking the entire week to complete. Although you might think that this will help you to produce better work, this doesn’t always ring true – and your other deadlines will soon creep up on you.

The good news is that you can easily use this phenomenon to your advantage without making sacrifices to the quality of your work. Start by making a list of everything you need to do and roughly estimate how long each task should take to complete. When you’ve done this, cut this time in half, then act as though this is the actual deadline when you begin working on each task. This will create a sense of urgency, encouraging you to be more efficient. If you find you need more time, simply allocate yourself another hour or two to the task.

Not planning your days

Not everyone is a natural-born planner; some of us just like to go with the flow and see where the wind takes us. However, if you don’t put your to-do list in some form of order, you’ll waste time by always pondering what to work on next. Not only that, but scheduling time to chip away at a task in ‘chunks’ will prevent you from reaching that stage where you’re been working solidly for hours and suddenly run out of steam. Instead, plan to work on tasks for shorter periods, so you can make headway on something else when your inspiration dwindles.

Stressed woman with head in hands

The easiest way to schedule tasks is by using an online system that you can easily refer back to, such as a calendar or a work management tool, like Ayoa. Both will put your to-do list into a visual format, so you can see what you need to do (and when) at a glance, as well asset reminders to always keep you on track. With Ayoa, you can also chart each task’s progress – and you can still be a free spirit, as you can easily move Start and Due Dates around as your priorities change.

Feeling overwhelmed by large projects

Overwhelm can be a tricky roadblock to overcome when it comes to our productivity. Although research has found that a certain amount of stress can motivate us to achieve, too much will result in the opposite, causing us to pause in our tracks like a deer caught in headlights. This is especially true when we’re tasked with an extensive project, like a marketing campaign. With so many elements to juggle, it can be stressful knowing which to tackle first – so we struggle to make a start in the first place.

This is another problem that can be busted with the right organizational tools. Using these to break big projects down into more specific actions can be just the ticket to being as productive as possible throughout its completion. As an example, your marketing campaign could be split into actions such as ‘conduct competitor research’, ‘create landing page’, set-up Facebook ads’ and ‘report on results’. With Ayoa, you can set individual Start and Due dates for each task in the campaign, as well as add dedicated attachments, notes and checklists – the latter of which you can use to split down tasks even further.

You can even take some of the pressure off by assigning these to members of your team and tracking their progress (as well as your own) directly in the app!

Getting easily distracted

Distractions can come in many forms. If it’s not your phone buzzing away on your desk, it’s the constant notifications telling you that another email has landed in your inbox. You might assume that you don’t lose that much time from answering a quick phone call or responding to a handful of emails, but according to a study from the Unversity of California Irvine, it typically takes us 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the flow of a task after being interrupted.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to mute the distractions for a while. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb and set that email Out of Office for an hour or two, informing people that you will get back to them later. However, don’t forget that brain breaks are important for giving you a fresh burst of inspiration. So if your motivation has taken a dip, get up and stretch your legs – even if it’s just to make a coffee or pop to the bathroom.

Woman using mobile phone

Ready to face these productivity roadblocks head-on? Ayoa’s Mind Mapping and Task Management software has all the tools you need to kickstart your creative thinking, manage your workload and communicate with your team – so you’re always kept on the right track to achieving your goals. Try it for free today!

Louise Cunnah

Louise Cunnah has always had a passion for the written word, leading to her studying English, Media and Journalism at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Since graduating in 2014, she has held a number of different roles in marketing, both agency-side and in-house for brands like Ayoa. She loves taking on a challenge and has written content on a diverse range of subjects over the years, including horticulture, business management, telecommunications, health and safety, productivity, neurodiversity, and personal finance (to name but a few!).

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