These 12 Habits Are Killing Your Productivity

Your productivity may be suffering and you may not even know it. It’s about time you paid attention to the habits that could be hindering your progress.

(Photo: Vadim Sherbakov/Unsplash)
(Photo: Vadim Sherbakov/Unsplash)

Habits define our lives. To live a balanced, productive life and engage in a long-term, satisfying career, ridding yourself of your unproductive habits is an important investment.

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Are you noticing that you’ve been really busy this year…but haven’t really accomplished most things you set out to do at the beginning of the year?

It’s easier to keep going than to take a minute to reflect, plan, and to really look at what needs to change for you to create your version of a productive week, month or year.

Your productivity may be suffering and you may not even know it. It’s about time you paid attention to the habits that could be hindering your progress. These twelve habits are literally killing your productivity.

1. Multi-tasking

Stop multi-tasking, seriously stop. Of all the bad habits, multitasking is among the worst and most common. Multi-tasking does not necessarily make you more productive as you may think. You can actually achieve more in less time when you single task and focus on getting one thing done well.

It takes about 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully return to a task after interruption, according to Gloria Mark, Professor at UC Irvine, in Fast Company. So you may be wasting a lot more time than you think.

More is not necessarily better. In fact, in many cases the quality beats the quantity.

Focusing on the things that bring the biggest rewards or achievement is a great strategy.

2. Working from your inbox

How many times have you checked your email today? Too many of us spend most of our day in our inbox: reading and answering emails instead of getting real work done. The more emails you send, the more you seem to get. Set boundaries by checking email only only for a particular number of times and stick to that.

3. Not delegating

Trying to do everything hurts you and your business. You don’t have do everything yourself, get help and outsource if you can and concentrate on what you are good at doing in the day.

4. Not knowing how to say “No”

As Warren Buffett put it, “You can’t let other people set your agenda in life.” Saying “no” means you have time to focus on your own needs, rather than constantly serving other people.

5. Not tracking results

Use an app, there are hundreds of productivity apps out there to keep track of what you’re doing each day. These products help you identify areas where you’re not at your most efficient and make changes.

6. Working for too long…without breaks

Sometimes you just need a break. Listen to your body and allow yourself to recover from tiredness. You can only focus on tasks for a certain amount of time.(said to be a maximum of 90 minutes). Split your tasks into small chunks and take (10–15 minute) breaks in between.

7. Working without routines

A work routine is essential to getting your mind into productive gear. Without one, you will always be wasting time on getting started when you should be doing actual work.

8. Filling to-do list with too many tasks

Don’t be overzealous and fill your to-do list with dozens or more tasks. You will most likely be unable to complete them all by close of the working day and you will be depressed and think you are not being productive enough. And once the overwhelm felling starts to kick in, you’re in for some trouble: stress is just one of them.

9. Your super connected habit

If you can be reached via smartphone, email, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you’re way too available and all these outlets are possible connections that can distract you from your purpose. Disconnect and watch as your productivity sores.

Your smartphone might be the biggest productivity killer of all time. Most people just can’t put the phone away. If your phone is connected online, the temptation to stay updated about almost everything is very high. If you can, put down that phone (or power it off) for a while when in the office and witness the effect that can have on your level of productivity.

10. The news reading habit

Reserve time slot for reading or watching news. Use critical mind set and think what you see. Use quality media. Stop clicking headlines and reading short news — read quality news articles instead or even blogs of experts you have chosen.

11. Your indecision

The usual problem is that people have long to-do lists, but no idea what they intend to tackle after that extensive meeting. Prioritise on what needs to be accomplished for the day and get to it as soon as possible.

12. Reinventing the wheel

There is always a better and smarter way to get most tasks done. Don’t reinvent the wheel.Time is the most important resource you shoudn’t be wasting. Find out what works and stick to it. Save time.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” —Charles Darwin

Thomas Oppong is the founder at Alltopstartups (where he shares resources for startups and entrepreneurs) and the curator at Postanly (a free weekly newsletter that delivers the most insightful long-form posts from top publishers).

These 12 Habits Are Killing Your Productivity