You sit down at your computer to complete a quick task, but what should have taken only a few minutes takes much longer. Sound familiar? If it occurs often, you might be sabotaging your productivity without realizing it.
Here are seven ways you might be hurting your productivity and what you can do about each of them:
1. Immediately Reading Each Email That Arrives in Your Inbox
Immediately reading each email when it arrives can hurt your productivity, especially if you get a lot of emails. Although it might not take you that long to read an email, it disrupts your concentration. A better approach is to set aside a blocks of time specifically to go through all your emails.
2. Not Disabling Notifications
To avoid the temptation of reading emails as they come in, turn off your email notifications. Even if you are able to resist the urge to look at an incoming email, seeing the notification pop up or hearing an audio alert can be distracting in and of itself.
Notifications for social media and newsfeed updates can also divert your attention. Silence your mobile devices and turn off notifications on your work computer to eliminate these distractions.
3. Manually Performing Tasks When There Are Better Alternatives
You might be wasting valuable time if you are not taking advantage of your applications’ features. Business applications often have features that handle common tasks for you. For example, most email programs let you set up filters or rules. Rather than manually sorting the emails in your Inbox, you can use filters to automatically sort your emails into folders based on criteria such as who sent them and keywords in the subject lines.
4. Not Using Keyboard Shortcuts
Sometimes time drains away a mouse movement at a time. You can gain some of that time back by using keyboard shortcuts for actions you often perform. For example, pressing Ctrl+C to copy items in Microsoft Word documents is quicker than maneuvering your pointer over the Copy button and then clicking it.
There are many online guides that tell you the keyboard shortcuts for Windows and Mac applications. The keyboard shortcuts might look intimidating, but they are straightforward. Even adding a few keyboard shortcuts to your repertoire can help increase your productivity.
5. Putting Up with a Slow Internet Connection
If you regularly use the Internet for work and your Internet connection is slow, you probably waste a good deal of time staring at your computer screen, waiting for a web page to load or a file to transfer. Many issues can cause a slow connection, including an incorrectly configured router, old hardware, or malware that is secretly using your Internet bandwidth.
Inform your IT service contact, and they can help you determine why your connection is slow and help to increase your internet connection speed.
6. Using a Small Computer Monitor
A small computer monitor can hurt your eyes and your productivity. Having a large computer monitor (or dual monitors) can make you more efficient in two ways. First, you will be able view more on your screen, which means you will have to scroll less. Second, you can have multiple windows open and readable at the same time on the screen.
7. Working at Your Desk for Hours on End
Although it might seem counterintuitive, working nonstop at your desk for hours at a time is not conducive to high productivity. It is important to periodically get up and walk around for a few minutes. This will reinvigorate you both mentally and physically, which will improve your productivity.