Why are you Not Being Productive? The Secret to Enhancing your Productivity

What a great feeling it is to be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that you were able to tick off everything on your ‘to-do’ list. You’re elated that your efficiency at work led to your productivity. You feel relaxed, confident and ready for the next day.

Unfortunately, not all of us are able to experience this kind of relief as often as we want. Most of the time, we feel anxious and stressed out due to increasing number of unfinished tasks we have and as a result of our exhaustion, we ask ourselves these questions: “Why am I not being productive?” “Why am I always stressed out?” “How can I finish these tasks on time?”

The answer to these questions is to stop asking them and start having the initiative to act on them. This is where the competency of initiative and bias for action comes in.

There are three things that initiative and bias for action can do to help you become more productive:

1. Overcome Procrastination

Having initiative and bias for action means being proactive and persistent. It is striving to do more and acting before being forced to by external circumstances. People who have this competency do not make room for procrastination. They are focused and goal driven and are not easily distracted.

2. Avoid Overthinking

Overthinking oftentimes lead to paralysis and paralysis to being unproductive. We become unproductive because we spend so much time thinking about what could go wrong even if we haven’t started doing something yet.

Initiative and bias for action helps us avoid this. Meade Lewis said it best: “You learn much faster through doing than through preparation alone. While you may fail in the short term, it’ll make you much more productive in the long term.” 

3. Seize every Opportunity

People with initiative and bias for action seize every opportunity presented to them so as long as it is beneficial for them and can contribute to their growth. They are not afraid to take risks and do not let fear hold them down and make them unproductive. They see failures not as hindrances but as opportunities for growth.

Indeed, being productive is about having the initiative to take action on things that need to be done right away without being distracted along the way. Developing Initiative and Bias for Action is an important determinant of how likely we are to achieve our goals. We can start with the following developmental tips:

 • Do not do for tomorrow what you can do for today. To get started and to mobilise yourself, “chunk down” into manageable pieces whatever you need to do. That is, do things one step at a time.

 • Be optimistic. Focus on the things you can achieve for the moment rather on what you can’t and why you can’t. Small steps of victory can actually inspire you to face greater challenges.

 • Have time for an introspective analysis of your behaviour and attitude.  

 • Examine what’s holding you back: Frenzied work hours? Stress? Overwhelm? Resentment? A drive for perfection? Identify it and deal with the root cause.

 • Try “time-boxing”. Allocate a set period of time to a task and see how far you get (“I will de-clutter my desk for 10 minutes” or “I will outline this report and write for one hour” or “I will answer email for 30 minutes”).

 •  Do the worst part of a job first and get it out of the way – the rest will be a breeze.

If you are struggling at being productive, maybe you’ve missed developing initiative and bias for action. Start assessing yourself and do something right away!

At People Builders we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you and your team develop initiative and bias for action. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.

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