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Culprits that lower productivity

 | September 21, 2012

Some common ‘culprits’ that take us off our work and eat into our productivity.


We come to work with the best of intentions yet many of us fall along the side, letting our minds wander as we give in to distractions rather than dodge them.

Here are some common ‘culprits’ that take us off our work and eat into our productivity. Once you’ve identified the few that plague you, it will be easier to deal with it.

Personal email

Checking your personal email should not be done at the office. Besides it’s mostly junk mail, lame jokes, chain letters or slide presentations about the astounding beauty of nature. Go on, admit it. Even so, many office workers attend to personal email first before even venturing onto to more urgent, work-related emails. It’s easy to lose track of time especially when you’re getting over-excited about the latest Groupon offer in your inbox.

REMEDY: only check your personal email during your lunch break or after work, preferably in your own home.

Personal calls

Some office workers settle all family issues via phone – the office phone! And some feuds can get so out of hand, they end up fielding calls from various family members all day long. It’s hardly possible to maintain a single train of thought regarding work long enough before another call comes in demanding your full and immediate attention.

REMEDY: Screen your calls and be insistent that whatever issue is looming will be dealt with once you get home. If it’s that serious, take the day off.

Social media sites

It’s becoming pretty common for most office workers to log-on to social media sites the moment they sit down at their work-stations. Once safely in the site, they browse, update their statuses, upload vacation shots, proclaim what’s on their minds, ‘like’ their friends’ postings and before they realise it, it’s coffee-break time.

REMEDY: Keep social media sites out of the work place. If you don’t log-on, you won’t be tempted to pop in every now and then to see what your latest notifications are.

Lack of sleep

Office workers who have trouble sleeping at night or who have partied too late usually walk into work irritable, tired and bugged-eyed. It’s worse if they’re suffering a hangover.

REMEDY: If you have insomnia, see a doctor about it. If you’re partying too hard, check yourself – best to reserve those crazy, boozing late nights for Fridays or the weekend.

Unfinished business

Sometimes life just gets the better of us and we find ourselves bogged down by too many work and personal commitments. When this happens, it clouds our judgement, makes us snappy, depressed or simply stressed out. Imagine tackling a difficult work assignment when our heads are filled with the one hundred and one other little things we haven’t done yet.

REMEDY: Make a ‘to do’ list starting with the most important task and tick off on them when these are completed. If you’re angry with someone and have furious thoughts about them swarming in your head, vent on paper instead. Just get it off your chest so you can concentrate better on your work.


Bet you didn’t think an empty stomach could affect productivity and concentration. When your stomach’s growling with hunger, all you can think of is your coffee or lunch break. Worse yet, you might find yourself walking over to your colleague’s place for some snacks only to end up having a half hour chat with her.

REMEDY: Eat a good breakfast in the morning. No cravings will mean better concentration at work.

Boring work

When a person finds their job unappealing, they usually deploy delay tactics because stalling is so much sweeter than attending to the brain-dead job at hand. You’ll find yourself making excuses to leave your table – maybe a trip to the loo, stopping to chat with the tea lady or admiring the trees outside.

REMEDY: If you are in a dead-end job that’s boring you out of your mind, look for alternative work or speak to your boss for a more challenging assignment.


Some eager beavers take on too many projects then find they are being pulled in all directions. Once this happens, you’ll find yourself giving only 20 percent of your skills and attention to a single job instead of 100 percent. The stress will also drive you to the ground forcing you to cut corners and hand in half-baked work.

REMEDY: Know when to say ‘No’. You could also ask for assistance to help lighten the load or negotiate for a longer, more realistic deadline.




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