Discover the behaviors that hinder your productivity and learn how to break free from them.
As a business owner, there are countless factors that can impede your productivity. From employee issues to customer concerns, marketing challenges, and the daily emergence of unexpected problems, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, there’s one productivity killer that surpasses them all in terms of time and resource wastage: escapist behavior. I’ve interacted with numerous business owners who resort to using email as an escape from strategic challenges or difficult conversations. Personally, when I’m stressed, I often find solace in aimlessly wandering the aisles of my local Staples, purchasing unnecessary office supplies. Similarly, some entrepreneurs seek refuge in solving simple work problems, while others turn to television or social media for distraction.
Where do you find yourself seeking refuge when work becomes overwhelming?
Successful entrepreneurs intentionally choose escapist behaviors that, at worst, have no negative consequences and, at best, benefit them and their companies. The first step is to identify where you typically escape to when feeling overwhelmed and then find ways to transform those behaviors.
Regardless of whether you’re watching it on a large screen or a small tablet, television remains a common time-sink that robs business owners of valuable hours every week. Time that could be invested in reading books, spending quality time with family, or getting a good night’s sleep. In extreme cases, some business owners even install a television in their office, severely impacting their ability to tackle complex problems and develop strategies. If you must use a screen, replace this behavior with watching educational videos or listening to industry-leading podcasts.
While social media does serve a purpose for businesses, it often becomes a major distraction, consuming excessive attention from business owners and hindering their productivity. Remember, the true cost of a quick interaction on social media isn’t just the five minutes spent doing it; it’s the additional 15 to 30 minutes required to regain focus on your previous tasks. Instead, allocate specific times each day or week to monitor your social media accounts or, if possible, delegate social media responsibilities to a team member.
On the surface, email may seem harmless and essential for modern business communication. However, most business owners would agree that it’s a significant obstacle to creating real value for their businesses, even though they believe they have no choice but to stay on top of it. But do you really need to check your inbox every few minutes? Does a quick glance at your inbox lead to a subsequent social media check? And how long does it take for you to refocus on your work after checking emails? All of these factors can prevent you from addressing the more critical issues in your business. Instead, allocate specific blocks of time to work on your inbox, allowing yourself dedicated periods to build your business without constantly being online.
Overcoming escapist behaviors requires more than sheer willpower. By leveraging the power of your environment, gaining insight into your habits, and establishing new routines, you can reclaim valuable time in your day to focus on tasks that truly matter to your business.
By: Josefine Anton