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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 September 16, 2019

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

            We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

            The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

            Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

            1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

            Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

            For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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            • (1) Research
            • (2) Deciding the topic
            • (3) Creating the outline
            • (4) Drafting the content
            • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
            • (6) Revision
            • (7) etc.

            Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

            2. Change Your Environment

            Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

            One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

            3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

            Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

            Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

            My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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            Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

            4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

            If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

            Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

            I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

            5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

            I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

            Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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            As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

            6. Get a Buddy

            Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

            I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

            7. Tell Others About Your Goals

            This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

            For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

            8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

            What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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            9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

            If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

            Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

            10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

            Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

            Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

            11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

            At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

            Reality check:

            I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

            More About Procrastination

            Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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