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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Productivity - 7 Signs You Are Having an "Unproductive" Week

Have you ever had a week where you looked back and said to yourself, "Did I get *anything* done this week?"

I did. Last week. I'm not proud of it, but it happened. Rather than complain about it, I decided to channel that non-productivity into a valuable lesson for all of us.

Here then are seven signs that you are having an "unproductive" week:

1 - You Start "Transcribing" Your Daily "To-Do" Lists

You know how it goes. You sit down today with yesterday's to-do list and start filling in all the stuff you didn't get done yesterday. Then you realize that you got nothing done yesterday and that you would have been better off just making a copy of yesterday's list and trying again. Repeat ad infinitum...

2 - Some Area of Your House Gets *Really* Clean and Organized

Ah, how we fool ourselves into feeling productive when we are just procrastinating. Instead of working we decide that now would be a great time to really clean the bathroom, top to bottom. Take a look - if some part of your house is much cleaner on Friday than it was on Monday, you may have a problem.

*Note for the non-self employed worker: The desk jockey's variation on this is that either your desk and files get *really* organized, or you email inbox suddenly goes from a jumbled mess of 3000 emails to a neatly organized system of with an empty inbox and a ton of properly setup folders.

3 - Wikipedia Dominates Your Browser's History Cache

I love Wikipedia, but it may be the greatest time wasting tool on the internet. I can spend an entire afternoon bouncing from article to article, none of which have anything to do with me being productive. Do I really need to lookup who Bret Hart defeated to win his first WWE heavyweight championship? Does anyone?? No, but with Wikipedia you someone find yourself in that bad, bad, place. (By the way, for those of you playing at home, it was Ric Flair.)

4 - You Complain Because This Afternoon's Law & Order Episode is the Same One They Showed Last Night

Law and Order is on some channel, somewhere, all the time. TNT somehow shows 27 episodes a day. Sometimes though, the 2:00PM afternoon episode is the same one they showed the night before at 8:00PM. I shouldn't know that. No one who works from home and wants to be successful should know that. Even worse, no one should be upset that they can't watch a one hour Law and order episode at 2:00PM because they already saw it last night. That's the sign of a bad week...

5 - Most of Your Day is Spent Planning for Your Evening

You know the drill. You want to see some friends in the evening, so you spend all day looking up movie times, making dinner reservations, calling and emailing friends, and thinking about how much fun you will have. When your major accomplishment for the day is, "I planned a get together for my friends," that day by default falls into the category, "unproductive."

6 - You Set a New High Score...In Anything

Solitaire, Minesweeper, Bejeweled, Guitar Hero, whatever. If you set a new score in any game this week, the entire week is a a write off. End of story. No discussion.

And the big one:

7 - Your Bank Account Is Smaller Than it Was at the Beginning of the Week

This one is mainly for the self-employed, and its a painful one. When your income is dependent solely on your ability to generate business, then you know that if you did not deposit any money this week that you did not have a productive week. A few more weeks like this and you won;t have to worry about unproductive weeks - you'll have to worry about long lines at the unemployment office!

Pay attention - if you catch yourself doing any of these, it's not too late! You can course correct yourself and get back on track to have a productive week. Otherwise, give me call and we'll hang out and watch a "Law and Order" episode together.

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