Once upon a time, the office water cooler was an oasis of gossip and time wasting. These days, while unconventional work environments make the water cooler a thing of the past, there are still sneaky ways your productivity can go right out the window. Working from home can make this even more difficult when you get sidetracked by household needs like laundry, dishes, or even checking the mail. Are you left wondering where the time has gone when 5pm rolls around? You might be guilty of one of these productivity drainers!


Lack of Planning

Taking a few minutes first thing every morning, and again last thing at the end of your work day, to plan out your action list can help you stay on-task. Find a planner that fits your needs, and keep your ongoing projects, to-do lists, and even long term goals tucked inside it. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re not spinning your wheels trying to remember what that “very important thing” was that you had to do. Also, using a system such as The Diva Success System helps you to stay on task every single day of the week. 

Other People

Whether you work in a traditional office or from home, other people can bring chaos to a well-planned schedule. It’s human nature to want to connect, even when the timing isn’t the best. Cut down on extracurricular chatting by keeping phone calls on topic, taking meetings in other people’s offices (so you can walk out when it’s done, and they’re not left lingering in your cube to discuss this weekend’s sports score), and by letting voicemail/email handle what you know are social calls during your scheduled work time.

Social Media

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the siren song of social media platforms can be pretty loud. Even logging on with the best intentions can lead you down the rabbit hole of cute cat videos, where you emerge hours later wondering where the day went. Whether your poison is Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Snapchat — it’s best left for after working hours. If you absolutely must spend time on social media, make a list of the tasks you want to get done before you log on – such as setting up a Facebook Party, connecting with a Hostess or scheduling page posts – and make sure to get those activities completed before scanning your newsfeed. 


Nothing can be as irksome as seeing just how many unread emails you have. What can begin as deleting a few extraneous messages from online retailers can end an hour later with 200 less sale ads, but still no important work-related emails sent. Try to deal with priority messages first, and dedicate smaller chunks of time to cleaning out the junk. Optionally, sign up for one of the many services that remove you from online mailing lists, like Unroll Me.


Nobody is perfect. And while it’s perfectly okay to have high standards, it becomes an issue when the bulk of your time is spent redoing things that were probably okay the first time. Unless you’re working for Gordon Ramsey, you will be your biggest critic, and others probably won’t even notice the issues causing you stress. Decide on a set number of revisions/editing, and stick with it. Move on. Take breaks. Don’t let it consume you or the time you could be using to get other things done.


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