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Here Are My Top 3 Productivity Killers
- Yours Too? What I Do To Stop Them
December 13, 2016

By Rick Lance

Voice Actor

Know what one of the top ways to kill a business is?

Lack of productivity.

Know what one of the biggest challenges for self-employed people, like voice actors, is?

Maintaining productivity.

Hmmm. In today’s home-work environment, there are a million distractions. In addition to the hundred things around the house you need to get done, there are also endless alerts about emails, social media "likes,” text messages, and so on.

There also are phone calls to make, colleagues to connect with, grocery lists to draft, laundry to fold, kids to shuttle - this list literally never ends, and it’s basically the same for every working adult.

I think these things are amplified when you’re self-employed and working out of your home, though, simply because you’re in your own, personal environment - your comfort zone.

There’s no boss looking over your shoulder to see how much you’ve accomplished, and no one (save for clients) to report to. You’re on your own.

And it’s solely up to you to maintain productivity and motivation. Of course, complicating all of this are all those pesky distractions, lurking and just waiting to kill your productivity.


However, if you can isolate your biggest interferences, you can stop them before they start, and maintain an efficient level of productivity. Here are My Top 3 Productivity Killers, and what I do to stop them.

1. Facebook

This will probably top the list for a lot of folks, because it’s one of the biggest time sucks out there.

When you log onto Facebook, time seems to move faster, and the deeper you go down the FB rabbit hole, the more time you lose.

The fix: I don’t log onto Facebook until I’ve accomplished everything on my list for the day. It’s that simple. I just don’t do it.

2. Multitasking

Lots of people can knock out a ton of work by doing multiple jobs at the same time. But I am not of them. When I try to do too much at once, I get overwhelmed and frustrated, which negatively impacts my efficiency and productivity.

The fix: I make a list each morning of what I want to get done each day, and then I do those things one at a time. I don’t try to crowd them together, like compose emails while I’m on the phone or even on hold. I focus on each task individually until completion.

3. Over-scheduling

Similar to multitasking, I’ve found that if I try to cram too much into one day, the same feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed occur.

I look at my list and think, "I can’t do all this!” and then I feel kind of awful and hopeless, which is extremely counterproductive.

The fix: I don’t over-schedule myself. I make my lists specific and realistic, allotting reasonable time frames for each task. I try to keep it fairly flexible, too, so I can move things around if I need to.

So what about you? What kills your productivity and how do you deal with it?
Rick Lance has been working as a voice talent since 1993, transitioning from singing demos and personal projects in Nashville’s music business to voicing hundreds of commercials, then promos, narrations, character voices and more. His vocal style is described as Americana, the voice of the Heartland. He is currently the voice (narrator) of three hunting programs and one outdoor program on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel. His client list includes Toyota, Harley Davidson, Sony Entertainment, Coca Cola, Life Care Centers of America, John Deere, Jordan Outdoor Enterprises and Sacred Seasons II. He has also become a leading voice for the industries of construction, manufacturing, energy production, trucking, agriculture/equine, outdoor sports, travel, community banking, finance and health care. And he is a colorful voice for film, television, museum and corporate documentaries. "I’m lucky to be working within my comfort zone," he says, "literally living out my voice acting life as an outdoorsman, horseman, weekend cowboy and working man, gentleman farmer on my six acre mini ranch with my horses, dogs, cats and my wife near Nashville.”


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Comments (5)
Rick Lance
12/13/2016 at 8:28 PM
Thanks for the comments Crystal, Howard and Marie!

I have to correct myself just a bit concerning Facebook.
I do have to get on there sometimes earlier in the day because I use Facebook mainly for business.
And sometimes I need to address something quickly if I can.
Even my personal page kinda slides into my biz page.
But I still don't allow that time to get away from me.
As long as it's a quick in-and-out... I'm ok!

Happy Holidays!
Dustin Ebaugh
12/13/2016 at 6:55 PM
Rick: You continue to impress me, as you always have. This is a great and timely article with all the holiday busyness and all year round really. Social media is a productivity killer that prohibits deep, focused work. I completely agree with you on multitasking. I'm still working on that one. Thanks for sharing this great advice!
12/13/2016 at 1:17 PM
I do a lot of work on my FB business page and found that when I maintain focus, I function more productively. I know what I'm there for, get it done and move on to the next thing. Then FB becomes a tool, like using the internet is a tool to help me get more done. I love the daily to-do list of items because that works to pull all those details together. At the end of the day, you have a sheet of items checked off and that feels good.
Howard Ellison
12/13/2016 at 10:16 AM
Yeh, good tips, Rick, and I relate to your feelings. These days I have to schedule around a family caring responsibility, so there's zero time to waste. A list is great: each task flagged either as Urgent or Important. And then folded horizontally so I see only half a dozen tasks at a time. With less time, priorities change as well: I delete far more marginal opps than I used to and go all out for stuff that's a natural fit.
Marie Hoffman
12/13/2016 at 5:50 AM
I like your post, Rick, and I like the way you think--honest, simple and to the point.
Very productive of you, I might add.

All the best,
Marie Hoffman
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