The Most Common Mistakes People Make With Business Productivity

Efficiency productivity


It is common knowledge to think that planning improves your productivity. I sure will agree with it but I think there are two big mistakes people are making when it comes to business productivity and planning: going overboard with too much planning or getting lost with not enough. In this article, I will discuss both ends of the continuum going from too much planning to too little.


Erring on too much of a good thing

Do you recognize yourself in any of these examples? (Spoiler alert… I do!)

–  Spending three hours on the agenda for an hour-long meeting.

–  Editing over and over your paper/article/blog/report before pressing the “send” button.

–  Spending more than 30 minutes every morning to plan the day ahead.

–  Having plan A, B, C, D and E always ready for any given situation.

–  Feeling a lot of anxiety and distress when things don’t go according to plans.


At this point, you probably get the pattern I’m showcasing here: spending more time on planning than on actually doing the task. And as a result, you may be getting stressed because things don’t go according to the plan and ending up stressing even more about the plan more than about the outcome.

On a more positive note, the over planners usually display great qualities such as punctuality, high personal standards and a great attention to details. They will set the records straight and get you back on the track if you loose your focus!

What hypothesis could we think of to explain this behaviour? My personal explanation (I’m no psychologist, this is more out of personal experience!) I like to call it “the two P’s”: perfectionism and procrastination. Wanting to get everything done perfectly, you plan and plan and plan endlessly (the procrastination part) to avoid actually doing the task that you fear will not end up being at your desired level of perfection (the perfectionism).

Do you agree that putting too much time planning a task end up being procrastination?



Happy go (un)lucky

And now, do you recognize yourself in any of these examples?

–  Never reading the agenda before the meeting since you learned about the meeting five minutes after it started.

–  Having a full inbox of unread emails.

–  Never spending any time morning to plan the day ahead.

–  Figuring things as it comes.

–  Feeling like you “never get the memo”.


At the complete opposite of the spectrum, you have the ones who simply don’t have a plan. They are the people taking things as it comes and reacting to the events. They usually are the dreamers of the office.

They may be creative and innovative but they regularly need guidance from others to get things done. Don’t ask them what the forecast is!

Of course, not having a plan at all puts you at risk of going nowhere or in all the directions at the same time, which is not exactly the best road to business productivity.



Finding your personal balance

There is a reason why we plan our workload and our tasks, we make schedules in order to balance work and play. Planning ahead helps you work towards innovation, it enhances communications within the team, it keeps you motivated organized and efficient.

My bottom line advice when it comes to planning would be to always ask yourself: “What is my goal?” and plan in order to stick to this goal. Don’t be too strict; it will only stress you out. Remember to keep your plan flexible and have an open mind. Things will change and you will have to adapt. We all need a little latitude to breathe.

Finally, learn to know yourself and how you work. We all need more planning for certain tasks and less for others.



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