5 Productivity Errors That Make You Look Flaky

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by StephenGilmer

Most of the time, if we’re not functioning at peak productivity, no one knows. But there are productivity errors that can make us look totally flaky. Do you make any of these mistakes?

1. Not Writing Things Down

Have you ever not written something down, telling yourself you would remember? And then completely forgotten?

If we don’t write things down, there is no guarantee we will remember them later. And writing them down isn’t a guarantee, either, unless we have a system in place to deal with written notes.

Writing things down in a place you routinely check is the key to avoiding this mistake. Make notes about things that you commit to, phone numbers, information you need to remember, and make sure to take care of it later!

2. Not Being Able To Find Things

Have you ever received a piece of paper, put it on your desk, and then been unable to find it later?

If we don’t have a good way to keep track of the things we put down, we run the risk of not being able to find them again. According to a 2010 study from Brother International, people look for misplaced and lost items nearly 38 hours a year…almost a full work week.

Having designated spots for permanent items, and keeping them in their places, is one way to combat this (“Everything has a place, and everything in its place”).

Another way is to have a good method of handling transitory items like reference materials and making sure your desk isn’t filled with so much stuff you can’t find things.

3. Forgetting Delegations

One of the keys of productivity is realizing you can’t do it all yourself. So we learn how to delegate. But what happens if you forget about the delegation?

One of two things will happen: the person assigned will bring back the work and you will have a moment of trying to recall exactly what you asked for; or the job will slip and you will remember too late for it to be done.

Make sure that if you delegate something, you communicate what needs to be done and the deadline and have some way to follow-up. Dated tasks would be a good method to keep track of deadlines.

4. Losing Track Of The Context Of Information

Have you ever scribbled something down on a piece of paper, and then looked at it later and have no idea what it was about? Phone numbers without names, store hours without the store name, a cryptic note that you cannot decipher?

Information is only as useful as the context you place it in. Our phone books would be useless if there were not names associated with them.

When you make a note, take a tiny bit of time and jot down how it applies, what you were going to do with it, or where it belongs.

5. Not Having A Plan

Did you ever have a free day, where there were no set plans, and you decided to get a lot done? And then realize at the end of the day that you really had accomplished very little?

Work will expand to fill all available time, as Parkinson’s Law states. So if we don’t have limits on our time, what we attempt will take up every nook and cranny. A plan sets those limits in place, and forces us to concentrate our efforts to get things done more quickly.

I’m not sure that monthly plans hold true, but I make a weekly plan with a target list to make sure that I get things done.

Have you ever ended up looking flaky because of a productivity error? Share below…if you dare.

Photo by StephenGilmer



  1. says

    Great tips – writing things down use to be an issue for me when I was in sales and spent half my life on the road. Finally I smartened up and started carrying a device to just record my thoughts and reminders and could then easily transcribe them to my computer later on. Made a huge difference!

    • LJ Earnest says

      Far too often to me. I’ve learned not to ask people, either, especially at work. They think my notes are strange enough without admitting that I don’t understand them either!