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You May Not Realize It, But These 6 Small Habits Can Block Your Way To Success

You May Not Realize It, But These 6 Small Habits Can Block Your Way To Success

There’s a historian by the name of Will Durant who summarized an idea of Aristotle’s as, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” With that being said, often times your habits determine your success—or form road blocks. If you can find a way to rise above habits that are hindering your success, you will find that you will be able to reach the potential you’ve always had.

These six self-destructive habits are a good place to start making some changes:

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1. Checking your phone during a conversation

Think about the last time you were having a conversation with someone and they picked up their phone to check a text message or glance over when a notification popped up. It’s a really big turn off when you feel you aren’t being listened to. And it’s likely that while distracted, you’re probably missing some important information. When you’re having a conversation, focus all your attention on the conversation. By putting your phone away, you will find that the conversations you have will be more enjoyable when you fully immerse yourself in them.

It’s an out of sight, out of mind type of thing. If you can’t see it, there’s a good possibility that you’ll forget all about it for the time being. By doing this, you’ll find that the conversations you have will be more enjoyable when you fully immerse yourself in them.

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2. Dwelling on failures from your past

When you mess up it’s hard to not be really critical of yourself. You get those feelings of hating yourself, not feeling good enough, inadequate, etc. It’s normal to feel like that from time to time, but it won’t do you any good to provoke self-hatred by continuously dwelling on those mistakes. Try to train your mind to look at your mistake(s) as an opportunity to walk away with a lesson rather than beating yourself up and swimming in negative thoughts about yourself.

Instead of dwelling, start asking yourself questions about what led you to make the decision you made. It’s beneficial to adopt the habit of asking yourself questions about your failure rather than dwelling on the failure itself.

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3. Keeping relationships with toxic people

Toxic people tend to make their mark in our lives and manage to stay there. It doesn’t matter where you work, there’s always going to be someone that just really gets under your skin. You may find that your skin cringes with even the thought of this person. By letting this person influence you to the point where it affects your performance and mood at work, you’re hindering your success. When you feel these thoughts flooding into your mind, replace them with thinking about how grateful you are for someone else in your life. It doesn’t do you any good to think about the people who don’t matter when there are plenty of people out there who deserve your attention.

4. Comparing yourself to others

Not doing this can be really hard, I know. You may find yourself doing it sometimes without even realizing it. You lose control over your happiness when you compare yourself to those around you. When you’ve accomplished something that makes you feel good and satisfied, don’t allow another person’s opinion and/or their accomplishments take away those good feelings you have. It’s nearly impossible to not let what others think of you get into your head, but over time you can learn to quickly remove that negativity and keep moving forward.

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During these times, it’s important to remind yourself that your self-worth is something that comes from the inside. Keep this in mind—you’re never as bad as someone says you are.

5. Gossiping

They’re everywhere, you can’t escape them. People who love to gossip get a ‘high’ from other people’s short-comings and failures. It may seem tempting at first to engage with others and talk about someone else’s personal/professional life, but after awhile you’ll start to realize that you feel really awful about hurting other people. Instead of doing that, pay attention and talk about the positive things going on around you. People are very interesting, and there is so much you can learn from them. Have you ever noticed that a person who compulsively gossips is rarely happy with their own life? Remember that.

6. Being distracted by notification pop-ups

It’s very hard to stay focused every time a notification pops up on your phone or email. Each time your phone or computer makes a noise, it grabs your attention and causes your productivity to drop. Getting notifications multiple times throughout your day may make you feel like you’re being productive, but that’s far from the truth. Every time you get distracted, it’s taking your attention away from the things that need to be done. A task that should take you only a few hours can easily turn into an all-day affair if you’re not mindful of how distracting it can be.

To eliminate this, turn off your pop-up notifications while you’re working. Set certain times during the day when you check your phone and email. For example, when you get to work in the morning, when you take your lunch break, and then again right before you head out to go home for the day. You’ll start to realize how much more productive you are this way.

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Erica Wagner

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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