10 Habits Which Will Sabotage Your Productivity

We all want to do the best we can in whatever we choose to do. Whether it is at home, in our business or at work, our level of productivity dictates how well we do the things we want to.

It is extremely important to eliminate habits that affect our productivity because these habits can delay the completion of tasks or projects, and may cause us unnecessary stress.

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The idea here is no matter how productive we think we are, there may be things that are slowing down our progress, and may even be causing us not to achieve the things we want to. Chances are these are habits we may not even be aware of and how they could be impacting us. Put simply, these habits are sabotaging our productivity.

Here are 10 habits that will dramatically decrease our productivity and cause us to under-perform either at work, in our business or even when we are doing things at home. If we eliminate these habits, we’ll be able to do things a lot easier and with less effort, and ultimately complete the things we want to, more efficiently.

  1. Starting off the day in a rush. The root cause here is getting up late, which has a flow-on effect in the morning and even the whole day. When we’re rushed, we more likely to try and make up time by either taking shortcuts, skipping meals, speeding while driving in order to get to the office on time. This can leave us feeling flustered, frustrated and can affect our attitude during the day. Therefore it makes sense to either get up earlier or on time, and start off the day in a calm, relaxed manner.
  2. Not having a plan for the day. Most people start off their working day by checking emails, which isn’t an efficient way to start the working day. That can gives us the illusion that we’re busy. That could be true however we already on someone else’s agenda rather than focusing on the things we want to do. The danger of not having a plan is we’ll be more inclined to do whatever comes across our desk or comes to mind. The solution is to use a calendar or a productivity tool to plan out our week and day.
  3. Wasting the morning surfing the internet or checking social media. It is debatable whether we’re more productive in the morning or not, although I tend to believe we are. If we work with the premise that we’re more productive in the morning, then it makes no sense to be wasting valuable time on social media or surfing the internet, unless we’re actually doing some research for a task or project. Use the mornings to work on your highest value activities.
  4. Checking emails every 5 minutes. Email is a wonderful tool but it can be such a productivity killer especially with emails apps being on all our mobile devices. Personally, I have eliminated the email app from my phone so I won’t have the temptation to check it unnecessarily. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to schedule time in our calendar, as part of our daily plan, for checking emails.
  5. Failing to take regular breaks. It has been proven that those who take regular breaks during the course of a day are generally a lot more productive, especially toward the end of the day. One technique I have learned is to apply the 60-60-30 Solution, which suggests that after every two 60-minute period of work, take a 30-minute break to refresh and rejuvenate our energy level. This is a highly effective way to stay productive for longer periods of time.
  6. Having our personal phone on our desk while working. Our phones are such an integral part of our lives now however they can be a major distraction. This is why it makes a lot of sense to schedule time for making phone calls or returning calls, and for checking emails. Schedule your distractions and notice how much of a difference that makes.
  7. Skipping meals. We must energise our bodies with regular meals in order to be at our best. And we must eat the right foods to sustain our energy level and focus throughout the day. Eating smaller meals more regularly is something I find to be much better than having three main meals during the day. The key here is to do what is best for you that will maximise your energy level during the day.
  8. Multitasking. There is a common myth that when we work, we need to be able to multitask. However, the practice of multitasking or task switching, actually decreases our efficiency because our mind is constantly switching from one thing to another without the proper opportunity to focus on one task. The truth is we are way more productive when we focus on one thing at a time.
  9. Leaving things until the last moment. When we leave a task or project until the last minute, we do not harness the power of our mind to be creative and offer multiple solutions. For example, when writing blog posts, I find that if I start a post that day before and revisit it again the next day or day after, I will almost always have better ideas than what I had written previously simply because my mind has had an opportunity to digest the input it was given and come up with the better solutions.
  10. Not asking for help. We don’t know everything and at times, we’ll be unclear or unsure about what to do or how to progress. The longer we try and figure things out ourselves, the higher the chances we’ll get frustrated and slow ourselves down. Therefore, it is advisable to seek assistance if we’re unclear about something or if we don’t know how to do something. A better solution is always available.

If these habits are not eliminated, you will not do the best you know you can, which will affect the quality of work you produce and also influence other people’s perception of how you work. These habits will also slow you down and you’ll end up spending more time on something than you really need to.

Action Step: Start off by eliminating one habit from the list above that you know is affecting your productivity. Once you have taken care of the first habit, move onto the second habit and so on, until you have totally eliminated these habits. Replace your negative habits with positive ones.

Question: Which habit, if eliminated, will give you the biggest productivity benefit? Why?

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  • Jane Ransom

    These are great, Neel! For me, gotta remember to #2 always plan the next day before it starts, and then also #5 to take those breaks…. sooooo important!

    • Neel Raman

      Thanks Jane! Planning my next day the night before was a habit I developed a couple of years ago because it is such a valuable habit to have. I can say it has helped me tremendously especially knowing what to focus on the next day. Yes, keeping taking those breaks too!! 🙂

  • Multi-tasker, guilty as charged!

    • Neel Raman

      Time to eliminate that habit, Catherine!! You will get more done quicker! Just try it!!