3 Startling Mistakes That Are Blocking Your Productivity (And How To Fix Them)

Posted on / by Natalie Sisson / in Time Management Tricks / 5 comments

Editor’s note: Adopting new tools and technology certainly helps improve productivity. But we forget that some of our habits may be holding us back from being more productive. This post, written by Productivity Coach & Expert Jo Bendle, will help us identify some of the mistakes we might be making that end up blocking our productivity. She also provides us with solutions to overcome these productivity hurdles. For more insights, tune into Jo’s interview on the Suitcase Entrepreneur podcast.

Most of us are on a permanent mission to get more done, and as a Productivity Coach, it’s my job to help you get your productivity on!

I get to see first-hand the mistakes that people make that end up blocking their productivity. So I want to share the top 3 mistakes and simple ways of fixing them so that YOU can become your most productive self this year.

Be warned, though. You might be making these mistakes without even realizing it.

MISTAKE #1 – Avoiding structure and routine at all costs because of #freedom

Hey, I get it! My top value is freedom too.

My big massive goal was to be able to run my business from anywhere in the world, which I am successfully doing. But I had to step right over my dislike of routine and structure to make it a reality.

Even though I had been organizing people for 20 years, I had a strong dislike for routine and structure in my own life. So when I started working for myself, I wasn’t going to tie myself down to a strict routine. I wanted a flexible life. My ultimate goal was freedom, after all.

Guess what? That didn’t work so well.

It’s ironic that the routine, structure and deadlines that I was forced to adhere to in my old corporate life were the things that were blocking my productivity.

I resisted having structure and routine in my life for a long time, so I want to share this with you in the hope that it doesn’t take you as long to realize — freedom comes through discipline (thanks, Natalie, for sharing that gem with me!)

Have you ever wondered why it’s easy to find time to brush your teeth at night, yet you can’t get that critical task done until the last minute?

It’s because you have created structure around brushing your teeth, so it just happens automatically.

The same needs to happen for your time throughout the week.  You need a routine and structure to follow to ensure things get done without having to think about them.

Structure makes us more productive, but it doesn’t have to be tedious. It can be a structure on your terms. I mean, no week looks the same for me as being location independent means I’m often in different time zones. This impacts the time I am on coaching calls, but every week I know exactly when I am in ‘work mode’ and when I am in ‘play mode.’

Taking control of your schedule by planning your week in ‘time slots’ will make it clear when you will be working on what areas of your business. This will ensure that you always end your week feeling fulfilled that you achieved what you set out to do.

Action step to fix mistake #1

Schedule in specific blocks of time in your diary this week, and review at the end of the week what worked, what didn’t work.

I hold an ‘end of week review’ every Friday afternoon, where I review the last week’s goals, set my 7-day goals for the week ahead and then plan out exactly when I will work towards achieving these goals.

Even though it sounds simple, putting blocks of time into your diary that tells you exactly what you will be working on daily is a MASSIVE productivity hack.

This is what gives you MORE freedom, not less.

Try it for one week and see how it impacts your work output, and your mood, in general.

MISTAKE #2 – Waiting for things to be ‘perfect’

I couldn’t not talk about perfection in this post because everyone I meet is holding themselves and their business to a perfect ideal.

And perfectionism is a classic example of a productivity block. When you want everything to be perfect, you don’t take action, and then you have NO freedom business. That is the truth.

On the contrary, getting comfortable with taking imperfect action will ensure you actually have a thriving freedom business.

I encourage you to go for it and just see what happens. Remember, nothing sensational happens inside your cozy comfort zone! Nothing at all.

When I first realized I was blocking my success with perfectionism, I decided to make #Imperfectaction my mantra. I wrote it down on a post-it note on my screen so I could see it every single day.

I took massive imperfect action, but if things went wrong and I allowed myself to be ok with it. Instead of waiting for things to be perfect I was showing up and helping the people who needed my help.

And guess what? I haven’t broken my business or my reputation. Nor have I lost any friends or clients by not being ‘perfect’. Instead, I have grown my business made it successful, and I’m living the life I dreamed of — freedom to work from wherever I choose.

Where would I be if I had stayed in the ‘safe’ zone until things were perfect? Probably back in the corporate world no doubt. Certainly not traveling the world and running my location independent business.

Action step to fix mistake #2

Consider this your permission slip to go and take some #ImperfectAction this month. Publish that blog post, hit send on that newsletter, just get out there and take action.

Feel the fear and do it anyway because I promise you, from the bottom of my heart – Imperfect Action is always better than NO action!

Fancy committing to doing something that scares the hell out of you but will grow your business big time? Please do. I’ll be rooting for you.

MISTAKE #3 – Always aiming for your best month ever

I’m not a fan of the word ‘AVERAGE, ’ and it’s certainly not something I strive for in life. The fact you’re reading this blog means you don’t strive for ‘AVERAGE’ either! But always aiming for the best is how a lot of people end up blocking their productivity, and therefore, their success.

You have BIG GOALS, and you plan to nail them all……at the same time!

So you head into each day with a mammoth To-Do list, get distracted easily, feel annoyed for being distracted, then feel guilty for not being as productive as you are capable of.

More often than not, you get to the end of the week feeling like you didn’t accomplish as much as you had planned, despite working crazy long hours.

This is where you are making a mistake — striving to be exceptionally awesome is setting you up for failure.  

How about if you start each day aiming to achieve a realistic amount of work?

Pick 3 priority tasks (MIA’s – Most Important Actions)  for each day and do them with ease. You will have a clear focus and won’t have to waste time choosing which tasks to do from the mammoth To-Do list. Then you can end the week feeling completely satisfied with your achievements.

Then rinse and repeat. Nailing a realistic amount of work every single week will result in an entirely different outcome in 4 weeks’ time. And 3 months’ worth of such weeks has the potential to be LIFE CHANGING.

And if you still feel that you’re short on time, click here to learn how to reclaim 10 hours every week and double your revenue.

Action step to fix mistake #3

For the next week, identify 1-3 MIAs (Most Important Actions) per day and do those before anything else. Make it easy for yourself. Achieving 3 important tasks every day is a lot easier (and therefore more likely to happen) than working on a massive to-do list.

Again, give this a go for the next week and then review the impact it has on has on how much you get done.

Unblocking your productivity

I hope you realize by now how these 3 mistakes could be blocking your productivity. The only real way to unblock it is by taking action to make sure these mistakes don’t hold you back from success.

So here’s a recap of the 3 action steps you must take:

  1. Schedule in specific blocks of time in your diary to get work done, for next week. Then review at the end of the week.
  2. Take imperfect action by doing the important task you’ve been putting off for months so that you can do it perfectly.
  3. Identify 1-3 MIAs (Most Important Actions) per day and do those before anything else.

That’s all it takes to overcome the mistakes that are blocking your productivity. It doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming to get more done in your life and business. So get your productivity game on and claim your freedom.


Jo Bendle Productivity Coach

About our Guest Contributor: Jo Bendle, is a Productivity Coach and Mentor helping online business owners get more done in their business, in less time.  Jo has coached women all over the world to ditch overwhelm, overcome productivity blocks, and achieve their big goals.  She does this while traveling the world and living a location independent lifestyle. Find more insights on productivity on Jo Bendle’s website.

  • Awesome piece of advice.

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  • Yup, that whole – “oh I’m just waiting for right logo before I can REALLY start”, and all those other excuses I’ve made – been there, done that.

    And as for those MIA’s, sometimes I will break those down to even micro tasks. So if I need to write a blog post one day, but my day is swamped (or I just know myself and I will procrastinate), I commit to writing 5 lines for the blog post that day. That’s it.
    That may seem small, and it is, but USUALLY it’s a “trigger” for me.
    The hardest part is starting. Once I start, I’m usually rolling, and doing far more than 5 lines – but more like 5 paragraphs!

    But even if I can’t “roll” that day, I got my 5 lines down for the day – and that’s a win.

    Nice writeup, Jo!

    • Jo Bendle

      YES! Most people make their MIA’s too big, in fact most people’s To-Do list is full of mini projects not mini tasks! I love your version – it’s definitely a game we have to play with ourselves sometimes!

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