Productivity is one of the essential words in the business world. Doing more for less, doing better for less, doing important things, and other things will define the success of each company. So, you need to solve some important productivity problems.
If you want to get a lot of things done in a short period, you have to be very efficient in the things you are doing. In fact, this is a good thing to remember for the rest of your life.
But, there are ten productivity problems that you need to know before you start working on the improvements.
Here, I want to share my top 10 productivity problems I see people and organizations struggling with all the time and then give you a few simple steps to deal with them.
Why Can We Have Productivity Problems?
Doing more for less time and effort means that you will have more profit for your company. If your competitors make ten products in one day, and you are making 12 products in one day, your product is immediately cheaper than your competitors.
What does this mean for you? You can sell it for the same price as competitors and profit more for your company. Or, you can sell it cheaper and sell more than your competitors.
I don’t want to explain why productivity is crucial for you as an entrepreneur and your company. Here, I would like to talk about some problems related to productivity and why some entrepreneurs cannot achieve to become more productive persons and increase their productivity as a company.
I have built a list of more than 70 factors that influence individual and organizational productivity. Still, I will share ten of them that are most important for your entrepreneurial productivity. I call them productivity problems or why you don’t achieve desired productivity level.
Let’s start with the first one.
Productivity Problems Related to Personal Productivity
1. Your Mindset Can Bring Different Productivity Problems
From my experience as an entrepreneur and working with different entrepreneurs, I conclude that you can’t rely only on systems and tools to achieve productivity. It is deeply rooted in your entrepreneurial and team members’ mindsets.
I have not still seen people who don’t want to be more productive. Why their wants can’t come true? This is the question that I have asked myself so many times. My research and experimentation bring me to conclude that people’s mindset related to work, in general, influences individual productivity largely.
You need to change your current thinking about productivity. For example, getting up early in the morning doesn’t mean that you will become more productive. It will only give you more time to do more things. But, if you are not resting enough, you will still do fewer things with the possibility of making mistakes.
How to Improve Your Mindset to Eliminate This Productivity Problem?
1.1 Set clear goals and plan future steps.
You and your team members must know how to set clear goals. It is important because if you don’t, or they are unclear to you, how will you know what you need to do for your job? Here are some steps you can take:
- First, you need to identify your long-term and short-term goals.
- Then break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks.
- Also, be sure to assign deadlines and responsible persons to implement each task.
- Use to-do lists and calendars to record and track the progress of your tasks.
Remember that planning your day and your to-do list is something that has the potential to increase your productivity. But, it doesn’t guarantee success in becoming a more productive entrepreneur.
Planning is essential in defining your future, but if you do not implement your plans, it will not help you become a more productive entrepreneur.
1.2 Prioritize tasks.
Prioritization is an important part when you want to improve your productivity. It is because we always have more tasks than we can do in a specific time frame. But, not all tasks have the same priority and importance for us. So, you need to prioritize them using the following steps:
- Assess the importance and urgency of each task. How can you do this? Use a time management matrix and categorize all your tasks into four different quadrants depending on the importance and urgency of each task.
- Then, you will need to prioritize your tasks, putting the tasks from the first quadrant at the top of your list.
- Now, you must allocate time and resources to all of your tasks inside quadrant one because they are high-priority tasks for you.
- Now, decide if you need to do the task you can delegate or outsource low-priority tasks.
1.3 Practice self-discipline.
You need to be a self-disciplined person if you want to achieve more productivity. Why do you need goals and tasks if you are not disciplined to start working on them? Here are some steps that will help you to pass this productivity challenge:
- You will need to be responsible when it comes to your everyday tasks. The best way to increase responsibility is to track your progress and adjust your to-do list if there is a need for adjustments.
- You must practice self-care and manage your physical and mental health to avoid burnout and improve motivation.
- Also, you need to reward yourself and celebrate all small wins and already reached milestones.
- You need to be committed to your goals and implement plans if you want to increase your productivity. This means sticking to your plan and to-do list. This commitment, in many cases, will be painful for you because you will need to get out of your current safe status quo situation. It will require many cancellations and changes to your current habits.
1.4 You must ensure that a positive mindset is part of your organizational culture.
Remember that a positive mindset can help you improve your morale, focus, and productivity. Follow these 21 ideas to help you develop a positive mindset in your business.
1.5 You will need to practice mindfulness and stress management.
Practicing mindfulness and stress management can improve your mental health and well-being, increasing personal productivity.
- First, dedicate specific time for mindfulness and use meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
- Then think about stress sources and how you can manage them. So, you need to identify all possible stress sources in your life and plan how to manage or eliminate them.
- You must exercise to reduce and eliminate stress and improve your overall health and well-being.
- You need to get enough sleep because many people make the mistake of cutting their sleeping hours to do work. An insufficient amount of sleep can bring more exhaustion. So, you need to prioritize sleep and ensure 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to be more productive.
1.6 You and your employees will need to celebrate all small wins and progress.
This is a great motivational factor for all team members to continue achieving the results you are expecting.
2. Without Strong Focus, You Will Have Productivity Problems
Your productivity, in large part, will depend on your strong focus on the important things in your business and your life. Having the proper focus on the right things can become one of your productivity problems.
How can you stay focused when you have distractions from everywhere around you? Everyone can come to your office at any time. Everyone can email or call you on a mobile phone for every possible problem.
These are only a fraction of possible distractions that will decrease productivity. That’s an additional productivity problem for you.
This productivity problem will decrease not only your productivity but also the productivity of your whole company.
3. There Are Too Many Obstacles to Achieving More Productive Life
There will probably be tens or hundreds of obstacles. You can solve one productivity problem, but it will create other issues. Also, you can solve one productivity problem, but there will still be others waiting for you.
You cannot expect that implementing a productivity system will solve all your productivity problems. You cannot expect that implementing productivity tools will solve all your productivity problems.
Obstacles will always be part of your journey to a more productive entrepreneurial life, regardless of whether they come from you as an entrepreneur or other people around you.
Obstacles can be current systems, tools, habits, technology, or people inside and outside your company.
4. Productivity Can’t Be Learned But Experienced
In my experience, different persons and organizations have different needs related to productivity. There can’t be templates used and implemented as a magic wand.
So, don’t try to learn everything new related to productivity and especially become more productive with quick tips. Use them as ideas and tweak them for yourself and your company. Experiments are the only things that will bring you helpful knowledge to increase productivity.
5. There Are Too Many Tools
The development of new technologies, especially smartphone tools, brings you into a position when you cannot choose the best tool for your productivity.
There are simply plenty of tools that promise us we will become more productive using them. But, sometimes, we need only a piece of paper and a pen with a more significant level of simplicity to become more productive.
But tools don’t guarantee successful goal achievements.
So, don’t think about the tools before you define precisely the processes that you will use.
It is true because many people spend a lot of money on tools instead of their processes.
I have one experience in a larger organization where they have spent a lot of money on document management systems to increase productivity. But they have failed because they were trying to improve productivity without defining each process in each department. The newly implemented system has brought less productivity than ever.
Productivity Problems Related to Organizational Productivity
6. Inefficient Communication
Communication in the workplace is important for achieving goals and completing tasks. So, your team members will need to communicate every day with their colleagues.
But there is a catch here!
On the other side, communication overload is something that will decrease productivity in your company. Too many meetings, too many emails, heavy internal communication, and private discussions can decrease productivity.
How to improve communication on the organizational level?
- Ensure that managers inside your company give regular instructions and feedback to their employees. It is important everyone on your business team knows what is expected from them.
- Redesign your internal processes and formalize important communication between your team members. You can also use some collaboration platforms as a tool to ensure continuous vertical and horizontal communication inside your company.
- Regularly check and improve internal communication processes inside your company.
- Use meetings more cleverly. I know that meetings are important for regular communication inside the company. As a first thing, you need to be sure that inside your company, meetings will be held only because of a specific purpose. You need to ensure that you always have agenda before the meeting, so all participants will know what will be the discussion. Also, the meetings will need persons in charge who will manage the meeting. So ensure all meetings will have a moderator responsible for the focus and on the right discussion topics.
7. Lack of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement describes an employee’s involvement, commitment, and satisfaction with their work and the organization they work for. They are more productive, creative, and motivated.
According to Gallup’s study, engaged employees, compared with disengaged employees, are 17% more productive.
Here is what you need to do to improve employee engagement in your company:
- Create an organizational culture where employees can have a sense of belonging. The culture must ensure that all employees will be supported when needed.
- Understand why your employees are disengaged. Observe and analyze engaged and disengaged employees. You must analyze these two types of employees and determine why they are engaged or disengaged. Then compare these factors with an employee performance report. This step will give you some ideas about how to improve engagement.
- Ensure that employees have positive relationships with their managers. Positive relationships with management will improve employee engagement.
8. Productivity Problems Because of Inefficient Processes
If you have inefficient processes, they will continue to bring results with lower productivity, whatever else you do to improve your productivity.
For example, if you start automating inefficient processes, they will continue to bring lower productivity because you are automating inefficiency.
Here are important steps you will need to take for inefficient processes as a possible productivity problem:
- You need to standardize your processes before you start working on productivity improvement. So, create clear, concise, and consistent standard operating procedures for processes. In such a way, you will reduce confusion and improve efficiency.
- Observe and identify possible inefficiency sources inside your processes. You want to identify some process steps where you are wasting your time or resources or all steps that don’t add appropriate value to the process output.
- Eliminate all unnecessary steps inside your processes. In such a way, you will save on resources and time for implementing these steps.
- Automate everywhere where you can automate. Use technology to automate all repetitive tasks and reduce errors.
- Monitor and review the performances of your processes. Implement a regular monitoring process to measure process improvement to check if they are giving the desired results. If adjustments are needed, make them and continue monitoring and reviewing.
9. There is No Recognition and Rewards for Well Job Done
Why will anyone give more than 100% of himself if nobody recognizes or reward him?
If your employees don’t get appropriate recognition or reward for their exceptional work, they can think their efforts are not appreciated.
Without recognition and award, their motivation will suffer. In such a way, also productivity will suffer.
Here is what you need to do to ensure that recognition and reward are not a productivity problem:
- Always praise your employees for a good job done. This will need to be on a non-formal basis. Also, ensure that all your managers praise their team members for a good job.
- Weekly or monthly recognition bulletin. This is a great way to institutionalize the recognition process inside your company. So, you can have the “employee of the week” or “employee of the month.”
- Create a peer recognition program. Again, this is a more formal way to recognize and reward employees. So, ensure you have a program where employees can regularly nominate their colleagues for recognition.
10. Disorganized Workplace is a Problem for Your Employees’ Productivity
Have you found yourself in a totally disorganized workplace? If yes, how much time have you wasted trying to find something?
Now, imagine yourself where everything has its own space, and everything can be found easily. How much time will you lose now?
You must organize your own and implement processes for your team members’ workplace. One great thing you can do is to implement 5S processes throughout your whole company.
As you can see from these productivity problems, too many factors will influence your own and organizational productivity.
You need to discover them, clearly define them, and measure their influence level. After this, you can start working on improvements from the most priority factors or factors that will drastically impact your productivity. Don’t allow the quantity of influencing factors to make you confused.