5 Reasons Why You’re Not Productive at Work – And How to Fix Them

  • Published on:
    October 7, 2022
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes
5 Reasons Why You're Not Productive at Work - And How to Fix Them

Do you often reach the end of the work day and wonder where the time went? Do you wonder why you’re not productive? Perhaps you started with a long list of to-do’s, but you’ve barely checked anything off. You see coworkers with the same amount of hours conquer their day while you feel like you’re barely skating by. Read in this article the ‘5 Reasons Why You’re Not Productive at Work – And How to Fix Them’.

Luckily, you don’t have to keep feeling this way. The goal is to determine why you don’t feel productive at work. Once you nail down your reasons, you’ll be able to use some creative strategies to get back on track.

5 Reasons Why You’re Not Productive at Work – And How to Fix Them

1. You’re “Multitasking”

Despite its popularity, multitasking isn’t really possible. You may think you can catch up on emails during a conference call. Instead, your brain ends up rapidly switching between the two tasks. This practice makes you less efficient and more likely to make mistakes — not exactly the desired outcome for your work day.

Solution: Focus on One Thing at a Time

Working on multiple tasks simultaneously splits your focus, leading to lower productivity levels. Instead, choose one project at a time and work on only that until you finish it, then tackle the next item on your list. It may seem counterintuitive, but honing in on one task raises your focus and helps you complete your list in less time and with fewer errors.

2. You Have Too Many Distractions

Whether you work out of an office or from home, distractions are everywhere. Your chatty co-worker, the never-ending stream of emails, yet another conference call and your smartphone are hard to ignore.

As you move through the day and your energy dips or you’re tasked with a project you feel is too easy or challenging, you’re more likely to give in to those little distractions. Time somehow moves faster when you lose focus and suddenly your work day is over, but your to-do list is just as long.

Solution: Use Simple Tools

For most people, the best thing you can possibly do to eliminate distractions at work is to put your phone away. Leave it in your purse or shove it in a drawer. Sitting your phone on your desk makes it far too easy to pick up and start scrolling.

If your internet browser is more distracting, download an extension to help keep you accountable and track your usage. Also — for those chatty co-workers — invest in a good set of soundproof headphones and wear them as much as possible. They’ll block out office noise and reduce the likelihood of people stopping to talk to you for unimportant gossip.

3. You’re Starting Your Day Late

Having control over your work schedule is both a blessing and a curse. Sleeping in or taking your morning slow can be tempting when you don’t have a structured start time. However, you may be wasting some of your most productive hours in the process — especially if you’re a morning person. Starting the day late also pushes back your clock-out time and infringes on your personal time in the evening, creating a vicious cycle.

Solution: Wake Up Earlier

While sleeping in late and having a slow morning may feel nice, it might be ruining your productivity. If you like to ease your way into getting up, try waking up earlier — extending the amount of time you have before work. Then, you can start work at a more reasonable time and take advantage of those high concentration hours to boost your productivity.

Try setting up a morning routine you enjoy so you have something to look forward to each day. Indulge in some self-care like a stretching routine, a nutritious breakfast and a few minutes of gratitude journaling.

4. Your Space Isn’t Conducive to Work

When was the last time you assessed the space you work in? So many things about your work area can affect your mood and level of distraction and, thereby, your productivity. If your desk is disorganized, odds are you’ll also feel that way.

Solution: Makeover Your Work Space

No matter where you work, you have at least minor control of your environment. Clear extra clutter off your desk like garbage and meaningless knick-knacks. Instead, choose only a few items that have a purpose or are especially sentimental — like the picture your child drew or a cute plant.

Fixing your ergonomics can also improve your productivity, so adjust your chair and desk accordingly or replace them if necessary and possible. Additionally, a pop of color in your workspace can significantly affect how you feel throughout the day.

5. You Have Unmanaged Depression or Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are more prevalent than ever, thanks to the current political and world health climates. You may be resistant to help because of the attached stigma of mental health disorders. Conversely, you might not even realize that’s what you’re experiencing.

Either way, an unmanaged mental health condition like depression or anxiety can harm your overall well-being and ability to function at work. A joint study with the American Psychiatric Association and McLean found a 35% reduction in productivity for these individuals.

Solution: Be Unproductive for a Bit

If this is the productivity problem you’re facing, it may be time to step back and reevaluate how you care for yourself. You can’t possibly do a great job at work when you aren’t meeting your own needs. Consider discussing your feelings and creating a plan with your primary doctor or a therapist. Also, alert someone at work to what you’re dealing with and see what supports they have in place for your situation.

You may even find your feelings come from a place of burnout. If that’s the case, a long weekend might be the ticket to relieving your symptoms and getting you back on track.

Productivity Takes Work

One last note on ‘5 Reasons Why You’re Not Productive at Work – And How to Fix Them’ — it doesn’t just happen. Your “successful” coworkers also use strategies to get things done, though they may not realize that’s what they’re doing. The more self-aware you become at work, the better you’ll be at overcoming obstacles to productivity. With a few minor changes and better habit building, you can reach the end of the day having conquered your goals.

Let us know what you think of the article ‘5 Reasons Why You’re Not Productive at Work – And How to Fix Them’. You might also like reading ‘Home Office Hacks To Elevate Your Productivity‘.

Cora Gold

Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief for Revivalist Magazine. She has a passion for inspiring women to lead happy, healthy and successful lives. Follow Revivalist on Facebook and Twitter to read more from Cora. 

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