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Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for October, 2016

When Productivity Plummets at Work

Read any statistics about cyclical or situational drops in productivity in the workplace and we find out that we’re not alone. We’re just human. I had this brief article published a couple of weeks ago. There’s much more to be said and to be done about what impacts workplace productivity—awesome to poor leadership strategies, well-thought out to unorganized change initiatives, exciting to devastating personal situations—but my charge was to share food for thought that didn’t exceed 300 words 🙂

Originally published in Democrat & Chronicle, 9/13/16 – – – – – – –

Our ability to be productive is a crucial factor in our success at work. Yet, there are times when situations, distractions, and emotions can impact our productivity.

Here are—from my observations and experience—a few situations, emotions, and factors that decrease productivity in the workplace. As you read them, I assure you that you will relate to several, if not all of them.

– At the onset or during the beginning phases of organizational change, anxiety sets in about your ability to lead, or participate successfully, in the change.

– Health or family concerns have you preoccupied.

– You’ve been working a ton of hours and several weekends over a long stretch of time without a considerable break in demands or travel. You’re exhausted.

– Resources are scarce. You’re overwhelmed and you’re afraid of failing at what’s expected of you.

– You’re confused about how to strategize and plan a project, or tackle a complex task. Instead of seeking clarity, you’re hoping to figure it out on your own.

– World events and news are distracting and generating feelings of sadness, fear and/or anger.

– You’ve pulled off some great work over the last few weeks, and you’re disappointed in yourself for making little use of the first few days you have without meetings or immediate demands.

Want or have to get back on the productivity wagon? Here are a couple of simple recommendations to get your started:

– Generate some movement, however small. Take one doable action toward a project or task. Begin writing a rough draft of that email that’s hanging over you, or tackle an easy portion of a task that’s on your list. If you’re unable to generate movement at work, make use of the time to pull of a personal task that needs attention.

– Quit beating yourself up about having a drop in productivity from time to time. It’s only human.