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What's interfering with your productivity and what to do about it, by Ahmad Raza for Huffington Post.

Productivity is a combination of clever planning and hard work with fully focused efforts. In simple words, it is using your time the best you can and providing 100% results. While, this is something that's expected out of every business and employee, staying productive is not as easy as it may sound.

Productivity levels are low in almost all industries, and this is largely due to the presence of certain activities that prevent businesses from working at their full potential.

To help you become a productivity genius, given below are five useless activities you need to get rid of.

1. Sticking to To-do Lists

Gone is the era when to-do lists ruled the charts. Today businesses need to be more focused. While everyone should know what's needed to be done, what's important is to schedule tasks according to their importance. You cannot just make a to-do list but not know what to do with it. Instead, have a schedule and communicate it to everyone with clearly defined responsibilities so that there is no confusion.

Often, a lot of time is wasted because you just do not know what's more important, and end up juggling between tasks. Having schedules and knowing what to do and when to do will enable you to concentrate more on important tasks.

2. Handling too Much Work

There is only a certain amount of work one can handle before things get out of hands. While you in your position of an entrepreneur may wish to do a lot more than what you're capable of, the truth is that biting more than what you can chew is a mistake that reduces productivity and also impacts quality.

The solution is to delegate work to other competent employees. And if you are not sure of the final quality, you can explain your expectations to them clearly or create an outline so that no time is wasted in revisions.

3. Having Unneeded Distractions

There are a lot of distractions at work place including social media, cell phones and even colleagues. Since people are different, what district you may not distract others. To make sure these distractions are reduced, have a watertight work policy.

Employees should not be allowed to use cell phones outside of work purposes, unless necessary. Social media platforms can also be banned or limited. Break timings/durations should be clearly defined, including smoking and loo breaks. Lastly, a healthy work atmosphere should be encouraged but employees should be discouraged from creating noise or indulging in gossip since such activities may distract other employees.

4. Holding Unnecessary Meetings

Meetings waste a lot of time, around 35% if you a middle manager and up to 50% if you're in the upper tier. It takes hours to prepare for a meeting, send memos and gather everything, but it's useless if there is nothing important to discuss or if the agenda is not clear.

Just because you are supposed to have a weekly meeting, does not mean you must have it. Always check if a meeting is necessary before you go ahead with it. If something can be discussed over a call or an email then there is no need to go to the boardroom. Also, make sure to have a clear meeting policy. Everyone should be explained the agenda and be instructed to reach on time. Only the most important points should be discussed that too within the specific time period.

Lastly, you can always schedule an urgent meeting if there's something important to discuss. But make sure to let everyone know in advance so that they are prepared for it. In addition to this, you may even plan meetings after office hours, if everyone is okay with the decision.

A lot of office tasks can now be automated thanks to automation software. There is no need to spend hours sending personalized emails when you can use an email marketing software. Based on the nature of your business, you have the option to use a number of technologies. It's all about innovation.

"When it comes to digital aids to boost workplace efficiency, companies today are spoiled for choice. And yet, managers are often slow to jump on board and update their processes in tandem with emerging technologies." Says Christian Lund of Templafy. And this is very much true. Businesses today have choices and they need to be smarter in their decision and use technology wisely.

Have a clear measurement scale to measure productivity so that you can see the improvement in your business productivity.