When it comes to personal productivity and efficiency, you have to watch those rabbit trails. You know what I’m talking about. It is those little diversions and temptations that can subtly pull you away from what you really should be doing. We all struggle with them.  Here are some of the more interesting ones that others have been brave enough to share.

Sia Mohajer (founder of Market Monkey) explains how sometimes you can start with good intentions, but still end up down a rabbit trail (Katie Morell “How Do You Waste Time at Work?” Bloomberg Businessweek. 10/10/16–10/16/16, p. 70):

I start my day feeling anxious that I haven’t completed, or even started, my clients’ work. I make a list. After that, I make a sublist. Finally, I start doing research for my first list and add more items to it. . . . [then] I realize that I’ve done nothing other than make lists.

That one also sounds like a close cousin to the paralysis of analysis rabbit trail.

Brian Cherhoniak (co-founder of personal-finance blog Beating Break-Even) reminds us how some of that “window shopping” may ultimately be a total waste of time:

I search for luxury pillows on Amazon. I have been searching for the perfect pillow for five years. My cart has over 200 in there, but I haven’t purchased one yet.

I think Brian has more in his cart than I do in a lifetime!

Terence Channon (managing director of startup studio, SaltMines Group) confesses that sometimes rabbit trails can suck in an entire group of people at once:

I found a cool app that allows me to play Risk. A few team members were intrigued, so I loaded up a replay of my most recent game on our big screen, and we all watched, turn by turn. Everyone was so into it that we started commentating on each move, like at a sporting event. We did this for 90 minutes before we felt inspired to work.

Hey, haven’t you been reading this too long? Watch out for those rabbit trails!

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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