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8 Productivity Mistakes You Might Be Making Every Day

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8 Productivity Mistakes You Might Be Making Every Day

Do you ever find there aren’t enough hours is the day? While many people try hard to be as productive as possible, they often find themselves getting distracted. However, making every day fruitful is much easier if you can first ditch productivity-sucking activities.

Check out these eight common mistakes people make when it comes to productivity.

1. Treating cheating as a reward

People often decide to treat themselves if they are doing something they find difficult, such as dieting, saving money, exercising or working. However, if someone treats themselves to a dress after a week of saving, this undermines the achievement they have made. It can even encourage you to ditch your plan entirely, as you’ve already been ‘bad’.

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Try to view the act of you achieving your goals as the treat. You wanted to improve yourself – and now you are well on your way!

2. Planning unnecessary meetings

Unnecessary meetings can suck all of the productivity out of someone’s working day. Often meetings are overly long and pointless, pulling people away from the tasks they were working on. A good solution to this is instead of arranging a meeting, see if you can speak with the person in another way. Skype, texting, emailing and phone calls are all efficient ways to communicate on important matters, while still focusing on your own projects.

3. Multitasking

While many people believe that they can do two tasks at once with ease, research has discovered that most people become less efficient while attempting to multitask. Doing multiple tasks tends to decrease their attention span and productivity, so try concentrating on one task at a time for great, productive results.

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4. Browsing the web

As most people have access to the web at both work and home, it can be easy to get side-tracked and find yourself online. Many people plan on briefly checking social media or checking the answer to a question, but end up staying online for much longer than intended.

A good solution to this productivity mistake is to write down what you wanted to look at online, put it to the side, and then finish off the task you were doing before checking.

5. Putting off hard tasks

People are often tempted to start their days with their easiest tasks. However, saving the hard jobs for later in the day can mean they don’t actually get finished at all. The best time to do the hard work is first thing, as that is when you have the most willpower. On top of that, getting your least favorite job out of the way is likely to put you in a great mood for the rest of the day!

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6. Over-planning

When people have a busy day coming up, they tend to plan every hour of the day in advance so they can fit everything in. However if you start running behind on schedule, you can find yourself becoming stressed out and failing to achieve everything you wanted to do.

Try to plan about five hours of important work to do, and leave the rest of the day to deal with any other issues. This means you get both elements of control and flexibility.

7. Hitting the snooze button

Most people like to hit the snooze button and get an extra 10 minutes in bed. Even though it can be tempting to hit the snooze button every morning, it is actually better for you to get up.

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When you first wake up, your body starts releasing alertness hormones to get you up and ready for the day. Every time you go hit snooze, you slow down this process – and as you are only snoozing, it is unlikely you are getting any essential extra sleep anyway.

8. Thinking about the big picture

Having a life or work plan is a fantastic way to make sure you keep progressing towards your goals. However, thinking about the big picture while you’re working can leave you feeling worried and overwhelmed. Save the life planning for when you aren’t working, and while you are working, try to focus on the immediate task you are doing. Every task you do is working towards your goals – slowly but surely, you are on your way!

Do you have any tips for productivity? Comment below!

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More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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