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10 Statements That Kill Your Productivity

10 Statements That Kill Your Productivity
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Productivity is usually associated to the amount of useful work done, targets accomplished and goals achieved. But in this world of distractions, where a million things are competing for each second of your attention, the focus span is reducing and getting some actual work done is increasingly becoming a battle against time. Things could be better though if we knew beforehand about these little monster killers of our time and energy, and the answer to the million dollar question we often ask ourselves; ”where did the day go?”

Here’s a list of 10 statements that account for poor productivity in our daily life:

1. I can’t do this now! 

Some people spend the whole day jumping from one mail to the other and finishing one task to start the next and still at the end of the day when they take stock of the work done, they realize they haven’t achieved much of what they set out to. It’s because they are exercising, what I like to call, second degree procrastination, the one in which you pass on the most important tasks of the day to do some other light work either because your main work is too complex or time consuming. They beat the bush playing around small tasks and answering simple e-mails which do not require much focus or work.

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2. I can finish all of this at once!

Much as we would like to, aren’t physically and mentally built to handle too many things at a time. Doing so results in lack of focused work, mistakes, forgetting things and anxiety. It is important to stick to what you are doing and take it to the finish before you pick something else up.

3. Got a lot to do, no breaks today!

Taking a break is not necessarily a waste of time or a time to chit chat and make unnecessary conversations On the contrary, taking healthy breaks and making for some no-work zones in your every day schedule allows you the breathing space to relax, rejuvenate and take stock of your projects progress and your own performance.

4. No schedules for me, I am flexible!

Some people believe that restricting their work in schedules and binding it in to-do lists are an impediment that does not allows them to do a lot. In reality, your mind is great at executing patterns and following routines. Organizing your days work in a sequence, defining boundaries to obstruct unnecessary tasks and establishing a structure around your work can greatly improve your efficiency.

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5. It’s all in my mind, I remember everything!

If you are used to going around with a mind that is full of ideas, thoughts and to-do lists, you are less likely to focus on the task at hand. Do a brain drain and write down everything on paper or just email a list to yourself. Work light headed!

6. It’s just a little time on the net!

OfficeTime.net conducted a survey of over 600 small business owners, freelancers and professionals and found out that an average person spends at least two hours per day surfing the Internet. That’s a lot of time! A little Facebook, twitter here, a little YouTube, Amazon there can eventually all add up.

Define boundaries around your work, deter those interruptions, put the phone on silence, turn off those notifications and block the sites that consume your precious minutes.

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7. I will complete all the major work today!

Trying to execute tasks throughout the day can be counterproductive as we do not have the same energy levels all through the day. This requires understanding your body and the hours you feel energized maximum. It is advisable to deal with complex tasks when you have your energy at the highest, and when the energy is waning away, is the time we should assign for work that does not require too much mental effort or is light work.

8. I believe in finishing- as- you- go!

Such impulsive workers take up impromptu meetings, leave the work at hand to cater to phone calls and respond to mails and texts during meetings. In short, they pick up any form of unscheduled work, taking up tasks at random without really assigning any priority to them on a first come, first serve basis. This is a major enemy that can affect your performance.

Control that impulse, assign priorities and start with finishing what is critical and needs to be finished before EOD.

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9. I will skip that Lunch/breakfast!

Feeling overwhelmed with meetings, emails and phone calls…..presentation lined up back to back, no time for food today please!

If you find yourself allowing for such mini hunger strikes on a busy day, it can backfire and you can end up making mistakes and losing focus. Your body needs both food and rest to perform at its best. A lack of any of the two can result in decreased energy and even sickness.

10. I can do that, No problem!

If you accept everything that comes your way then you are more likely to put up a bad show. It can be difficult for some people to exercise “NO” and they end up having too much on their plate. Everyone around you is happy but now you are stuck with more work and less time. Not a very appealing situation to be in!

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Know your limits, learn to turn down irrelevant commitments, let go of all that is unnecessary, freeing up more time for what’s important.

Avoid these productivity killers to get more done with less efforts and lesser stress.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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