4 Habits You Need to Ditch if You Plan on Being Productive Today
Self-awareness is key, so you first need to be aware of the things you do (or don’t do), the toxic impact that they may be having on your life, and where they could be holding you back from accomplishing your goals.
These four habits can absolutely damage productivity, but there’s a clear path on how to break all of them.
- Texting Every Five Minutes
On average, we spend over four hours a day on our phones, which includes 85 texts that we send (for adults under 45). Pretty crazy, right? The reality is, every time you reply, you’re resetting your focus and hindering optimal productivity.
How to Break It: The first step to help text less is to turn off notifications to keep you from being distracted when new ones come in. If you’re too tempted, commit for a specific duration of time (for example, one hour) to not look at your phone—you’ll get used to this over time.
- Saying “Yes”
Saying “yes” certainly has its benefits, especially when presented with an opportunity that’ll show the depth of your capabilities. But this can be an unbelievably slippery slope.
Once you become stretched too thin, you’ll no longer be able to deliver quality work across various projects, and they’ll all begin to suffer. On top of that, while your intentions may have been in the right place, it may prevent future opportunities from coming across your plate.
How to Break It: When presented with a new project, stop and think for a minute before saying “yes.” Consider the short- to long-term impact, and start getting comfortable with saying “no.”
Trust me, your boss will appreciate the fact that you’re being honest, especially if various projects could be negatively impacted.
- Getting By With Being Disorganized
Personally, this has been the bane of my professional existence. Sure, a messy workspace could mean you’re a genius, but if you’re organizationally struggling, it can be damaging to your productivity where you’ll be left playing a perpetual game of “catch up.”
How to Break It: First, you should declutter, physically and digitally. If you’re willing to part with the messy desk, it’ll be a cathartic exercise to actually have a fresh space to work at.
Next, think about how you’re prioritizing and what tools you’re using to monitor all the tasks you have. Regardless of what you use, do some “grooming” and prioritize by those tasks with the highest weight.
- Living Without a Schedule
It’s 9 AM Monday morning, and you’re digging yourself out of the abyss that is your email inbox.But five minutes later, you get pulled into an urgent meeting that ends up lasting two hours while there was a time-sensitive email that you missed. Ever happen? Where there are definitely intangibles that you can’t get away from, taking an extra step to control what you can with a schedule you create will pay long-term dividends (especially for your sanity, too).
How to Break It: Spend 30 minutes on a work night (or Sunday) to plan out your day. Check your email, plan your to-do list, and know exactly where you’re going to allocate your time. Block out 30- to 60-minute time slots on your own calendar to ensure you stay on-schedule and on-task.
With the additional visibility, you can plan ahead fewer surprises, and if something unplanned does happen, you’ll know exactly where you need to pick things back up.