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15 Habits to Avoid to Become Highly Productive

26 May 2021

Who Doesn’t Want to Increase Their Productivity Level? Find Out What Not to Do to Become Highly Productive.

Today we’re going to kick start your highly productive journey and increase your productivity, so let’s not procrastinate and begin with 15 Habits to avoid, to become highly productive.

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Without further ado, let’s move on to the first habit.

1

Avoid Waiting for the “Right” Time

If you’re waiting for all the stars to align to create the optimal environment for you to begin, then you’re never going to begin. You might have heard people say, “there is no “right time” to start a family” and that’s also true when it comes to kicking off a project, making a move or breaking a habit.

Productive people make good with the cards they are dealt and are able to succeed despite any challenges.

 If you want to be highly productive, start now. This IS the right time. That being said, let’s not sit around waiting for the right time, let’s dive into number two…

2

Refrain from Neurotically Checking Your Email

According to Forbes Magazine the average office worker spends 2.5 hours a day sending and receiving emails. That’s an average 200 messages back and forth a day!

Hitting send/receive on your email is the 21st version of clicking your pen. It’s almost a nervous twitch. It’s as if we don’t feel like we’re being productive if we aren’t answering emails.

Unless your job is literally answering emails, you’re probably more productive doing the work you are meant to be doing and rather spend a small amount of time each day checking emails.  

If you’re a lawyer then get to writing depositions, if you’re an architect get wrapped up in grand designs, and if you’re an entrepreneur get working on proposals or business models, or a new invention, but don’t get caught in the trap of letting emails slow you down.

3

Avoid Not Including a “Call to Action” in Your Email Heading

Ever been caught in the equivalent of a wormhole when it comes to emails? The type of conversation that seems to go back and forth endlessly with only vague references of what actually needs doing.

Avoid this by putting the action you need right in the heading of the email, for example: Proposal: requires your approval by Friday or Suggested changes: Please send feedback by Tuesday.

These are super clear, set a time limit and assign responsibility. Try it.

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4

Don’t Skip Making a Prioritized “to Do” List

To do lists are a must, but they shouldn’t just be long list where everything from buying your niece a gift to sending updated reports to the CEO all feature in the same rushed scribble.

Put your list into categories, personal, work, admin, or whatever works for you. Then either write the list in priority from highest to least, or number them after you have jotted everything down.

You might need to write a rough list first, and then write it again in a bit more order, it’s worth it.

5

Avoid Not Giving Each Task a Set Amount of Time

It’s a universal truth that deadlines work. If you want to increase your productivity then don’t let every task have a deadline of anytime in the future.

Set a time limit, or a deadline for yourself. For example, give yourself half a day to research industry competitors for your new business plan, write a summary and move on. Otherwise, you will get sucked into the rabbit hole and only emerge 30 TikTok dances and 20 HuffPo surveys later!

6

Don’t Allow Members of Meetings, Either Online or in Person, to Speak for More Than 2 Minutes

Avoid meeting’s that don’t have someone chairing the points raised. Ahead of time remind everyone attending that they should be aware they only have 2 minutes to raise their point during the meeting.

Generally, we can get our point across in a few sentences, but its easy to let our communication get bloated, repetitive, and just downright verbose when we get handed the mic without limits.

The Success Factory suggests that if you come to a dead end and can’t agree on a certain point, table it and assign it another meeting to come to a conclusion with only those involved. This might seem counter intuitive, but it will keep the current agenda moving along.

7

Avoid Not Taking Breaks

You might think that to be ultra-productive you should just jump on the work train and not get off for hours on end. But putting long hours in doesn’t always mean that you get more done.

According to The Wellbeing Thesis, research in 2017 by Kim, Park and Niu revealed that mini-breaks throughout the day support wellbeing and increase productivity.

8

Refrain from Eating at Your Desk at Lunch – Even If You Work from Home

This one’s harder to shake than you think. But get up and go and eat somewhere your eyes can rest, your stomach can focus on what you’re eating, and your mind can unplug for a bit.

It can feel uncomfortable the first few times. Your eyes kind of want to just glaze over because they’re being forced to look further than a few feet in front of you. But you’ll find you will feel fuller, eat less and be more refreshed for the second part of the day.

A 2016 study by Korpela, Kinnunen, Geurts, de Bloom and Sianoja showed that taking lunchtime breaks and detaching from work, increases levels of energy at work and decreases exhaustion.

9

Refrain from Working in Your PJ’s and Unkempt

Highly successful people are not just into fashion because they can afford it, it’s part of what makes them highly successful and productive. Look sharp, feel sharp. Find yourself in your PJs still at 3 in the afternoon and you’ll not feel like you’ve been highly productive, even if you were.

Cooler showers, the fresh mint from your toothpaste, and a nice clean shirt sets the tone for a productive day and helps increase your productivity, even if it is just at the home office.

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If you are looking for more ways to build mental strength, check out 10 Ways to Build Mental Fortitude

10

Don’t Skip a Time Management App

Time tracking is essential to increase your productivity. It’s too easy to avoid knowing the facts of what your time is really spent on, but the truth is, the first few days you use a time management app, you will probably be horrified at how little “work” you actually do in a work day.

Think of a time management app as a really honest friend, and while the truth can hurt, it’s a h*ll of a lot better than going out in a hideous outfit.

Stay focussed and remove bottlenecks in your workflow with an app like Clockify, or Nutcache or Time Doctor if you work in a larger team. There are endless options but get a good one that suits your industry and don’t be afraid to invest some budget in it, you will reap the rewards.

For more great suggestions, watch our video:

11

Refrain from Assuming You Know What Someone Is Saying or Has Emailed

Nothing is more of a waste of time than skimming through an email or document. Unless you’re a trained speed reader, you’re not actually taking it all in, and missing just one word can be the difference of realising you have a task to do, or completely missing the instruction.

There is no wonder that “assumptions are the mother of all eff ups” is the most practical piece of advice you can get. Read, read again and ask questions if something isn’t 100% clear.

Don’t waste your time working on a piece of work if you’re not 100% sure that was what was requested. Afterall, this is real life not middle school “doing your best” won’t cut it, only doing what is required will.

12

Avoid “Multi-Tasking”

Multi-tasking should just be called half-as*ing. Jumping from answering emails, back into research, then a scroll on Instagram, onto a group call and back to research is the equivalent of doing nothing but getting stressed out doing it.

Rather create time slots for checking emails, meetings and calls, billable work and admin, and don’t deny yourself a sliver of time for social media.

13

Don’t Be So Busy All the Time

It’s handy feeling busy, it has us thinking we’re getting stuff done, or making money. But the truth is that being busy doesn’t always mean being productive.  Plus being “busy” to the point of feeling stressed out can cost you money with all the rushed Ubers instead of taking the underground, and delivery food instead of cooking because you’re in a flat spin from being so busy.

Spend a week un-scheduling, and then the next week putting back into your schedule what helps you increase your productivity, joy and relaxation. Leave yourself travel time, wardrobe change time and time to just chill in between responsibilities and activities.

14

Avoid the Quick-Fixes

Quick fixes are like short cuts, before you know it, you’re on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere and you’re 2 hours late. Get the right knowledge, team, or tools to do the job right the first time. Then that will be the only time and you can move onwards and upwards.

This goes for diet and fitness too. It’s a long game of healthy choices.

Make time for what is good for you and stop the stress cycle with a crammed but unproductive schedule. From there you won’t need quick fixes but will be able to have the foresight for long term gains.

15

Habits Take Time to Break…

Many of our bad habits are linked to the stressful lifestyles we live. They help pacify us, for example that nightly glass of wine or 3, smoking or skipping gym and binging on junk food and series.

If you can bring down your stress first, it will make it a lot easier to break the habit.

Then you have to know your cues. If you know that if you go home after work to change for gym there is more chance you skip it, then pack your bag and change at the office and head straight there.

You can replace a bad habit with a good one. For example instead of scrolling the night away on social media because you feel lonely, call a friend to chat for 20 minutes. Afterwards you will feel uplifted from a real connection and probably feel ready to cook or get stuck in on a hobby, or work on your future plans.

According to Time Magazine, one of the most powerful ways of quitting a bad habit is to remind yourself of why you want to stop. Good health, a happier life and productive living is a great place to start.

Question:

What is the worst habit you have that is standing in the way of you and being productive?