Welcome back! If you’re just joining our conversation, we’re on our way through Dr. Stevie Dawn’s three problems that are secretly killing your productivity. Last week we talked about outdated and unaddressed processes that were taking up your time at a personal and corporate level. This week’s topic is…well, a little more sensitive. 


Problem # 2


The second productivity killer is… people.


Dr. Stevie says, “I don’t know about you, but I feel like people waste my time more than anything in the world. 

“Hey, got a minute?’ And then three hours later, you’re talking to the same person. Right? Our time spent with other people is one of the areas where we see a huge dip in productivity because we allow other people to control our time. We allow others to control our calendar and we don’t prioritize having productive conversations. 

“Something that I’ve grown passionate about is communication – making sure that everyone in the conversation is actually listening, learning, and getting the message. In my opinion, there should never be a need to have the same conversation more than once. If we’ve already had the conversation, why do we need to have it again? If we’re having a conversation more than one time, the message wasn’t received and that conversation wasn’t productive. 

“If we look at the people that we deal with regularly and the conversations we have, it’s important for us to evaluate how much time we spend in conversations that are going nowhere, and to identify how we can actually move forward. Sometimes that means elegantly ending a conversation, even if the other party isn’t intending for the conversation to end.

“Elegantly leaving a conversation is really all about how you start the conversation. One of the biggest things that I try and impress upon people is that we need to set boundaries for our time at the beginning of the conversation, not when it’s already started to run over. 

“If I start a conversation with you by saying, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you about this but I have to be honest, I’ve got 10 minutes right now. If you’re willing to schedule it for three o’clock today, I have a whole hour. Which one works better for you?’ The expectation is set for the conversation. 

“The point is that you’re not only creating these boundaries, you’re also letting people know that your time is important and so is theirs. You’re asking them to be intentional and you’re respecting time on both sides. 

“What that leads to is when you do have the conversation, there’s a point to it. If somebody is just coming in my office to chit chat or catch up, when I say to them, ‘You know, I only have this much time.’ They’ll either respond with, ‘You know what? No big deal. We’ll catch up over lunch’, or something like, ‘Actually, I was just going to ask you how your weekend went, so I think we can do that in five minutes.’ 

“We want our conversations and our communications to be well received and we want to train our people to genuinely see the value of their time and ours. By setting healthy boundaries around conversation, we are well on our way to solving Productivity Problem #2.”



We’ll wrap up the third common productivity problem in our conversation with Dr. Stevie Dawn on our next blog post, but you can always chat with her yourself! You can send her an email at stevie@steviedawninspires.com or find out more about her at www.alwaysbetheshark.com. If you’d like to hear the full conversation with Stevie on HR Insider, you can find the episode here.