7 Productivity Killers That Stand In The Way Of Success

We live in a world full of fun and entertainment. And although things like Netflix, YouTube and Buzzfeed can transform a boring night into an all-night-cat-video-binge-fest, they can cause serious problems for your productivity over time.

If it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to stay on track, or that you’re constantly making deadlines by the skin of your teeth, it may be time to rethink how you work. So to help you get on the trail to time management we’ve created a list of the top 7 productivity killers and how you can avoid them.

Distractions Galore

Social media, iPhones, random Google searches – although all amazing time killers, they can drain your productivity like nobody’s business. Distractions run rampant in everyday life. And while some unavoidable, many can be eliminated with the simple press of a button, a pair of headphones and some music, or dealing with potential distractions before you start a project. And for the love of productivity silence that ever-present cell phone, take the dog out before you begin the project, eat first – work later. It may be hard at first, but get into the habit of cutting out distractions and it will become second nature.

Not Having A Plan

If you’re a frequent reader of the Black Dog blog or a member of the Pet Business Marketing Mastery program, you’ve probably heard us say “have a plan” about 46 times. Why? Because just taking a little bit of time before starting a new project to create a game plan can have a huge impact on your project.

Snoozing The Alarm

There’s nothing wrong with taking a day catch up on your sleep, especially if you’ve been overworking yourself. But think about your average day and how many times you hit the snooze on your alarm. Are those nine minutes of interrupted sleep really helping to make you feel more refreshed or alert? That’s time each day that could be put towards a morning workout or getting an early start on the day’s work. Those little blocks of time here and there not spent sleeping can start to add up, and before you know it, you’ll be gaining hours time each month.

Too Many Meetings (And For Too Long)

Meeting are vital for businesses! They help to get everyone on the same page, allows for Q&A sessions and can help to motivate and inspire employees. But if you’re not careful they can turn into nothing more than long social chats which interrupt the entire day.

But don’t give up on meeting all together! Instead, keep your meetings on track with a schedule of talking points and specific start and stop time. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows these things going into the meeting so everyone can work together to stay on track. These simple things can keep your meetings from being derailed and keep your day going as planned.

Too Much Social Media

This is always a tricky one. Social media is a vital tool for online marketing success. But when you jump on Facebook to check notifications and end up watching that cute hippo video a friend posts on your personal page, there’s a problem.

Social media is an entertainment vortex, and it’s easy to constantly find yourself “just checking in” when your time could better be spent other ways. So it’s important before starting your social media rounds for the day to have a goal. Ask yourself:

  • How much time should I spend on social media?
  • What exactly am I doing? (Responding to comments, writing tweets, following)
  • Is this what I should be doing right now?

Being Too Organized

Having a plan and sticking to a schedule is a must when trying to keep your business on track – but there is a limit. Creating a minute by minute breakdown of your day is not only time consuming, but also unrealistic. There will always be changes, priorities will shift and things will come up that you can’t plan for. Over planning means spending all this time perfecting your schedule daily, only for it to be thrown off 45 minutes into your day. This isn’t to say toss your to-do list out the window. Map out the top 2 – 5 things you want to accomplish each day and be realistic with your goals.

Rejecting Change

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel in your business. But if you find yourself following “the right way” to do things and it’s just not working, it may be time for a change. Take for example the social media gurus. They each swear by their specific set of rules – the perfect time to post, how often you should post per day, etc. But the secret to business that nobody wants to admit is that there isn’t perfect anything. There are legitimately proven methods, but they may not work for you or might not be a good match for what you want to accomplish in your business. And the best thing you can do for your business – whether it’s marketing, workflow, management – is to try those methods and then evaluate them. Failure isn’t always a failure. It helps you to modify, adjust and can bring you closer to finding the right answer to your unique problem.

Are You And Your Business Drifting Apart?

Do you ever feel like you and your business are drifting in different directions? Like you had this amazing vision for helping people, but somewhere along the line it turned into a low-paying, high-stress nightmare?

You don’t need to give up on your dream, you just need to fall back in love with your business. How can you do that? By finding balance.

It can be hard juggling a business, family and personal interests, but it can be done by making little tweaks to your habits and daily behavior. Some of these changes may be hard, some may be easy to start with, but all will help to get you back on track and help you fall back in love with your business.

Wake Up Early

I know this can be a tough one especially for pet professionals who have the flexibility to make their own schedule. But by pushing yourself to get out of bed 60 minute earlier means you’re finding an extra 60 minutes in your busy schedule. If you’re an excessive alarm snoozer, consider downloading a smartphone app that has a 3 snooze maximum.

Watch Your Time

There are a lot of pet professionals who left the boring 9 to 5 job to get away from timeclocks and timesheets. But by keeping track of your time you can see how time consuming projects are and if any of your daily tasks should be outsourced.


For example, you might hate doing your bookkeeping. And after tracking how long you spend bookkeeping each week you find you spend tons of hours on it per week. This is an important task, but since it’s eating up so much of your time you might want to think about outsourcing it to someone who can do it better and faster. If you’re concerned with the cost of bringing on another person, compare your time spent to the time you’ll save. How much is 1 hour of your time in terms of dollars?

Take It One Thing At A Time

As a busy pet professional you have 59 things to do at any point in time. But let’s be honest, if it was possible for you to do all those 59 things at once you’d already have them done. Trying to do all those things at once is going to break up your concentration, stress you out, and without getting anything completely finished. Instead take 1 project that’s been sitting on your to do list and work through it from start to finish. Putting all your energy into getting that one thing done, will help you to focus making it much easier to get motivated and get moving.

Create Focus, Create Clarity

We live in a world full of distractions, and it’s a serious chore to stay on focused. But it’s a learned behavior, much like a muscle that needs to be worked out everyday to stay strong. Each time you sit down to do a task make sure your phone is out of sight, your email is turned off and you have a quiet place to get things done. Create a ritual for getting things done and you can make productivity a habit instead of a headache.

Carry A Notebook

Do you have ideas, to-dos and other random thoughts constantly floating around your head? Then you need a notebook! Not only is this a great way to stay on top of time tracking, but by carrying a notebook you’re helping to ensure ideas never get lost again. Even the small, simple reporter’s notebooks are perfect for jotting things down and can be easily stored in your back pocket, purse, etc.

Start With A Plan

Whether you’re creating a quick blog post or creating a 2-month social media campaign, there need to be a plan of action. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fancy spreadsheet with graphs and benchmarks for every tiny task. For simple projects, just ask yourself who, what, when, where, why and how. It’s amazing what simply having the right mindset can do for the direction on your next project.

Simplify Your Apps

There are hundreds of calendars and productivity apps available. But every time you bring a new calendar or to-do list into your life, you’re just adding one more thing to your already busy life. I personally am a huge fan of to-do lists because they help to lay out all the steps of the process in a visual format. But here’s the catch – if you’re going to have multiple calendars or other productivity tools they all need to be coordinated to stay the same things. Having appointments written on some calendars, but not the others, is just asking for things to fall through the cracks.

Be Realistic

You can’t do everything. Motivation and a great attitude can not create 30-hour days or convince people to work for free. Sometimes you’re going to have to say “no” to certain projects or come to terms with the fact that you need help, and that’s okay. Celebrate your achievements and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach your goals. You deserve it!

8 Types of Toxic People You Should Avoid

Isn’t it wonderful to find the perfect employee? That person who stays with you for years, does an amazing job every day and who respects and values your business?

Unfortunately for pet professionals everywhere for each one perfect employee you find, you’ll unearth 20 nightmare employees. These are the people who don’t respect you, are just skating through until they find their “real job” and create drama around every corner. These types of people are toxic. They will poison your work environment, other employees and ultimately your business.

Not every employee causing a rift may be toxic. They may be going through a difficult time, or be creating problems without even realizing it. Toxic people on the other hand, are problematic to their core. They have selfish motives and are only thinking of themselves in the long run. Here are 8 of the most problematic toxic personalities and the traits you should look out for in your next interview.

Negative Nigel

Not matter what happens this person always has something to complain about. These types of people are always sassy, angry, resentful and untrusting, even when things seem to be going their way. These people are impossible to please, and unfortunately their negativity is highly contagious. Their negativity can spread to their leaders, fellow employees, clients, vendors and anyone else who comes in contact with them.

1-Upper Olivia

There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition among employees. It can help to make mundane activities fun, and keep employees motivated during dry spells. That is unless you have a 1-upper. They always have something better, nicer, newer, more of it, and they let other employees know. They are nearly incapable of smiling and saying good job to a fellow employee. They have to gloat about what they have, give a backwards compliment and put down the accomplishments of others.

Pot Stirring Peter

This is the person who likes to create drama, then sit back and watch everything unfold as a seemingly innocent bystander. Their weapon of choice – office gossip. They may hear something personal about an employee and instead of forgetting what they heard, they actively seek out ways to use that information to create drama. More often than not these types of toxic people feel they’re not to blame for conflicts, but don’t buy it!

Renegade Rosie

These are the people who refuse to follow the rules. They either don’t like them or they’re just too hard-headed to go along with them. Regardless of why they choose not to follow the rules, these types of toxic people can create dangerous situations such as not following safety protocol, but they can also create internal rifts in your company and cause tension. If a renegade doesn’t have to follow the rules, what’s stopping other employees from not following the rules as well? What makes the renegade so special that they can undermine the rules?

Arrogant Arnold

Employee confidence can make your business flourish in amazing ways. Employee arrogance can make you resent your business and want to go back to grad school. Arrogant people feel they’re superior to others. Confident people support and celebrate group success and the success of others. Arrogant people become envious, or disregard those achievements because it upsets their ego.

Judgemental Jorge

As humans we pass judgement on others, even when we know it’s wrong. But this type of toxic person takes it to a whole other level. They’re always the first to jump to conclusions and rarely wait to gather all the information or give anyone the benefit of the doubt. These types of people are incredibly stubborn, tend to be poor listeners and usually unwilling to try and change their ways.

Controlling Carolina

This type of toxic person doesn’t care about your learning style, customer feedback or new ideas. They only care about doing things the right way, the only way, their way. Even when the boss says the task can be dealt with however it makes sense, this toxic person will swoop in and tell other employees how they’re doing it wrong, again. Controlling people sometimes have good intentions, but more often than not, it’s just a way to disguise their need for power over others.

Buck Passing Bernie

No matter what happens, it’s never this toxic person’s fault. If they missed an appointment or slipped up, they’ll somehow figure out a way that it isn’t their fault instead of just taking responsibility. Even the smallest, whoopsie-daisy moments lead to some lame excuse. It may be ego, it may be attention seeking, but whatever their motives are – this attitude can be extremely detrimental to your business.