7 Productivity Killers That Impact Your Life and Workplace

Spike Team
By Spike Team, December 17, 2021, 7 min read

Working hard or hardly working?


Recent studies have shown that  85% of people are actively disengaged at work. The same report also indicates that being unproductive causes around $7 trillion of economic loss. And that damage isn’t only at work. Being unproductive can damage every part of your life.


So what’s behind this epidemic of unproductive behavior? That’s what we’re going to find out. This article will unpack:

  • The seven productivity killers that are impacting your day-to-day

  • How to combat them and boost your productivity

  • Why your phone just might be your worst enemy


Let’s get right to it.



1. The Curse of Perfectionism



You might think perfectionism is a good thing. Who doesn’t want to produce perfect work? But here’s the truth: it’s not healthy. Recent studies call it “toxic perfectionism,” and see it as more of a critical inner voice.


Toxic perfectionism can hold you back from your work and life goals. People who identify as perfectionists experience more anger when things aren’t going their way. Perfectionism even serves as a marker for anxiety and stress. 


If perfectionism is something you struggle with, try to understand that good enough is good enough. You’re likely holding yourself to an impossibly high standard and putting too much pressure on yourself. So take a long walk, or indulge in your favorite activity and try to get some perspective if it all feels like too much.



 2. Lack of Sleep


They say the early bird gets the worm, but perhaps it’s the well-rested bird that gets the worm.


If you’re burning the midnight oil and waking up at the crack of dawn to do it all again, you’ll probably burn out. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with waking up early, but lack of sleep is never a good idea.


Studies show that sleep deprivation can have a more significant impact on driving than drinking alcohol. So just imagine what it’s doing to the quality of your work.

Here are some tips for improving your sleep:

  • Avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed.

  • Wind-down with relaxing music, light stretching, or a good book.

  • Keep regular sleeping hours (go to bed and wake up at the same time each day).


If you want to be your most productive, make sure you’re getting at least 7-hours of quality sleep a day.



3. Unnecessary Meetings



Video-call fatigue is a real thing—and with half the world working from home, it’s a problem that’s only getting worse.


Love them or hate them, meetings are necessary. But you should think twice before creating a video call meeting for every little thing.


Microsoft ran MRIs of peoples’ brains before and after meetings, and the results show a massive increase in beta waves (linked to stress) associated with back-to-back meetings. And we all know stress is a real productivity killer.


But here’s the good news—taking a ten-minute break in between meetings helps mitigate that. So before calling yet another meeting, ask yourself—is it essential?

There are other options:

  • Send an email instead

  • Record a quick voice note

  • Send a video message


Keep in mind that if you do have to schedule many meetings, you should always try to take at least a 10-minute break in between. Your employees and your stress levels will thank you later.



4. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. Right? Well, not if you’re working as part of a team. You’re never going to reach your full potential if you’re doing tasks that you should be delegating. John C. Maxwell said it best, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”


Good delegation is a sign of good leadership. It shows that you trust your team and makes the work process more efficient, builds a positive office culture, and will help you reach your goals faster.


A lack of delegation will just lead to backlogs and slow output. So don’t be afraid to delegate.



5. The Subtle Art of Appreciation

Engaged employees outperform unengaged workers by 147%. A significant productivity killer at work is a failure to appreciate your workers.


So treat your employees with kindness. Make sure to show gratitude and thank your staff for their hard work. And if you want to go above and beyond, you can reward them for their achievements with things like:

  • An extra day of vacation

  • A discount coupon for their favorite coffee place

  • Letting them leave early for the day

  • Giving them that sweet parking spot in front of the office


Companies that care for their staff retain them longer and have healthier workplace environments. It’s both the right and the productive thing to do.



6. Put Down That Phone

Most people check their phones a staggering 58 times a day. And 30 of those checks are during work hours, but why exactly are phones such effective productivity killers?


Well, they’re designed to get our attention for a start. With push notifications, constant messages on various apps, they’re clamoring for us to look at them. But every time we pick up our phones, we’re breaking our focus and taking ourselves away from the task at hand.


If you just can’t shake the phone addiction, try putting it in airplane mode or somewhere out of sight. Once it’s out of reach,  you’re less likely to check it, and you can focus on being productive and getting more work done.


The key to success in phone usage is being conscious about your phone usage. Don’t let a random app notification have control and break your workflow. Instead, give yourself a time and a place to use your phone to do it, and you’ll be amazed by what you can get done.



7. Messy Desks and Cluttered Minds



If your desk is covered in loose papers, sticky notes, and last year’s receipts, you might find it hard to be productive. It can be a challenge finding the right thing when you need it, and it could even be a security risk if you’re working on something sensitive.


Luckily, there are plenty of ways to deal with a messy work environment. Here are some of the best options for creating a workspace you can thrive in:

  • Use a project management system

  • Digitize your notes and keep them from cluttering up your desk

  • Adopt a digital filing system

  • Before you print something, ask yourself if it’s necessary

  • Declutter your desk


Even if you’re one of the rare few who genuinely thrives in chaos—think about the people around you. If you’ve got the messiest desk in the office, that might be distracting other members of your team. Try to maintain a level of cleanliness to boost your team’s productivity and morale.



Spike—The Best Hack for Cutting out Productivity Killers



Spike might not be able to help you get 7 hours of sleep at night, but it’s packed with productivity features that help you cut out those time-wasting habits and Spike your productivity. Create, edit, and collaborate with your team without ever leaving your inbox. Plus, get rid of all your desktop clutter by having your docs, notes, tasks, and to-dos within Spike.


Spike streamlines communication and makes it so simple that you can cut down on half those unnecessary meetings—which means less-stressed employees and more productivity.


Look, we get it. Meetings are unavoidable. And every client has different preferences—Zoom, Skype, Hangouts. But with Spike, you can start a meeting with one click from the comfort of your inbox, even if you’re working with someone who doesn’t use Spike.


Spike organizes and prioritizes your important emails, so you don’t have to waste your time reading yet another Black Friday promotion from a brand you bought a shoe from once five years ago.


Spike gives you the powerful productivity tools you need to stay focused and get more done—seamlessly create, communicate and collaborate in one simplified workspace.


Get more done. Starting now!

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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