5 Traps of Personal Productivity Management

By Todd Ballowe

5 Traps of Personal Productivity Management

Performance management is a hot button. Everyone wants in on the trade secrets and shortcuts to making their teams more efficient and increasing organizational productivity. But, what most people really need to do is to take a step back and take a look at how they are managing their own productivity.

The best leaders are self-aware and work to constantly streamline and perfect their own performance management. It’s how they avoid the “it’s five o’clock and my to-do list is bigger than it was when I got here at eight” dilemma. So here are five common traps that keep us from being as productive as we should be:

  1. Failure to see the big picture – There must be a reason why you work. It may be for your kids, for your career goals, or to impact the world around you; whatever the reason you work, you’ve got to keep that big picture in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll just loose motivation.
  2. Setting inadequate goals – A great goal, or a SMART one, is specific, measurable, and attainable, has assigned responsibility and has a due date. Goals without a solid foundation stretch on forever, dragging your morale down with them. Plenty of people get a few things done without SMART goals, but you’ll never tackle your bigger goals that way.
  3. Using your head rather than a trusted system – Depending on your memory to manage your tasks will lead to missed deadlines and frustrated bosses. Why? We’re not designed to work that way. Find a process or system, whether it’s a notepad filled with lists or a performance management software application, to keep you on task.
  4. Going at it alone – Accountability is a powerful thing, but it doesn’t always have to come from our boss. Letting your peers know what you’re working on is a much better incentive to accomplishing your tasks. Plus, you might need to reach out to them for some expertise if the area you’re working in seems a bit grey to you.
  5. Forgetting to take care of yourself – Know when you need to take an occasional break and you’ll find that getting things done over a longer period becomes easier. Additionally, know how and when to celebrate your victories. Rewarding yourself, even in small ways, can keep you internally motivated.

Even making small adjustments to your day-to-day workflow can make a huge difference in your efficiency and time management. Keeping yourself healthy, happy, and productive will allow you to cascade the same attributes throughout the teams you manage and work on.



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