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9 Habits you Always Thought Were Productive but Aren’t

9 Habits you Always Thought Were Productive but Aren’t

In this fast-paced world, we are prone to a seemingly endless number of possibilities and therefore we can become overwhelmed extremely quickly. The problem with this is that there are so many things out there for us to try we might never find the method that works best for us.

But rest assured, there are many ways that you can increase productivity in your life without having to make any major changes.

Many techniques are thought to aid in productivity, but the truth is that it is hindering us from achieving our full potential. Below, I have listed 9 habits you always thought were productive but, in fact, aren’t. You might be surprised.

1. Scheduling Everything

schedule

    There is a difference between going after your goal without giving up, and being so inflexible and unwilling to change your plans that you never try anything new. When we have a goal in mind, we should be conscious of the fact that if we lay out exactly how we want something to be enacted, that leaves no room for expansion.

    There is no room for expansion because the predetermined plan has already been crafted. This can serve as good in some cases, but for the most part, it will ultimately hold us back from ever reaching our true productivity potential.

    2. Multitasking

    multitasking

      Multitasking is one of the most common things we all do in our daily lives. The problem with Multitasking is that it sounds good on paper, getting several things completed at once, but it’s not really practical.

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      We don’t fully get to focus on one specific thing while multitasking. There are so many thoughts floating around in our head and we want to act on them all, at once! But we are met with fierce anxiety and stress as the tasks don’t seem to get done, even though we had such good intentions before we started.

      The problem also lies in trying to set too many goals that leads us to multitask. There is so much to do and such little time to do it. How will I ever get anything done?

      I have thought that to myself hundreds of times, but the problem wasn’t an issue with time, it was an issue with the personal goals that I had set for myself. Focus on one specific goal and figure out how you want to reach that goal. Anything other than this will backfire in terms of reduced productivity.

      If you set too many, you will quickly see that you become overwhelmed very easily. It’s easy to venture off in search of one thing and to come back with another. Instead, try identifying what message you want to send to yourself or others. Then, focus on that specific goal. Move on to other goals later.

      3. Doing The Stuff you are Already Good at Again and Again

      Each of us has our own set of skills and talents. Our strengths are something that we should focus on. But even if we are good at something, we should not continue doing it if it is not promoting our personal growth.

      Diversifying always enhances productivity. This is because if you focus on only one skill and make mistakes or do not keep up with the latest updates on such field, your whole work will be affected. Having differnet skills prevents you from having a single point of failure.

      Not only that, but expanding your skills also enhances productivity through potential crossed knowledge within a project where different skills come into action.

      When a task becomes so easy you don’t even have to think about it, then you know you should either do something different or look for ways to improve upon it. We should never stop growing, no matter what!

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      4. Being Too Concrete with your Goals

      concrete

        Concrete is something that is so hard it’s impenetrable by some of the strongest forces. When you have concrete goals, no other idea can enter through your unbreakable belief system. Your goals become so fixated that you lose sight of all other possibilities.

        Goals are something that we should all have, because they give purpose and meaning to our lives.

        When you set a goal, it isn’t always going to work out as smoothly as you want. Some goals are more flexible than others, but some require you to take smaller action steps that you might dread. Procrastination then sets in, and you end up not accomplishing the initial task. Setting a goal is a good thing to do, but be careful. If you become too locked into obtaining a goal, you might miss out on other opportunities that may help you on boosting your overall productivity.

        5. Paying Too Much Attention to Detail

        When we set out in pursuit of a goal, we often become so entangled in the small details that we forget to look at the big picture . When we are paying too close attention to the details, when we make decisions, these decisions can result in a particular outcome not in alignment with your original goal, and therefore results in you wasting your time and compromising your productivity.

        You begin focusing on the wrong things and before you know it, you’re back to square one. There is a fine line between figuring out what we should focus on and what we shouldn’t. But we must consider the possibilities of how something can turn out in the grand scheme of things. Looking at things from a small-minded viewpoint can plague our ability for expansion and growth.

        6. Aiming for Perfection

        progress

          Progress and perfection have never gone hand in hand. While perfection in essence does not exist, it is true is that very efficient processes can be achieved, but never brought about by  careful planning and thoughtful consideration but from testing, trial and error and customer feedback.

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          The outcome cannot always be foreseen, and therefore experimenting with your new ventures and ideas is essential in terms of productivity, efficiency and success

          7. Saying “Yes” to Everything

          You are a dependable person, so does that mean you should always say “yes” when someone asks a favor of you? Of course not!

          As much as we would love to help others out in their time of need, we have our own busy lives to worry about. Learn to say “No” and become a bit more selfish. You must first focus on what is going to increase your own productivity, rather than taking up crazy amounts of workload or commitments. “Yes” is a word that people like to hear. But if you say “yes” to people too often, then they will become dependent upon your consensus.

          You will become known as the “yes” guy that will do anything for anybody. By doing this, you are falling short of being productive in your own goals and assignments.

          8. Working Hard, Hard, Hard

          At first thought, it would seem like a good idea to start something and not stop until we finish it. But have you ever had to type a paper for school or work and you waited till the last minute to start it? Scrambling around, you try to whip up a ten page paper in only a few short hours.

          This, as you have probably guessed, is not a good method to use because our attention span only lasts for an extended period of time. After that we lose focus and creativity.

          The longer we sit there, the more constricted our creativity muscle becomes.

          Focusing on one thing for too long will cause you to retain less information and make fewer connections in the brain, and therefore affecting your productivity, and the final product will become of lower quality, less innovative, and due to the long hours worked on it, more expensive.

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          9. Being up to Date with Everything

          uptodate

            Information overload is one of the biggest problems we have in today’s digital world. It’s so easy to start searching for one thing and within an hour you have navigated to a website completely irrelevant to the initial topic you were focused on.

            It might seem like you are learning a lot by taking in more information, but when you consume too much too fast, you end up not retaining much information at all.

            I always feel the need to want to learn everything, but I have to remind myself that I can come back to that information later. Focus on the necessary information you need, make a mental note about the information you stumbled upon, then come back to it later.

            Focus on your current goal, there is not that much information to be swallowed in order to increase your productivity.

            Keep your mind focused on the task at hand if you wish to stay productive. In order for you to reach your full potential, minimize the distractions and cut the unproductive habits out of your life. The important thing to keep in mind is that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. If we wish to truly shine, we must be willing to focus our attention on the appropriate things necessary to complete our tasks in the timeliest manner possible.

            Being productive is just like anything else we do in life, meaning that it will take practice in order to perfect. If you follow the tips outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to the path of success.

            Featured photo credit: http://blog.proofhq.com via blog.proofhq.com

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            Last Updated on January 2, 2019

            Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

            Better Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Your Stress

            The end of the year is the time when everyone tries to give you advice on how to live healthier, look better, and earn more money.

            It’s understandable if you find yourself lost among all the tips and opinions. Sometimes you no longer know what you truly want to achieve next year – and what’s just imposed by society.

            To help you out, we’ve made this article about the things you should remove from your new year’s resolution list – instead of adding to it – to make your daily life more harmonious and peaceful.

            So just make sure you cross these off your New Year’s to-do list – your body, mind and soul will be thankful.

            1. Stop Buying Meaningless Gifts

            We all know the sense of obligation – when we have to buy a gift for an event or celebration that’s already tomorrow, but we still have no idea of what to give.

            Take these tips close to heart for all upcoming holidays, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.:

            Stop focusing on the material objects

            Instead of focusing on what material object to give, think about the emotion you want to evoke[1] in the gift recipient, and then pick a symbolic gift that can support or represent that emotion. For example, you can gift coziness by presenting a “comfort set” with warm socks, tea, candles, etc. Or give motivation by presenting a beautiful planner or notebook.

            Plan gifts in advance

            We know this is easier said than done. But if you try to plan which gifts you’ll need in the upcoming months (try making a list three or four times a year), ideas will more likely come to mind and you’ll avoid that last-minute shopping. Not to mention, you’ll be able to keep an eye on sales to get the best prices.

            Suggest a better way

            If you’re tired of exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays, initiate a different approach. For example, draw names among family members and agree that each one only buys a present to that one person they got. Alternatively, you can agree not to share gifts among adults, and only give presents to kids of the family. Or, ask friends to donate to charity instead of buying a gift for you.

            Go for common experiences instead of exchanging gifts

            You can agree (with your partner or the extended family) to go on a common trip, dinner or another activity, instead of spending money on gifts.

            Sometimes you’ll have to be the one who initiates breaking the rules that have been accepted in the family for years. But if you suspect that you’re not the only one in the group who’s tired of gift-hunting, you’ll surely find support for your suggestions.

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            2. Don’t Exaggerate with Diets and Fitness Resolutions

            It’s no secret that TV shows, article headlines, and ads (not to mention our healthy diet-obsessed friends) make us feel like we need to look better, slimmer and younger than we actually are. But going on yet another diet or starting a fitness plan with the wrong motivation rarely leads to great results.

            If you are like many people, you have probably signed up for an annual gym membership at least once in your life – only to drop it one month later.

            How do you balance a good resolution for a healthier life without pushing yourself into commitments that won’t last?

            Here’s what you can do:

            Set a healthier pattern

            For example, do meat-free Mondays or reduce meat consumption to three days per week (less saturated fat for you and better for the environment). Or choose to eat only healthy food at least three days a week or only on weekdays (e.g. make sure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, and protein). This way you’ll already have a healthier diet while still being able to treat yourself with a snack on weekends or parties.

            Get a fitness watch

            Fitness watches like Fitbit or MiBand are tiny accessories that will count your steps, calories burnt and will serve as an excellent motivator to move – or to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

            Find a physical activity that you enjoy

            Even if you are not that fond of doing sports, you can definitely find an activity that you’d do with pleasure. Think about what you’d like – from taking up Nordic walking to pilates or even exercising at home.

            Try intermittent fasting

            This is an alternating cycles of fasting and eating. For example, stop eating at 8 pm and restart not sooner than 12 hours later. This approach has been proven to have numerous health benefits, in addition to weight loss.

            Skip cabs or driving to work and opt for cycling or walking instead

            You’ll burn calories, breathe some fresh air, and save money – win-win!

            3. Put a Cap on Your Daily To-Do List

            In today’s busy world, planning your day in a stress-free way is actually an art in itself. It’s natural to want to be a loving parent, a diligent employee, an active member of the local community and probably several other individual roles.

            But playing all these roles requires energy and meticulous planning. How not to lose yourself amidst all the appointments and responsibilities? And – most importantly – how to still find time for relaxing and recharging yourself?

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            These daily planning tips will help you have more stress-free days:

            Leave bigger intervals between meetings

            If you schedule too many appointments or chores in a day, you’ll probably end up late at some point, and as a result – more stressed. There are many different reasons why people are late, but poor planning is a major factor too.

            Plan time to relax

            As weird as it may sound, you should try and schedule your resting time. For example, if you only have one free evening this week, and a friend tries to squeeze in a meeting, feel free to say no. Don’t feel obliged to specify the reason for your refusal, just say that you are busy.

            Try to be a little pessimistic

            We’re often packed with plans or running late for errands because we tend to be overly optimistic – about the traffic, the time it takes to do things, etc. Instead, try an opposite tactic — assume you’ll hit traffic or the meeting will take longer.

            Try waking up earlier

            Sometimes even waking up 30 minutes earlier can give you the much-needed head start for several errands of the day. But remember to get enough sleep every night, even if it means going to bed earlier.

            Plan your day the day before

            Chances are your day will be much better organized if you pack a lunch and lay out an outfit before going to bed.

            Designate a time for checking emails and social messages

            If you start checking your messages between appointments, you risk getting lost in a sea of messages that need replies. Designate a time for this activity or do it in case you arrived early to a meeting.

            4. Let Go of Unhealthy and Time-Consuming Habits

            If there’s one thing we should get rid of in the new year, it’s the habits that steal our time, provide instant gratification but don’t offer any value in the long term. Or even worse, leave a negative impact on our health.

            Here are some common (and pointless) habits along with tips on how to get rid of them:

            Binge-watching TV series

            Even if most online television platforms offer you lists of “Best TV Shows to Binge Watch”, being addicted to series is a major time-waster.

            You can manage this addiction in several ways, for example, watch one episode per day (or a few per week) as a reward, only after you’ve finished an assignment or done a house chore. Or try replacing this habit with exercise or reading a book – this will be hard at first but should stick after a few weeks. You can also try to track how much time you spend on TV or movies – seeing how much of your life you are wasting might urge you to do something about it.

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            Running on coffee

            Being a coffee addict is kind of a stylish addiction nowadays, but it’s not that innocent as it may initially seem. Besides addiction being a problem in itself, drinking too much coffee (more than 500-600 mg of caffeine a day) may lead to nervousness, insomnia, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat, and even muscle tremors.[2]

            As a solution, try switching to tea or edible coffee – a more sustainable, healthy, and productivity-enhancing alternative. For example, Coffee Pixels are solid coffee bars that generate a more even energy kick throughout the day without the coffee-induced abstinence and dehydration.

            Procrastination

            Fighting procrastination requires some serious willpower. If it is a problem in your daily life or work, try ”eating the frog” in the morning – get over your biggest or hardest tasks first, then tackle everything else.

            Alternatively, use time tracking software to monitor exactly how much time you waste on unproductive actions, websites or apps. Once you know exactly how much time you’re spending unproductively, try to limit your time on social media, for example to just 20 minutes per day.

            If nothing else works, try bribing yourself — promise yourself to do something fun or pleasant when you finish your assignment.

            Whichever habit you want to give up, consider using some habits building tools to make a contract with yourself and reward yourself for milestones achieved.

            5. Stop over-consuming

            We live in the age of consumerism – huge manufacturers with their promise of a comfortable life on the one hand, and growing environmental threats – that are the direct result of our modern lifestyle – on the other hand. There’s only one solution – try to consume less whenever and wherever you can.

            Before making additional purchases, ask yourself these questions:

            • Do I really need it? Did I need it yesterday?
            • Can’t I buy it used or borrow it from friends?
            • Can I rent it?
            • Can I make it myself?
            • Am I buying the most sustainable version of this product?

            For example, check if the brand you chose is conscious about the environment, for example, are the products they manufacture energy efficient? Do they try to use less packaging?

            Also, if you often find yourself buying too many groceries, promise to buy only the amount that fits in one shopping bag (that you bring along). If you often forget to take your shopping bag with you, get yourself a 2-in-1 wallet with a built-in shopping bag for more eco-friendly shopping.

            6. Learn to Unplug from Your Phone

            Today’s world is crammed with information, and many people struggle to keep focus on what’s truly important. There’s just too much going on in the world – too much to read, to watch, to know, too many conversations to participate in.

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            But how to refuse the temptation to check the phone and start using social media in a controlled, not a compulsive way?

            Some tips for managing your phone-dependency:

            Spend only a limited amount of battery per day

            For example, start your day with 50% battery life, and manage your phone usage so that you’ll make it till the evening.

            Block distracting apps and notifications on your phone and computer

            Choose one-hour, two-hour or longer blocking sessions and enjoy the positive impact this will have on your mood and productivity.[3]

            Set your phone on flight mode

            When you start doing an important task that requires full focus, set your phone on flight mode so that nobody can disturb you.

            Leave your phone at home or in the office when you go for lunch

            You’ll see that the feeling of being unreachable for a moment is actually very liberating.

            The Bottom Line

            As a new year begins, we’re all excitedly looking forward to what adventures await ahead of us.

            But this year, promise yourself this:

            Instead of having a never-ending list of tasks and commitments, focus on the truly meaningful ones. And cross-out all the rest without feeling guilty.

            Less is more. Make this year count. We’re all rooting for you.

            Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

            Reference

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