Do you feel like everyone around you is getting stuff done, and you’re, well, not? It’s likely you’ve got one (or several) unproductive habits that aren’t helping matters. Below is a round-up of 20 common unproductive habits you should let go of, stat.
1. Allowing distractions.
Distractions are something we all face–but there’s no law saying you have to cater to them. Just because someone calls, texts, or knocks on your door doesn’t mean you have to drop what you’re doing right that second. You can get back to them during your next break.
2. Not setting goals.
Until you turn what you want into concrete goals to achieve, it’s likely they’ll remain a vague generalization you’ll sigh about from time to time.
3. Setting too many goals.
On the flip side, you don’t want to set so many goals you’re unable to focus a solid amount of time on them–this sorta defeats the purpose. Quality over quantity always wins out.
The more you put something off, the less you’re going to feel like doing it. Trust me: the relief you feel once it’s done is well worth the temporary torture.
5. Watching too much television.
If you feel more connected to the characters on your shows than your real friends, it might be time to switch things up a bit.
6. Skipping meals.
There were days I’d get so into what I was writing, I’d forget to eat! (Gasp! I know, right?) Without proper nutrition you send your adrenal glands into overdrive, which depletes your energy and eventually leads to burn-out.
7. Spending recklessly.
When your finances are in disarray, you don’t stand a chance. Keeping your finances organized should be as much a priority as your health.
8. Dropping everything for other people.
You are in complete control of your life. Respect your time–it’s your most valuable commodity.
9. Not writing anything down.
Writing things down helps you remember what you need (and want) to accomplish. Plus, it’s the best way to keep your mind clear to focus on what you’re doing in the moment.
10. Not having structure.
You don’t need to set a rigid schedule for yourself, Sergeant Crazy! Creating a general morning and evening routine will give you creative pillars to depend on so you can take more risks throughout the day.
11. Not taking breaks.
Your mind and body need a chance to rest, no matter how brief. When you start feeling restless, take a small breather to regroup instead of burning out entirely.
Again and again, studies show dividing your focus leads to lower quality work, and not to mention, loads of mental stress. Single-tasking not only gives your noggin a rest, it also gives you a greater sense of accomplishment.
13. Making time for personal tasks.
What’s the point of working hard if you’re not reaping the rewards in your personal life? During busier times, at least make sure the bare minimum is taken care of–bill paying, dish cleaning, laundry doing–so your home doesn’t represent your stress level.
Ambition or excitement can too easily get the best of you, causing you to say, “Yes!” to every idea thrown at you. Instead, say “I’ll get back to you.” This will give you time to look over your obligations to see if you really do have the time.
15. Trying to be perfect.
Ah, the dreaded unicorn: perfection. We know it doesn’t exist, yet we still agonize over every little detail, wasting time that should be spent on more important tasks. We should really just stop it.
16. Avoiding decisions.
Tough decisions are,you know, tough. But if you don’t make them, someone or something will make the decision for you.
17. Consuming unnecessary information.
I find mental clutter to be more overwhelming than physical clutter. Learn the power of one: one email address, one checking account, one savings account. Cut back on the mailing lists you subscribe to so you can focus on what’s really important.
18. Neglecting your health.
Your ambition’s useless when you’re exhausted. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and most importantly, do everything you can to create a consistent sleep pattern.
19. Starting something and not finishing it.
Break every project you’re working on into such small pieces you’re not intimidated by the process of finishing the task. The last 10 percent of the task will always take 90 percent of your energy, so make it count!
20. Failing to admit your mistakes.
Denying your mistakes or blaming others for your problems will do nothing to improve your life or help you reach your goals. Acknowledge your mistakes so that you can learn from them and move on.