The #1 Enemy of Productivity

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The key to true productivity varies a bit for most of us.  In general, maximum productivity comes from precision focus.  This leads me to what I consider to be the #1 enemy of productivity.


In many circles, multitasking is the key to everything.  It’s the method to accomplishing more in less time.  It’s the way we tend to look at cloning ourselves.  Multitasking has become a cultural norm, for the most part, across America.  But here’s what can result after multitasking too long.

– Burnout comes hard and fast.  You and I are human.  We can only work 70 hrs/week averaging 4 hrs of sleep each night for short periods of time.  Fight the urge (nature) to work like this with all you have.

– We have nothing left to offer our spouse, kids, and friends outside of work.  We are spent.  You’ve heard that leadership is a marathon, not a sprint.  Well, multi-tasking is sprinting.  It’s a fast work pace.

– Work becomes more of a chore than the career we hopefully love.  I love being a pastor.  I haven’t always been able to say that with integrity, but I can now.  But when I find myself juggling multiple things for extended periods of time, I do dread going to the office.  When this happens, take note.  Something needs to change soon.

The key to healthy productivity is the complete opposite of what I’ve mentioned above….‘uni-tasking.’

Uni-tasking is simply focusing all our attention, energy, and time on one task at a time.  Now, I will admit, there are those unique times that require short periods of high-energy work loads.  New or big projects come up and will demand more of our time.  But don’t allow this to remain the new normal once the height of that project slows down.

So, what does uni-tasking look like?

Simply stated, it requires intentionally blocking out all other distractions while working on one single task.

Turn off social media, calendar, and email reminders.

Initiate the old ‘lock-in’ at the office.  If you cannot do this, plan time working in a different environment.  Starbucks, the library, or outdoors at a local park (if you have 3G or 4G).

Inform receptionists, co-workers, and spouses when you plan these specific times for high focus work so they can avoid calling/texting you.

Place it on your calendar.  What’s not scheduled will not get done…period!  Making it an appointment gives it priority.

What do you think?  Are there other enemies of productivity?  What are they and how do you avoid them?

Comments are welcome below.