For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to improve my productivity. Instead of keeping myself busy with meaningless tasks, I’m trying to actually be productive. Naturally, I couldn’t help but click on a recent Business Insider story that lists out the bad habits that make people unproductive. “Being more productive is about working smarter, not harder, and making the most of each day,” writes Rachel Gillett. “While this is no easy feat, getting more done in less time is a much more attainable goal if you're not sabotaging yourself with bad habits.” Here are 10 bad habits you should stop doing now.
- Impulsive web browsing. I literally just wasted a half an hour browsing handbags (that I can’t afford!) on Net-a-Porter, so clearly I am a victim of this bad habit. I couldn’t agree with Gillett more and am going to try and stop myself from spending hours searching for the perfect French onion soup recipe.
- Multitasking. Scientific research has found that only two percent of the population are effective multitaskers. The majority of people are bad at it. Multitasking also decreases our attention span and ability to focus on the job at hand.
- Checking email throughout the day. Close your email tabs or quit the email app when you’re trying to work. Constantly checking your email causes one to lose work time and even makes people dumber.
- Putting off your most important work until later in the day. Complete your hardest tasks first thing in the day.
- Taking too many meetings. When I worked in an office, I despised meetings. Most of the time the topics of discussion had nothing to do with my work and were a waste of time. Only accept a meeting if the person who requested it has a clear agenda and states up front how much time they will take.
- Sitting all day. If you have to have a meeting, don’t do it in the office. Hold a meeting while you take a brisk walk around the block. Fresh air causes fresh thinking.
- Hitting the snooze button. Nine more minutes of sleep isn’t going to make you feel that much more rested!
- Failing to prioritize. “Some people think having lots of goals is the best way to ensure success—if one idea fails, at least there are plenty more in reserve to turn to.” Gillett says. “Unfortunately, this sort of wavering can be extremely unproductive.” Prioritize your goals and then do your best to achieve them.
- Over-planning. Things don’t always go as planned, so don’t over schedule your day. Be flexible.
- Perfectionism. Nobody is perfect; stop trying to be!
Learn more about this subject by pre-ordering the book, The Productivity Project.
What bad habits are keeping you from being productive? Sound off in the comments below!