The Top 10 Enemies that Will Kill Your Productivity

By Ryan Taft

​I coach sales managers on a weekly basis. One of the most common topics we discuss is time. Whether you are a coach, a sales leader or a sales person, I believe one of the most important skills you should master is the skill of productivity.

For most, including myself, productivity is often quite elusive. Sure you have the best intentions, but things get in the way.

In my coaching, I regularly deal with 10 topics that throw people out of being productive. Here they are for you in no particular order:

1. Lack of calendar use

Highly productive people live and die by their calendar. They schedule just about everything. For example:

  • Health activities
  • Date nights with the spouse
  • Income generating activities (Sales calls, following up, etc.)
  • Church
  • Time blocks for checking email
  • Meetings
  • Rest
  • Fun

When it comes to your calendar, if you aren’t planning your life in advance, someone else will…and it won’t necessarily fall into your idea of productivity.

2. Reactiveness

Do you wake up in the morning and check your email? Do you stop what you are doing when an email comes in or someone stops by your office? If yes, you are being reactive. Folks that are truly productive make it a point to avoid reaction.

3. Other people

Closely tied to reactiveness, other people can cause you to lose productivity. Highly productive people set boundaries with people. No boundaries equal less production.

4. Your cell phone

There is a new feature on most phones called “Screen Time”. This feature tells you how much time you are spending on your phone. Recently I looked at this new feature and learned that I had picked up my cell phone an average of 49 times per day. Bottom line, limit the amount of times you pick up your phone and you will stay focused on whatever your current task is.

5. Social media

I feel the need to call this one out separately from your cell phone. The average person spends two hours on social media every day! I get that at times social media is productive, but my guess is that most people are really just scrolling through other people’s news feeds. #catpics

Recently, I deleted Facebook, Twitter and Instagram off of my phone. I have found my productivity skyrocket. You should try it.

6. Lack of goal clarity

Without clarity on your goals, how do you know if what you are doing day in and day out is productive? The answer is, you can’t. Highly productive people start their week with clarity on not only the goals they have, but also the activities they need execute in order to achieve those goals.

7. Lack of mental clarity

This has to do with your health. In order to be your most productive self, you must be, as my wife would say, “On your ‘A’ game.” That means taking care of you. Are you eating like crap? Do you get enough rest? Are you always in high-stress states? Take care of you and watch your production increase big time!

8. Clutter

Do me a favor…look at your work environment right now. If you aren’t in your work environment, look at it when you get there. Which word would describe it best, chaos or clean? If it’s chaos, I guarantee you aren’t as productive as you could be. It is worth taking some time to get organized. Or you could just go work at a Starbucks.

9. Saying “Yes” too often

I have found that the most productive people I know are really good at saying, “No.” To them, saying yes to the wrong things is extremely costly. What are you currently saying, “yes” to that is keeping you from being more productive?

My good friend AJ Puedan once coached me to stop doing things I am good at, hire people who are great at those things so that I could do more of the things I am great at. Does that make sense?

10. Routines and habits

I believe the famous author, Tom Clancy, had to wake up an hour early while working as an insurance broker in order to write his first best seller The Hunt For Red October.

Take inventory of your current routines. Is there anything that you are doing on a regular basis that is either taking too long or that you shouldn’t be the one doing it at all? Maybe you need to create some new routines to increase your productivity.

Don’t allow these enemies of productivity to keep you from being your most productive self. When you produce more, you will impact more people and help to change their world.

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About the Author: Ryan Taft

Ryan Taft
Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life. With a career spanning two decades training and coaching sales teams from call centers to new home sales to Realtors®, Ryan combines his knowledge of human performance, psychology and sales skills development to deliver extraordinarily engaging, energizing and insightful training experiences that drive peak performance at all levels.  Learn more at and follow Ryan on Twitter.