5 Embarrassing Business Productivity Faux Pas You Better Not Make

business productivity faux pas


These are the worst faux pas I can think of when it comes to business productivity.


1. Arrive too early

Mary always worries about the traffic

When she needs to go somewhere, Mary always leave at least 20 minutes before she could. She is stressed that there could be traffic or that there could be some sort of other situation that would lead her to be late. She is the one you see sitting in the waiting room 15 minutes before her appointment time. Is your middle name Mary?

How arriving too early is hurting your productivity

Don’t get me wrong, arriving a few minutes in advance is a good habit to have from my point of view. But always be 15 or even more minutes early is actually making you loose some valuable time. You sure could use this time to do something productive. We often think that five minutes here and 15 minutes there are not a big deal of time to loose but at the end of the day, you may just have lost a good hour of your time! Plan your time to be right on time and stay productive.

2. Be late

The meeting started later then expected because Julia was late (again)

Julia is “that girl”. You know, the one who always have a good excuse to explain why she is late. Her kid was sick, the car broke down or there was some unexpected traffic. We didn’t check with Julia’s high school teachers, but we’re pretty sure she used the excuse “the dog ate my homework” more then once. Nobody likes to work with Julia.

How being late is hurting your (and other’s) productivity

Not only is showing up late utterly non-professional but you are making you AND others loose productivity. Nobody is doing productive work while waiting for a Julia. You sure don’t want to be a Mary and loose productivity by planning too much ahead but if you were to have to choose between the two, be a Mary, not a Julia.

3. Monopolize everybody’s time with your opinions

Stephen has (one more) opinion to voice

The ten members of your team have been in a meeting for two hours now. The meeting was planned to last a maximum of an hour. For each an every point on the agenda, Stephen had to add his grain of salt. He is currently feverishly debating the colours that should be used in the charts. Nobody cares about the colours but Stephen.

How time monopolization is hurting your productivity

I voiced my distaste for meetings many times before. To remain productive, meetings should be short and to the point. The Stephen’s of this world have to learn how to learn to stop to monopolize everybody’s time for everything and nothing. Just as Julia is wasting everybody’s time when she arrives late, Stephen is prohibiting not only himself but all the members of his team to move on and end to meeting to go back to productive work.

4. Spend more time planning than doing

Sara’s paper organizers, reminders and alerts

Sara is obsessive with her multiple organization systems. Sara has many paper organizers, reminders and alerts on all her devices and computers and she often spend more time organizing her day then she is actually accomplishing actual work. Sara is amazing to organize birthday celebrations and great office parties but when it comes to the real work, she is not that great with time management.

How is over planning hurting your productivity

Planning ahead is great, over planning is a waste of time! And if you think about it for a minute, it could just be procrastination! As Seth Godin would say: SHIP! (Here is a nice blog post about the shipping concept) It is time to but the fear of criticism aside and just do the work. You will soon realize that you are achieving great and productive work!

5. Overestimate your time spent at work

John’s illusion of the 40-hours work week

If you take a look at John’s pay slip, it says that John is working 40 hours a week… but is he really? John is supposed to work from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday, with an hour-long unpaid lunch period every day. Most days, John arrives at work at 8:15AM. He leaves for lunch at 11:30AM and comes back at 1PM. He leaves at 5PM everyday except on Fridays since he is playing golf at 3PM. John sure spends a good half hour a day chatting at the coffee machine everyday and he is taking regular cigarette breaks. How many hours a week is John working? (No more then 30.)

How is overestimating your time at work hurting your productivity

Be honest… how many hours a week are you actually working? What more could you achieve if you truly worked all the hours you are supposed to? I guess now is time to ponder what you are really doing at work. Are you as productive as you think?

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