Advertising
Advertising

7 Super Unproductive Habits Most People Have

7 Super Unproductive Habits Most People Have

We all have those moments when our brain simply refuses to work, but more often than not the lack of productivity can be closely associated to a number of poor lifestyle choices, which can be changed with a bit of effort. These 7 habits are decreasing our productivity level without us even realizing it. Go through these points to find out if you have adopted some of them, and how to effectively remedy the situation.

1. Desktop madness

If your job requires the use of a computer, you need to keep it organized in order to avoid situations where you cannot find a certain document or a folder. We all tend to name our folders different names that aren’t really related to the content inside them, and we sometimes end up naming folders random letters in a hurry – “jdakdndji,” sound familiar? You have definitely done this before while thinking – “I’ll get back to that later,” and you have never changed it. As the works piles up, the folders pile up on your desktop, which makes you waste your time on finding the one you need.

Everyone thinks: “This is my organized chaos, and I know where to find all the things I need.” However, what happens is that you aren’t aware of the negative impact of this chaos. When you start this desktop madness, you start getting used to it, which reflects on the other tasks you perform. Moreover, the fact that you decided to come back to that task, and never did, shows that you are prone to procrastinating. In order to fight this bad habit, you need to start from smaller tasks. Also, you’ll feel much better when you have your working tools organized, which will subconsciously influence your productivity level. This happens because you create a strong work drive, which makes you organize all the other work, and you feel eager to finish all the tasks.

People forget about all the junk in their computer, which decreases its performance. Having constant issues with your software such as malware, interrupts your working process, which leads to having your project cut down into lots of small pieces. This makes you feel stressed out and you lose your focus, so try to keep your PC fairly well organized and protected – there are simple tools that you can use to clean up your computer efficiently – which will enable you to speed up performance and keep it safe.

Advertising

2. Searching all the time for the best songs

Before you start working, you start searching for the right music to keep you on track and motivated. In fact, music can really help us focus and work without feeling stressed out or anxious. However, what happens in most cases, is that we spend hours searching for the right playlist, which is a waste of time. Moreover, when you play a certain playlist, there is always at least one song that you’ll want to change. Then you see other songs and start skipping all of them, and then it’s back to the beginning – you start searching for another playlist. This is something we all do and it makes us unproductive during working hours, as we lose focus easily and need more time to get back to work.

Also, many songs which you love can distract you from the tasks because you are listening to the lyrics. Therefore, if you need to have some music playing, include some jazz or classical music in your playlist, instead of catchy pop songs. These genres will keep you focused and productive during the entire day. Try it out and compare your performance.

3. Always being easy to reach

Social media has become a huge part of our lives – we are constantly posting photos, updating statuses and chatting with our friends. There are so many ways to reach someone such as Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, Skype, Twitter and Snapchat, and of course regular calls and messages. It wasn’t until I started listing all the ways you can reach someone on their smartphone, that I realized just how many possibilities there are. They are very useful when it comes to communicating with friends and family who live in other cities and countries, sure, but because we are all addicted to technology, we forget when to limit its usage. This is why a lot of people keep getting messages and funny pictures while they’re at work, and this is only making them less productive.

If your work is constantly interrupted by different updates from your friends, it’s no wonder your performance and quality of work suffer. You should plan small breaks when you will allow yourself to check your private e-mail, inbox and all your social media pages. However, be careful not to get lost in the virtual world, as hours can pass without you noticing it. In fact, it is perfectly normal to always be there for your colleagues, but constant questions and favors can distract you from your work, and you’ll lose your focus. Because of that, you need to learn to say no, and offer to help only when you are truly free, except for urgent situations.

Advertising

Let’s play a game – turn off your personal smartphone when at work, and turn only the business one. If someone needs you urgently, they’ll definitely call you on your business number. Try this for a week, and compare results.

4. Bad posture while sitting at the desk

Having a bad posture when sitting and standing can decrease your productivity, as you are constantly bothered by the pain caused by slouching. If you are experiencing chronic back pain and headaches, then you probably have bad posture. It affects your overall appearance, as well as your health, but it also has a huge negative impact on your productivity. When sitting improperly your body gets tired and you start to feel pain in some parts of your body such as the back, neck, and shoulders. This leads to you feeling stressed, which in turn affects your overall mood and concentration.

The more your body feels tired, the more your mind refuses to focus. To avoid adopting a bad posture when sitting you need to have a comfortable chair and a foot rest, which will help in supporting your back. Moreover, you should pay attention not only to the chair and height of the table, but also the position of your whole body.

Bad posture is usually caused by not exercising, which is of great importance if you lead a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Working out will improve your posture, and also improve your productivity because you will feel more energized and confident.

Advertising

If you really have problems when trying to focus on a task, you should take up some yoga classes as the exercises are meant to improve your concentration and make your body flexible. Put your smartphone to better use by tracking the number of steps you take each day or the distance that you’ve ran. If you are competitive, this will make your running and walking an interesting game. No matter how busy your schedule is, you can always find 10-20 minutes to exercise, which will improve your overall health and increase your productivity levels.

5. Wearing smart, but uncomfortable clothes

Everyone wants to look good and fashionable at work, especially if in contact with clients and business partners. However, the fashion industry comes up with some clothes that are uncomfortable when worn for hours on end, because they don’t allow you to move freely. That pretty new dress or sleek suit can look really good on you, but if it makes you feel uncomfortable and is only causing difficulties when sitting, then you might consider purchasing something else. This doesn’t mean you should go to work in your sweatpants, but just buy clothes that are both trendy and comfortable.

Sitting for 8 hours in an office while wearing tight and uncomfortable clothes can make you nervous and distracted. So, if you thought that clothes don’t have any influence on your work, you were wrong. Moreover, when you are wearing something that you feel good and attractive in, you will certainly be more productive.

6. Working from home

If there is a deadline or you didn’t manage to finish all of your tasks during the working hours, people have a tendency to work from home in order to finish everything on time. But, is it really helping? Are you really improving your productivity and the quality of your work? When working longer hours or from home, you are losing the time which should be dedicated to your private life. It is impossible to be productive during the entire day.

Advertising

When you push yourself to do more than you comfortably can, you are only tiring yourself out, and you won’t be prepared mentally for the next workday. This causes your productivity levels to decrease with each passing day. Work should be done during the working hours, and after that you need to dedicate time to yourself and your family. If you haven’t finished the task today, you’ll finish it tomorrow – no big deal. Therefore, put your mind to the test and find out when you are most productive.

So, the answer to the question is no, it is not good to bring your work home or work longer hours. Some days you will finish just one task, and some days it will be three tasks. You cannot control your mind, but you can train it and learn to intelligently utilise the hours when your concentration is at its peak.

7. Having breakfast at the office

Not waking up early to drink the first morning coffee and eat breakfast at home is the mistake many people make. In order to sleep more, you can have breakfast at the office. When you come to work you need to be ready and in mood for working, and not still sleepy and grumpy. Also, eating at the office usually means eating fast food and junk food, which isn’t healthy for you, especially if it is your first meal of the day. It is recommended to have a healthy breakfast, because it gives you energy and charges up your brain.

As food has a direct influence on your cognitive performance, you need to eat healthy and regularly – skipping meals will cause poor decision making, as our body needs glucose to keep us focused. Small snacks like beef jerky, chicken salad, bananas or peanuts can help keep the hunger away, but it is always best to stick to organic and free range food options, as they have the most nutrients and are ethically produced.

If you get up earlier, you’ll have time to take the first sip of coffee in your peaceful home and have a healthy breakfast. This will prepare your body and mind for the work challenges and improve your productivity.

More by this author

Katarina Milovanovic

Creative Writer

This Is What Happens When Someone Stops Using Heroin 4 Easy Ways to Avoid Procrastination When Working from Home 6 Unusual Ways in which Going Green Can Enrich Your Life Girl Power: Meet 5 Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs 6 Lifehacks to Make Money Even When You Are Unemployed

Trending in Productivity

1 11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits 2 How Your Attitude Determines Your Success 3 How to Ask for Help When You Need It Most 4 How Much Do You Need to Give Up to Start Over? 5 Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

Advertising

But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

Advertising

The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

Advertising

I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

Advertising

More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

Read Next