10 Things That Are Hurting Your Productivity
Your habits have a big effect on how productive you are.
Getting more out of every day is a sure thing if you have good habits like making routines and staying organized.
On the other hand, habits like multitasking have been shown not to help people get more done.
If you really want to get more done at work, you need to stop doing those things that waste time.
1- Taking on the simple things first.
It can be very tempting to finish all the easy tasks before getting to the hard ones.
This is especially true when you don't want to do that hard job.
You keep moving it down your list of things to do, until it hasn't been touched in days or even weeks.
But it's better for your overall productivity to do the hardest things on your list first thing in the morning.
According to the book The Willpower Instinct, researchers have found that willpower is a limited resource that slowly runs out as the day goes on.
So, when you're more focused in the morning, your brain is much better at handling the hardest tasks.
2- Rushing the morning.
We all have those rushed mornings where we barely have time to brush our teeth before we have to run out the door to get to work on time.
When the rush in the morning becomes a habit, it can hurt your sense of well-being and make you less productive overall.
When you start your day with a busy mind, your brain doesn't have time to relax, reset, and get ready for the day.
Instead, you give it a rush of adrenaline when you wake up, which can make you crash later.
Further reading: 5 Morning Rituals That Will Make Your Day Way Easier
3- Putting the alarm on snooze
You might think that hitting the snooze button in the morning gives you a little more time to sleep before you start your day, but in reality, it does more harm than good.
When you first wake up, your endocrine system starts to release hormones that make you more alert and ready for the day.
By going back to sleep, you're making this process take longer. Plus, nine minutes is not enough time for your body to get the deep, restful sleep it needs.
Many people think they are good at doing more than one thing at once, but scientific research has shown that only 2% of the population can do this well.
For the rest of us, trying to do more than one thing at once is a bad habit that makes us less focused and less productive over time.
Further Reading: How To Stop Multitasking And Become More Focused
5- Putting off until later in the day the most important work you have to do
People usually start their day by doing easy things so they can get going and save the harder tasks for later. This is a bad idea that often keeps people from doing the important work at all.
Researchers have found that people have a certain amount of willpower that goes down as the day goes on. So, it's best to do your hardest and most important tasks first thing in the morning.
Further Reading: 5 Science-Backed Strategies To Overcome Procrastination
6- Not setting priorities
Some people think that having a lot of goals is the best way to make sure you reach them, because if one idea doesn't work, you can always try another.
Unfortunately, this kind of back and forth can be very useless.
Warren Buffett knows just what to do. Buffett asked his personal pilot to make a list of 25 things he wanted to do before he died because he saw that the pilot was not reaching his life goals.
But instead of taking small steps to finish each one, Buffett told the pilot to focus on the five things he thought were most important and forget about the others.
Further Reading: 3 Simple Techniques To Prioritize Your Tasks And Get More Done
Alain de Botton, a British philosopher and author, says on his website, The Book of Life, that fear of not doing a good job is more often the cause of putting things off than being lazy.
"We start working when the fear of not doing anything is greater than the fear of not doing it well. And that can take time," he writes.
The only way to stop putting things off is to give up on being perfect and not worry about details as you move forward. You might be able to get started faster if you act like the task doesn't matter and it's OK to make mistakes.
Further Reading: How To Overcome Perfectionism And Get Your Work Done
8- Sitting at your office the whole day
Many of us are used to sitting all day at work.
People who are a little bit more "hip" choose the standing desk. Even though standing straight up helps, it's still not as good as getting up and moving around.
Instead of spending the whole day sitting (or standing) at your desk, try to get up and move around every 30 to 45 minutes.
This will get your blood moving and help you stay awake and alert all day.
Do you have a conference call or a one-on-one meeting? Instead of meeting in a room, take the meeting for a walk outside to get some fresh air. Your mind and body will be grateful.
Making plans is great. The better you do at something, the more organized and ready you are. Even so, there are times when you can plan too much.
Murphy's Law is something you may have heard of. Well, it means that if something bad can happen, it will.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a plan for everything, but it does mean that things don't always go as planned.
When you plan, all you need to do is set up the basics. Don't try to be perfect, because most of the time it's not worth the extra time or work.
10- Not figuring out your best working hours
We all have times during the day when we work best.
If you want to make the most of your time, you should plan to do your most important tasks at those times.
Let's say you sell things for a living.
You're not really a morning person, and after lunch you tend to feel better.
When you plan your day, you should try to do things like prospecting and email outreach in the morning, and sales calls in the afternoon.
Those calls are what bring home the bacon, so make sure you take them when you're at your best.
At the end of the day, you won't change anything in a day.
You won't be able to kick all of these at the same time, either. Still, it is possible to make small changes every day to get rid of these bad habits and become a more productive and efficient person over time.