As you know, I'm on a neverending quest to achieve more efficiency and productivity, and I have read a while ago a fantastic article on Marc & Angel's blog. This note speaks about 8 key mistakes smart people do make that make them staggeringly unproductive. Not only was that note spot on with regards to the causes, but it also provided some solutions. Here is a short summary (I encourage you to read the full note here):
- They confuse being busy with being productive.
Most things make no difference. Work smarter, not harder.
- They spend time pursuing bogus achievements.
Bogus achievements are promoted online at an alarming rate (Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Linkedin connections, etc.).
- They learn how to do something and never do it.
Acquiring knowledge doesn't mean growing. Growth happens when what you know changes your life.
- They use the wrong measurements to track their progress.
If you can't measure it, you can't control it. If you measure the wrong things, it is equally useless.
- They become obsessed with making things perfect.
Are you carried away with perfectionism? I am. Sometimes. The real world doesn't reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done.
- They wait until they feel 100% ready before acting on an opportunity.
When an opportunity arises, it forces you to stretch your comfort zone. If you don't feel ready, the opportunity is gone. Embrace opportunity when it comes.
- They inundate themselves with too many choices.
Abundance of choice leads to indecision, confusion and inaction. Choose something that you think will work and give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, choose something else and keep pressing forward.
- They lack balance in their life.
If you focus all your energy in one arena (work life, social life, family life, etc.) you will end up off balance. No matter how successful you will be, it will lead you to long-term frustration and stress.