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10 Habits You Need To Give Up If You Want To Be Productive

10 Habits You Need To Give Up If You Want To Be Productive

When we are productive, we efficiently finish various tasks and achieve better results. However, there are many bad habits that are killing our productivity, yet we don’t recognize them at all. In order to improve your productivity, you have to give up these 10 bad habits.

1. Watching TV before going to bed

After a busy working day, everyone tends to sit in front of the TV, then move to the bedroom and continue watching TV. Many people think it relaxes them. However, it just makes them more tired. Sometimes, you don’t even realize how much time has passed when watching TV shows, and you end up falling asleep very late at night instead of falling asleep immediately. Get the TV out of your bedroom and soon you’ll notice that you sleep better and longer, and you feel fresh when you wake up. Moreover, being positive and fresh in the morning will certainly boost your productivity at work. Instead of watching TV shows, use the time before you fall asleep to evaluate your day and have intimate conversation with your partner. You can also focus on self-improvement by signing up to an online college where you can improve yourself and learn how to become more productive and efficient in your field of work. Turn off TV, bring education and intimacy in your home.

2. Spending a lot of time on social networks

Social networks are great for staying in touch with family and friends. However, when chatting, posting, sharing, and looking at various funny photos, we lose the sense of time and waste hours just scrolling through pages. Usually, before we fall asleep, we decide to check if there is something new in the news feed and end up falling asleep very late at night. You then feel tired in the morning and incapable of doing anything that demands focus and hard work.

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Also, while working, we get interrupted all the time by the notifications that someone posted something or commented on our status update. You look at the notification and, instead of working, you get lost in the world of social networks. You become less focused on work and less productive. When at work, turn off the notifications and don’t log in. Instead of spending your free time on social networks, if you have something to share and want to do something productive you can learn how you can create a blog and escape your daily routine, while providing entertainment and information to others at the same time.

3. Not working out

People neglect physical activity because of their busy schedules, but let’s face it – we all have 20 minutes per day to spend working out. Before you go to work or when you get back, you can go hiking or jogging for 20 minutes. It is not much, but your body and mind will definitely benefit from it. If there is no place for jogging around your home, you can do simple exercises in your living room. If you have more time, you can take some yoga classes, which will help you not only to be physically active and fit, but also to become more productive and focused. When working out, you won’t feel any back pain caused by stress and sitting all day. You will definitely feel better and healthier, which will contribute to being more productive during the whole day.

4. Multitasking

We are all proud when we say that we are multitasking, and some even consider it a necessary skill of successful people. However, it is not a virtue and is slowly killing your productivity. When you multitask, you may be concentrated and focused, but that doesn’t mean that you are focused on every task equally. Moreover, not every task will be finished on time, and the results won’t be so good.

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Getting fully focused on one task at a time will certainly bring you better results, because you will be able to perform them without distractions. If you are used to multitasking, try organizing yourself and doing one task at a time, and then compare the results. You might be surprised.

5. Striving for perfection

A person who is dedicated to their work always strives for perfection. However, some people are never satisfied with their work, which leaves them with unfinished work and a lot of stress. When striving for perfection, you may start over-analyzing things and focusing on tiny details. Being detail-oriented is a virtue, but if you are paying attention to every little detail, you are losing a lot of time on unimportant little tasks. In this way, your productivity decreases and you become exhausted. Put effort into the task and be detail-oriented, but don’t waste time, talent, and effort on the things that don’t affect the outcome of the task.

6. Going with the flow

Spontaneity should be present in our lives and not everything should be predictable. But when it comes to work management, we should organize our time well. When you are going with the flow, the work just keeps piling up. A chaotic schedule can lead only to decreased productivity, which usually results in failure.

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Learn how to organize your time and make a good working plan in order to improve productivity and the chances of success. Moreover, the key to success and being productive is to determine both short-term and long-term goals.

7. Trying to be productive during the whole day

It is impossible to be productive and focused all day. The times when someone will be productive depend on the individual. Some people are productive in the morning, some in the afternoon and some are night owls. Find out when you are most productive and organize your schedule accordingly.

8. Doing every task by yourself

Many people think that they can save a lot of money by doing everything themselves, but they are wrong. They are losing money and time: instead of working on demanding tasks, they get lost in doing unimportant things that only waste their time. Smaller tasks should be outsourced, since there is no need for you to put effort into completing them. Outsourcing will pay off, and you will be able to finish important tasks successfully and on time.

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9. Giving yourself more time to finish some tasks

Since we all want to complete some tasks successfully, we tend to postpone finishing them, because we need some time to think about how to get the best results. This always leads to procrastination, which leads to decreased productivity. If you want to be productive, you should trust your instincts, talent, and knowledge, and don’t question your success. Don’t let your virtue, to achieve the best possible results, destroy you.

10. Being negative and stressed out all the time

Learn how to deal with stressful situations, because they are negatively affecting your health, mood, and productivity. Negative feelings evoke the unwillingness to perform certain tasks, and you end up doing them unsuccessfully. The recipe is simple – just be happy. Avoid stressful situations and learn how to cope with them. Find a way to get rid of negative emotions and stress and gain some positive energy. When you are happy, you can do everything with little effort. You will notice that you don’t get exhausted after every task. Behind every successful job stands happiness and a positive attitude.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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