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10 Huge Productivity Blockers Employees Face in 2024

10 Huge Productivity Blockers Employees Face in 2024

What productivity blockers are employees facing today? 

In 2015, A study found that workers are interrupted about every three minutes

In 2018, a survey revealed that employees are productive for less than 3 hours a day.   

In 2021, McKinsey found that employees waste 1.8 hours every day searching for information.

And now, in 2024, maintaining productivity is just as hard as ever. We chatted with 11 workers to hear about the big productivity issues they’re dealing with in their jobs. 

Here’s what they shared: 

  • Unnecessary meeting attendance
  • Email overload
  • Endless notification 
  • Undefined priorities and time limits 
  • Choice fatigue
  • Other people’s needs 
  • The existence of the internet
  • Non-urgent alerts
  • Multitasking
  • Open-door policy
  • Information discoverability 

1. Unnecessary meeting attendance

“Unnecessary meetings are one of my pet peeves, and they are actually an annoying productivity blocker! Meetings are good for face-to-face interaction, but they are also major productivity blockers for businesses everywhere. I know many other people also share this sentiment. For me, unnecessary meetings stop me from completing work.

In my opinion, it is vital to maintain a balance between productive and unproductive meetings. Anything that can be communicated quickly over email, Slack, or any other instant messenger is enough. One to two meetings per week should be sufficient, along with occasional quick updates. This helps ensure the team collaborates, connects, and stays on the same page. If the meeting goes over time, attendees should be allowed to leave. This keeps everyone on track.”

Precious Abacan, Softlist

“Meetings are good for face-to-face interaction, but they are also major productivity blockers for businesses everywhere.”

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

2. Email overload

“One of the biggest productivity blockers I deal with is definitely email overload. It’s like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. Every time you think you’ve cleared your inbox, ten more pop up! It can really disrupt the flow of the day and distract from more important tasks that require deeper focus.

To combat this, I’ve started designating specific times to check and respond to emails—usually once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. This helps keep the email monster in check and allows me to focus on high-priority projects without constant interruptions. It’s not a perfect system, but it definitely helps maintain momentum throughout the day.”

Andrew Lee Jenkins quote on productivity blockers

“One of the biggest productivity blockers I deal with is definitely email overload.”

Andrew Lee Jenkins, Owner, Catalyst RVA Marketing Agency

“The constant stream of emails and messages—it’s never-ending. Just when you think you’ve cleared your inbox, a new batch pops up, demanding your attention. I realized early on that if I didn’t find a way to manage this, it would manage me, consuming my day and diluting my focus. So, I’ve adopted a few strategies that have made a world of difference.

I schedule specific times of the day to check and respond to emails and messages. This could be first thing in the morning, midday, and before wrapping up work. At that time, I focus solely on clearing my inbox.

Outside these times, unless there are urgent matters, I try to stay out of my inbox. That means I can spend the rest of my time focused on productive work. I also make sure I use filters and labels on messages so I can sort out what needs immediate attention and what can wait.”

Esther Buttery, CLIQ Marketing Content

“Just when you think you’ve cleared your inbox, a new batch pops up, demanding your attention.”

Esther Buttery, Director, CLIQ Marketing Content

3. Endless notifications 

“One of the most persistent productivity blockers in my day-to-day operations is the barrage of notifications from emails, instant messages, and various other communication platforms. This constant stream can be a major distraction, pulling our team away from the focused work that drives results for our clients.

To address this, we’ve implemented a system where all team members mute their notifications, and one designated team member serves as the communication gatekeeper. This person is responsible for monitoring all incoming messages, filtering them, and then distributing them to the appropriate team members. 

We’ve set specific times throughout the day when the team reviews these filtered messages, allowing us to tackle communications efficiently and in batches. This approach minimizes disruptions and helps maintain our productivity, ensuring we can give our undivided attention to our clients’ projects.”

Joshua Bartlett Double Plus Marketing

“One of the most persistent productivity blockers in my day-to-day operations is the barrage of notifications…”

Joshua Bartlett, Owner, Double Plus Marketing

4. Undefined priorities and time limits

“I have experienced two main productivity blockers during my workdays:

1. Not having my tasks written down and prioritized the night before. If I wake up and don’t have a tightly organized, prioritized list of the things I need to get done that day ready to go and sitting front and center on my desk, I am lost!

I need to be able to sit down at my desk in the morning, look at what is #1 on my daily list, and then just get started—no thinking time required!

2. Not setting up time limits for my work. I used to let tasks take as long as they needed to get done—but that caused me to take way more time than necessary to do them!

Instead, I now use a timer to give myself 25-minute time periods in which to get a single task, or a part of a single task, done. This is called the Pomodoro Technique, and it is amazing for productivity.”

Zoe Blarowski qupte

“If I wake up and don’t have a tightly organized, prioritized list…I am lost!”

Zoe Blarowski, Consultant, Manifest a Perfect Life

5. Choice fatigue 

“The concept of choice fatigue in the digital era is a current productivity stumbling block for me. With an infinite number of alternatives at our disposal, from which tasks to prioritize to which tools to employ, the sheer volume of decisions we face on a daily basis can be stressful and taxing.

To counteract decision fatigue, I’ve started using decision batching. Instead of making multiple minor decisions throughout the day, I group similar decisions into time blocks. For example, I’ll spend the first 30 minutes of my morning selecting tasks for the day, then another block of time later in the day reviewing and replying to emails. By grouping comparable decisions, I can lessen decision fatigue and free up mental bandwidth for more important activities.”

Alex Ginovski quote on productivity

“The concept of choice fatigue in the digital era is a current productivity stumbling block for me.”

Alex Ginovski, Head of Product and Engineering, Enhancv

6. Other people’s needs

“One of my biggest productivity blockers is other people’s needs. This is why it’s crucial to set yourself up for success, including time-blocking, working off a list, and keeping distractions to a minimum. Studies show it takes 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction. 

So what seems insignificant—a quick phone call, the ding of a text, or a short email popping up—can add up to hours of lost productivity. To combat that, I work with my phone on silent and all pop-ups on my laptop off.”

Tara Geraghty, Hey Girl You Can

“One of my biggest productivity blockers is other people’s needs.”

Tara Geraghty, Founder, Hey Girl You Can

7. The existence of the internet 

“Listen, procrastination is going to be the death of me. I’m a writer, and you simply can’t write non-stop; you need time to think, plan, and research. But that means you also have a lot of opportunities to get sidetracked, and that’s where I run into issues. 

My phone and the existence of the internet, in general, are the daily sabotage I have to deal with and fight against. I’ve taken to leaving my phone in a different room and blocking certain websites so I won’t be able to waste time.”

Sead Fadilpasic quote on productivity blockers

“My phone and the existence of the internet, in general, are the daily sabotage I have to deal with and fight against.”

Sead Fadilpašić, Cybersecurity Writer, Restore Privacy

8. Multitasking 

“Even in an environment geared towards efficiency and effectiveness, certain productivity blockers can hinder our progress. Identifying and addressing these challenges is key to maintaining our competitive edge. Here is one of the most significant productivity blockers we frequently encounter and how we manage it.

Multitasking, while often seen as a necessary skill in a fast-paced agency, tends to be more of a productivity blocker than a booster. The human brain isn’t wired to perform multiple tasks effectively at the same time, especially tasks that require cognitive effort. At our company, we promote a culture of single-tasking, where team members are encouraged to focus on one task at a time. This approach has led to improvements in the quality of work and overall efficiency, reducing errors and the need for rework.”

Jason Hennessey - Hennessey Digital

“Multitasking, while often seen as a necessary skill in a fast-paced agency, tends to be more of a productivity blocker than a booster.”

Jason Hennessey, CEO, Hennessey Digital

9. Open-door policy

“Personally, the largest productivity barrier for me is my team’s open-door policy, which is quite beneficial in a variety of ways because our workers may come at any time. However, it has an influence on my productivity since it requires me to pause what I am doing and respond to my team members.

I have attempted to reduce this by offering certain time slots to my most immediate reportees during the day to engage with me so that at least they know that this is their time; they can come over, and I also try not to do anything during that time that demands high attention.”

Anam Barkan quote

“Personally, the largest productivity barrier for me is my team’s open-door policy.”

Anam Barkan, CEO, HireGO Minibuses

10. Information discoverability

“The average company now uses 371 SaaS applications. With this many apps to keep track of, information discoverability is definitely a challenge — and it’s a huge productivity blocker. Employees waste time navigating through endless folders and documents or they have to bother coworkers for the answers they need. 

The ability to quickly find and analyze data with GoSearch means our team can focus on innovation and strategic growth. It’s a vital tool for me and our team to maintain our competitive edge in a fast-paced market.”

Brandon Most Quote on productivity blockers

“The ability to quickly find and analyze data with GoSearch means our team can focus on innovation and strategic growth.”

Brandon Most, Head of Marketing, GoSearch

Overcome productivity blockers with better knowledge management

One of the biggest productivity blockers is the issue of information discoverability. The average company has over 300 SaaS applications. So, of course, it’s challenging for employees to quickly navigate to the resources they need. 

GoLinks is a link-shortening tool that makes it easier to navigate your digital workplace. Thanks to these short and memorable links, employees can instantly access resources and effortlessly share them verbally and visually. 

GoSearch is an AI-powered enterprise search platform that helps employees quickly furface the knowledge they’re looking for. 

These two tools combined create the ultimate knowledge management system for your team. 

Try them out yourself and see how much time you save! 

GoLinks Productivity Suite
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