6 Phrases That Secretly Sabotage Productivity 1) "I need that by the end of the day." When you tell a colleague that you need an asset by the end of the day, you're essentially asking them to drop everything else they're currently working on to focus instead on completing your task. Is not getting this component done by the end of the day really more problematic than pushing back this person's entire schedule to get it done? A shared work calendar or other project management tool can help your team be more aware of what others are currently working on, and keep everyone on track with a shared time line of the project's progress. 2) "The project is 75% done." How many designers does it take to approve the final version of a project? But this phrase becomes problematic when it's used to keep putting off more challenging conversations. If you absolutely need to put something pressing on the back burner, don't just push it away without explicitly planning a time and place to discuss it later. Give your team 10 minutes to answer the following question: "If you could get rid of any rule, either kill it or change it, what rule would you choose and why?" It will make your team see you're willing to get rid of processes that hinder creativity.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people working an average 8.8 hour workday are actually only productive for about three hours.
So where is all that wasted time going?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics study, the four most popular unproductive activities were the following:
- Reading news websites – 1 hour 5 min
- Checking social media – 44 min
- Discussing non-work-related things with coworkers – 40 min
- Searching for new jobs – 26 min
Given this data, it’s more important than ever before for teams to make the most of their productive hours.
We’ve compiled a list of seemingly innocuous phrases that could be secretly sabotaging your team’s productivity. Read on to learn what to avoid, and what to say instead.
6 Phrases That Secretly Sabotage Productivity
1) “I need that by the end of the day.”
When you tell a colleague that you need an asset by the end of the day, you’re essentially asking them to drop everything else they’re currently working on to focus instead on completing your task. This could potentially throw off their whole day, and lead to a problematic backlog they’ll need to scramble to unearth themselves from.
Before you set an end of the day deadline, ask yourself: Do we really need this done by the end of the day? Is this a realistic time line? What else does this person have on their plate right now? Try to consider the project’s bottom line. Is not getting this component done by the end of the day really more problematic than pushing back this person’s entire schedule to get it done?
If this phrase pops up regularly in your office, it could be an indicator that your team needs to rethink the way you communicate around project goals and deadlines. A shared work calendar or other project management tool can help your team be more aware of what others are currently working on, and keep everyone on track with a shared time line of the project’s progress.
2) “The project is 75% done.”
This might seem like a productive way to assess the progress of a project, but providing a percentage isn’t the most accurate or helpful way to communicate how the project is really moving along. You might have roughly 75% of a project’s tasks complete, but does this really provide the best picture of where you currently stand? Not all tasks are created equal, and that last 25% could actually take longer and require more effort than the first 75%.
Instead of throwing around a percentage of completed work, communicate your progress more holistically: “Here’s what we’ve done so far, and here is what still needs to be done.” It’s a simple shift, but it gives your clients a much more precise, honest picture of where the work currently stands. It also helps your team more accurately understand the project’s progress.