If you are someone who finds themselves easily distracted, chronically late on deadlines, or unable to stay focused on your work for very long, you may have some bad habits that are hurting your productivity.
Jobs make it hard enough to be productive with endless meetings, reporting requirements, reminders, and other distractions, so using what time you do have productively is crucial. Learning which of your habits are contributing and killing your productivity can help you get more done, feel more satisfied with your work, and stay focused throughout your day.
Here are the five top productivity killers and what you can do to change these bad habits.
These are easily the worst when it comes to affecting your productivity. Distractions can include everything from off-topic web browsing, social media, texting, talking to friends and co-workers, TV, digital notifications… pretty much anything that diverts your attention from what you should be doing. While it is hard to control all the distractions in our lives, especially those in the office, there are many that we can control, so it’s time to change your habits.
Start by installing a site blocker on your computer. You can program it to block specific sites from your access during particular hours. Figure out where you are wasting your time the most and block those sites during your work hours. Remove the temptation, and it will soon disappear.
Next, turn off your notifications. Just do it. Computer, phone, tablet… all of it.
If you need to, unplug your TV, video games, or whatever other devices are your worst distractions. Find a space that is as distraction-free as possible for work.
You may also need to change locations periodically to remain focused.
Multitasking is another common problem that leads to severe issues with productivity. It turns out, doing more things at the same time does not make you more productive. In fact, it decreases the quality of your work while making you more stressed and less focused. Instead of doing one thing well, you are trying to do many things and end up getting distracted or losing a sense of accomplishment.
Multitasking is more about how well you switch from one task to another, and it turns out, most of us are pretty terrible at that. Changing tasks drains you mentally, and you wind up spending more time figuring out what you are doing than actually getting anything done.
The solution? Focus on one thing at a time and stick with it until it is completed. No matter how much you want to, don’t switch tasks. Over time, you’ll build up stamina for completing plans.
3. Lack of Routine
Routine is one way to stay productive and focused. If you work whenever you want and don’t have a routine, chances are you have a hard time getting into a groove and staying productive for very long.
That’s because the human brain craves order. Routines are what tell your mind, “Hey, it’s time to work.” Without them, your brain is always wanting to stop working.
To combat this, work at the same time and place every day. You’ll soon start to notice you’re able to get into the work zone more easily, and accomplish more each day.
When you have unrealistically high standards or are unable to move on when things are not to your exact specifications, you might be a perfectionist. While having high standards is good, making them too high makes it hard to complete anything. Perfectionism leads to the inability to stay on schedule and often leads to your brain deciding it’s not worth it to continue because you’ll never get it just right. Both of these zap your productivity.
To remedy this, you need to focus on finished instead of perfect work.
Make your goal to complete as many tasks as possible in a single day without worrying about how perfect each is. Over time, you’ll start to appreciate that good work is just as preferred to perfect work, and you are able to make more progress.
5. Never Saying “No”
Agreeing to everything that is asked of you is a real time suck. You end up doing a whole bunch of stuff for other people, leaving little time for your own work or priorities. Learning to say “no” is a great way to become more productive and less stressed.
Learning new habits can help you be more productive and get rid of the distractions that are impeding your work. Just by changing these five habits, you’ll quickly start to see more and better work from yourself, along with less stress.