Advertising
Advertising

20 Reasons You Will Never Be Productive

20 Reasons You Will Never Be Productive

Chances are you’ve found yourself behind on your deadlines, procrastinating in your work, or just failing to get much accomplished during your day. If you’re anything like me, the desire to be productive is not just a good idea, it’s an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, unless you’re taking deliberate steps to increase your output, you may be sabotaging your own ability to accomplish your goals. Here are twenty reasons why you may be spinning your wheels in the productivity department.

1. You fail to develop productive habits

In the April 2014 edition of Success Magazine, editor Daren Hardy confesses that some of the most productive people are actually lazy. He attributes their ultimate success to their ability to develop and maintain disciplines, routines, and habits that help them accomplish their desired goals. If your daily routines fail to go beyond waking up and brushing your teeth, chances are you’ll never reach your productivity potential.

2. You have no sense of urgency

crossed feet

    Have you ever noticed that the people who seem to get the most accomplished always seem to be in a hurry to get things done? I learned this lesson from Jim Rohn, who said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” No sense of urgency to get something done right now? No problem. Just don’t expect to have a greater desire to do it later.

    3. You relish procrastination

    Speaking of procrastination, this one almost goes without saying. Believe it or not, procrastination itself is not necessarily detrimental. The problem comes when procrastination becomes the expected outcome and, as such, the goal. People who enjoy procrastination more than the satisfaction of an otherwise completed task will not seek to be productive and, hence, never will be.

    Advertising

    4. You don’t have a big enough “Why”

    Simon Sinek, in his bestselling book Start With Why, proposes that if you don’t have a big why–a big enough reason to inspire you to action–you’re essentially at risk of just going through the motions. No risk of productivity there.

    5. You’re too comfortable

    My good friend and motivational coach Eric Thomas tells the story of a young man who asked a guru how to be great. The guru led the young man to a body of water and held the young man’s head under for a significant period of time. “What did you want more than anything when your head was under the water?” “Only to breathe,” answered the young man. The guru replied, “When you want to succeed as badly as you wanted to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” The same principle applies when accomplishing any task. Unless accomplishing that task is as important to you as breathing air when you’re drowning, you’re liable to suffocate in a sea of excuses where productivity is sure to die.

    6. You think that productivity has to do with inborn talents, gifts, intelligence, or resources

    Contrary to popular belief, leaders are not only born, but can, in fact, be made. While these inborn gifts can obviously help in the productivity department, there are tons of templates, tools and apps for those of us that weren’t born with a productivity spoon in our mouths.

    7. You don’t surround yourself with productive people
    Flying Birds

      Jim Rohn has a great metric for assessing your immediate potential. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you’re struggling with productivity, so are the people around you, and you know what they say about birds of a feather flocking together. When you’re serious about upping your productive-game, you’ll find those people that will support you and keep you accountable. Until then, just take a look at your surroundings and you’ll know what to expect from yourself.

      8. You don’t have strong enough goals

      “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” Joe Vitale

      Of course you know that a goal is a desired result or outcome, but unless you subscribe to Joe Vitale’s philosophy of what a goal should do for you, it’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of your aspirations. When you give yourself big goals to work towards, you gain several advantages that not only propel you towards the goals themselves, but help you to be more effective in the process.

      9. You don’t value your contribution or influence

      While we all have different motivators, most of us don’t want to be seen as non-performing, or as the cause of someone else’s decline. The truth is that most of us don’t consider much of what we do (or don’t do) as significantly impacting another’s world. So what if you don’t send that invoice today? Who cares if you never post that article? Maybe no one will notice if you take an extra hour for lunch. But each decision to slack off in one area ultimately impacts another area, and another person’s life–usually more significantly than you might ever realize.

      10. You don’t plan to be productive

      You know the old saying: “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Nowhere is this statement more relevant than in the area of productivity. For most of us, the ability to be productive doesn’t just “happen”; it has to be planned. It has to be scheduled and that schedule has to be followed (no surprise there). When you’re aiming to get something done, a good rule of thumb is to plan the night before, making sure that you prepare for all those things that usually distract you. Make a checklist, that way you’ll have zero excuses and can produce to your heart’s content.

      11. You’re not organized and you refuse to get help

      The fact that one’s level of organization is directly related to one’s ability to be productive is an understatement. Those minutes you spend looking for a working pen or trying to remember where you saved that file are all directly impacting the time and focus you have to be productive. Here’s a tip (and this goes with #10 above): if you’re not the intrinsically organized type, find a friend who is and get her to help you get organized. If you give yourself at least a solid week to focus solely on this task, you’ll be surprised and delighted at the results of your efforts in the weeks that follow. Barring that super-organized friend, you can always find tips and videos to help out.

      12. You allow or tolerate distractions

      Believe it or not, you do not have to answer that phone. The world will not collapse if you don’t check your email each time you get a new message. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, from crying babies to ringing alarms. While we can expect them, the trick is to not give them permission to derail us from our goals. When you’re serious about being productive, you’ll turn off that phone, block that Facebook, and give the baby his bottle before he loses his cool.

      Advertising

      13. You lack focus

      Years ago I had a coach who gave me a scenario that, to this day, helps me to focus at any time. He asked me to imagine sitting at a table with the person I loved the most. Then he asked me to imagine that person losing his life if I failed to accomplish my goal within an allotted period of time. The truth is, many of us are “focused” on several things, and that’s a sure-fire way to focus on nothing at all and directly thwart any hope of being productive. If you need a quick focusing hack for yourself, choose one goal or task and pay attention to that one thing like the life of your loved one depends on it. Get fully engaged. This means no multitasking and no distractions. Once complete, repeat with your next task and reap the productivity rewards.

      14. You spend more time focusing on the problem than on the solution

      We can all see that someone spilled the milk, but spending an hour talking about the time of day in which it was spilled, the type of milk (was it 2% or whole?), or the trajectory of the milk as it spilled does nothing to help clean up the mess that was made when it spilled. This is an example of how many of us waste precious time talking about the problem rather than the solution. This doesn’t mean that we don’t take some time to understand the problem. Understanding the problem means we’ll be less likely to have the same challenges in the future. But most of us could dramatically increase our productivity by actually working on the solution…and you wonder why there’s still a mess on the floor.

      15. You confuse being busy with being productive

      Remember that milk analogy? Well, moving the spilled milk around the floor with a broom won’t help to clean it up either. That is to say that just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive. Often “being busy” is exactly what ends up happening. If you have a deadline you need to meet, simply moving papers or people around won’t get you any closer to your goal than sweeping spilled milk will get your floor cleaned.

      16. You don’t manage your energy state well

      Tony Robbins attributes his ability to focus and have the success he does to one thing: his ability to manage and manipulate his state. He explains “state” as how you are feeling at any given time. Sometimes you may be in a nervous state; other times you may be in an excited state. The trick, he says, is to practice moving yourself from one state to another, and this can be learned successfully over time. Feeling sluggish? Imagine you’re about to run towards someone you love and haven’t seen in years. Getting anxious? Maybe you need to quiet your mind and meditate. Whatever your process, know that it is possible for you to control your body, mind, and energy for maximum productivity results.

      17. You don’t take time to decompress and relax

      If you’re not taking time to care for your mental and emotional health, it’s going to show up in your ability to be productive (and by “ability”, I mean “inability). For some this might look like taking a long walk, for others it might look like taking a nap, and for the vast majority of us, it probably looks like a three week vacation from it all. When you make relaxation and play a part of your daily routine, not only do you find more joy in your tasks, you’ll find that you get more done when you get back to work.

      Advertising

      18. You don’t put the right food in your body to feed your brain

      You know the old saying “you are what you eat,” but are you eating the types of foods that will feed your brain for productivity? Just like a vehicle requires specific fuel to be efficient, your brain and body require certain foods to be optimally productive. Even the slightest changes in diet can have significant effects. So what’s in your diet?

      19. You don’t know your 80/20 productivity ratio

      It’s said that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts, but unless you know which 20% of your efforts are producing the 80% of results that you want, chances are you’ll forever be in the dark and lose out on opportunities to increase your productivity. It may take some experimenting and testing, but when you finally understand where all that energy has been going, you might even be able to boost your productivity by, let’s say, 80%.

      20. You spend more time preparing than doing

      As necessary and worthwhile as it is to take time to prepare to execute your desired outcome, there comes a point where you’ve got to, in the famous words of Nike, “just do it.” Because at the end of the day, no amount of preparation or training is going to get you to the finish line until you begin. So now that you’ve come to the end of this post, you’ve got nothing else stopping you. Get to work!

      Featured photo credit:

      More by this author

      11 Signs That You Two Are in a Committed Relationship Dear 20-Somethings, If You Don’t Know These 7 Important Things About Money and Finance, You’ll Regret It in 10 Years 15 Essential Life Truths You Need To Live By solitary chair 13 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Admit When You Can’t Get Over The Past Relationship lazy puppy 20 Reasons You Will Never Be Productive

      Trending in Productivity

      1 How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals 2 17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process 3 11 Things You Should Minimize for a Better Life 4 Too Much On Your Plate? 7 Ways to Tackle It 5 5 Reasons for Your Facebook Addiction (and How to Break It)

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

      How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

      How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

      There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

      With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

      With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

      1. Determine Your “Why”

      Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

      The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

      Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

      “Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

      That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

      Advertising

      I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

      Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

      Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

      2. Write Down Your Goal

      If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

      This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

      When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

      3. Set a SMART Goal

      A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

      Advertising

      Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

         

        By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

        • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
        • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
        • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
        • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
        • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

        Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

        4. Take One Step at a Time

        Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

        Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

        For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

        This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

        5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

        With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

        Advertising

        For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

        The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

        Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        6. Schedule Your Tasks

        Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

        What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

        For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

        Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

        While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

        Advertising

        7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

        Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

        Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

        You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

        8. Check off Items as You Go

        You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

        There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

        If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

        9. Review and Reset as Necessary

        Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

        If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

        The Bottom Line

        When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

        More on Goal Action Plans

        Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next