10 reasons we don’t get anything done…

Why don’t we get anything done?

Have you ever wondered why it feels like you are running through your day as fast as you possibly can, yet at the end of the day you can’t say what (if anything) actually got done?

Yes, me too. I know I was busy, but what was taking up all my time?

Here are 10 reasons why we don’t get anything done:

We are addicted to our email. We let our incoming email interrupt whatever we are doing, as if what is coming is in more important than what we are working on right now.

We can’t turn off our phone (land line or cell). We will answer every single incoming call (or at least look to see who is calling) as if we have nothing else to do.

We can’t find what we are looking for. Our desk/briefcase/car is awash with papers, files, supplies, and other stuff, and we spend way too much time shifting, sifting and shuffling.

We have an open door policy – and people take advantage of it. Colleagues and co-workers stop by the door and interrupt us with ‘just one quick question’ or some non work related gossip.

The next thing we need to do on this project can’t be done because we don’t have that piece we need from the other department because the person who was supposed to work on it was on vacation/out sick/busy and we didn’t know that.

We aren’t sure what we are supposed to do next, and instead of asking anyone, we dive into some piece of the project, and only discover later that that part was already completed by someone else.

We go online to research a topic and get distracted by chasing various links down many different rabbit holes. Three hours later we still don’t have what we went to find in the first place.

We are working without deadlines, so either everything has a deadline of NOW or nothing is urgent until we have heard from 3 people looking for our input.

We spend our time in meeting after meeting after meeting, all designed to provide status updates, but no one has any time to do any of the work because they are spending all their time updating the status.

And then we wonder why we are so busy but don’t get anything done!

When will we stop? Just wondering…

(c) 2011, Terry Monaghan

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Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, a weekly ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.


  1. Sue Painter says:

    All of your reasons seem to boil down to 1) a lack of skill in handling distractions and 2) a lack of project management skills. Your reasons are right on, and a great list that can serve as a reminder of what NOT to do.

  2. Jennifer Longmore says:

    Very straight and to the point….just what we need to snap out of our energy of distraction and swirling in confusion (and more)!

  3. Lisa Manyon says:

    GREAT points. Many ring true and many I am glad to say are a thing of the past.

    Write on!~


  4. When I notice my attention beginning to wonder, I schedule time to flip through a magazine or look at facebook, because I trust myself enough to know that when I’m getting distracted it is because I need a break.

    When we honor our own patterns and rhythms we can get a lot more done naturally without fighting ourselves.

  5. I agree with Laura, we need to honor our patterns, and sometimes notice when we allow ourselves to be distracted away from something we “should” be doing. Take a closer look at that “should.” Maybe it is time to shift some things around and delegate and truly focus on the things that make our hearts SING!! ♥ ♥ Katherine.

  6. Jenny Fenig says:

    Love this list, Terry! Can relate to many of these distractions. I’ve found I get the most done by having one day a week reserved for FOCUS projects where I don’t schedule anything. I’ll also bring my computer or notebook to a cafe for a day to get out of my routine and regular environment. It’s magical.

  7. Mitch Tublin says:

    A good review to get re-focused.

  8. Great tips Terry – feels a little like you may have been sitting on my shoulder when you penned this!
    Indeed without my focus days I wouldn’t be nearly as productive. AS for open door policy and addicted to email – guilty as charged!
    Heidi Alexandra

  9. Addicted to email? Check
    Open door policy? Check
    Guilty as charged!

  10. I think I’ve done everyone of these and sometimes find myself doing even more than one! Thanks so much for this reminder, so that I can pay attention to what I am doing and hopefully get more done!

    Thanks, Terry!

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