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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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Published on January 16, 2019

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

  • Are you a great strategist?
  • Are you an effective planner?
  • Is Project Management your strength?
  • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
  • Are you the ideas person?
  • Is Implementation your strength?

Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

4. Take Time for Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

You can take the time to think about:

  • What’s the purpose of the project?
  • How Important is it?
  • When does it need to be delivered by?
  • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
  • What are the KPIs?
  • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
  • Who is working on this project?
  • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
  • What tolerances can I add in?
  • What are the review stages?
  • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

5. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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    The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

    If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

    If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

    6. Take Time Out

    To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

    If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

    Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

    In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

    Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

    Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

    I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

    Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

    If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

    8. Stop Multitasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

    So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

    When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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    If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

    9. Work in Blocks of Time

    To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

    I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

    Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

    Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

    Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

    Then take another 10-minute break.

    Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

    By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

    10. Get Rid of Distractions

    Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

    “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

    Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

    If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

    11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

    You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

    Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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    Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

    12. Take a Time Audit

    Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

    Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

    You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

    Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

    Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

    At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

    If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

    13. Protect Your Confidence

    It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

    When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

    Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

    When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

    Final Words

    A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

    The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

    If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

    Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

    Reference

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