How we waste each other’s time

While much of my time is spent helping workers to increase their personal productivity, I also see many issues with how we work together. The truth is that your behaviours affect my productivity, and my behaviours affect your productivity. Teams that do not put strategies in place to manage this will experience a sense of friction when they collaborate together. Teams that do work on this will experience a sense of flow.

Most people are trying their hardest, and certainly do not mean to drag other people’s productivity down. It is often unconscious behaviours that cause the friction. So it might be useful to bring to the surface all of the ways that you might be diluting your team’s productivity. See how many of the following unproductive behaviours you are guilty of from time to time.

Meetings

  • Turning up late
  • Coming unprepared
  • Not following through on agreed actions
  • Inviting the wrong people
  • Calling meetings at short notice
  • Not clarifying meeting outcomes or the agenda

Emails

  • Sending too many
  • Writing unclear communications
  • Burying the actions three paragraphs in
  • Copying people unnecessarily
  • Writing fuzzy subject lines
  • Marking emails as urgent every time

Delegations

  • Choosing the wrong people for the job
  • Delegating at the last minute
  • Delegating in a rush
  • Giving responsibility but no power
  • Micro-managing the delegation
  • Not providing enough support when needed

Interruptions

  • Interrupting too often
  • Having a lack of awareness and empathy
  • Interrupting to manage your mind clutter
  • Making negotiation hard for the other person
  • Make every interruption an urgent issue

Deadlines

  • Leaving work until the last minute
  • Creating unnecessary urgency
  • Expecting instant responses
  • Forgetting deadlines
  • Being a squeaky wheel

If we expect other people to respect our time (and we should), we in turn should respect theirs. With the right mindset, we have the opportunity to amplify the productivity of those around us, rather than dilute it. Play well together.