photo credit: Fred Mouniguet

5 Counterproductive Habits That Kill Your Productivity

You think you’re saving time, when it’s actually the opposite.

Melissa Chu
4 min readJan 29, 2019


So many things to do, so little time.

I don’t know about you, but it always feels like a million things are competing for my attention.

There’s that urgent email I need to reply to, a file I need to submit by the end of the week, and of course, a movie I’ve been meaning to watch for the past month.

Work-life balance can feel like a pipe dream when everything is just piling up.

Unfortunately, in an effort to get as much done as possible, it can be too easy to resort to counterproductive tactics that actually get in the way of completing your work.

So, see if you’re using any of these 5 habits that actually make you less productive:

1. Doing as many things as possible.

Do you ever see those people who are completely frazzled by trying to do everything under the sun? They’re pulling their hair, running from place to place, and barely have time to breathe.

Well, trying to do everything is an indicator that you’re not being discriminate enough on your tasks.

Think of it this way: most things we do in a day have minimal, or little impact. Instead of doing everything you think you need to do, take a step back and evaluate the 2–3 most crucial tasks you need to complete.

When you choose to pursue only the most crucial goals, you can pour more of your time, energy, and focus into completing those goals rather than partially finishing a whole bunch of tasks. You’ll also feel a lot better having pursued something to completion.

2. Just “winging” it.

Remember back in school when you had to prepare presentations for the class? I remember there was always that one person who would say, “I’m just going to wing it!”

Chances are, that person wasn’t performing at the top of the class (or if they were, weren’t actually winging it). High-achieving people are proactive, rather than reactive. They prepare relentlessly and practice daily so that when the time comes, their performance is…



Melissa Chu

I write about living better, creating great work, and making an impact. Get your guide to achieving your goals at