Why your best work isn’t getting done (and what to do about it)

Do you wish you had more hours a day for work that matters? I mean your best work – the work that’s going to make the biggest difference.

Why has that become so hard? What’s getting in the way of progress you want to make?

The answer lies in six productivity killers that eat up time and hinder our ability to keep focused on our main game. Research by Atlassian shows we’re productive about 60% of the time. ¹

  • Meetings – too much time in them.
  • Email – too much time getting through them.
  • Politics – too much time navigating them.
  • Silo’s – too much time bridging them.
  • Processes – too much time following ingrained outdated ones.
  • Multi-tasking – too much time jumping between unrelated tasks.

Without even realising it work becomes a list of tasks and ‘it’s just the way it is’. In a rut, you get caught up in busyness. You achieve despite the cultural environment – but you’re not as happy or fulfilled as you want to be. What can you control to gain some time back?

Here are some tips to remember to enable you to refocus back on your best work.


Make every meeting purposeful:

  • Align on the purpose and time allocation.
  • Agree on the criteria by which decisions will be made.
  • Move the conversation on if the detail isn’t necessary.
  • Seek commitments when decisions are made.


Make every email worthy of your time investment:

  • If a phone call is faster, phone instead.
  • Don’t let email run your day. Set time aside for it and discern what to open.
  • Set boundaries – tell people what you want/don’t want, for example, ask to not get cc’ed on emails sent only to cover someone else’s bum.

As Dermot Crowley says in his book Smart Work – “Treat email like your letterbox”.


  • Be open and transparent.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Don’t create unnecessary drama (even if it’s only in your head).


  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Stop the habits you have that allow you to get distracted (you know what they are).
  • Set time limits for tasks and stick to them.

The secret to your productivity is managing the distractions you control. Do this by discerning what you give attention to and say yes to – it takes discipline. What would an additional 30-60 minutes a day mean to you and your bigger game? Where would you invest it?

¹ https://www.atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic

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