5 Counterproductive Habits That Kill Your Productivity
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 flawless.
Often, when you do something in a rush without planning it through, you end up spending more time cleaning up the mess than if you had taken some time ahead to plan out the process.
If you want to excel, don’t wing it. Practice instead.
3. Not giving yourself any free time.
A common misconception is that successful people are working day and night, non-stop. They don’t have time for fun or games.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Creative people and innovators often need spare time in order to explore. By going out and having fun, they can see problems from a different perspective.
There are numerous studies that cite how working too many hours actually leads to decreased output per hour. Productivity drops to less than two-thirds when an employee works 60 hours a week as opposed to an employee who works 40 hours a week.
If you want to feel refreshed and creative, try taking a break from your work. Walk. Nap. Get a drink.
4. Skipping lunch.
A friend bragged to me the other day that she had worked for 18 hours a day, non-stop. No eating or naps.
On the other hand, another friend gets adequate sleep and cooks and eats regularly. He has more time and energy for other hobbies.
Skipping meals lowers your energy and concentration levels, so that you get less work done for the hours you put in. It also leads to increased cravings for foods that are quick fixes, like junk food and sweets.
Eat healthy food regularly so that you remain alert and avoid unhealthy cravings.
5. Micromanaging everything.
Micromanagement is a common problem for perfectionists who need everything to be done their way. They tend to hover over other people’s work, and try doing things that could have been done at a more affordable price by someone else.
The worst part about micromanagement is that other people feel smothered and dissatisfied that their work isn’t being respected.
Instead of looking over every single detail, focus more on the big picture. Loosen the reins to give others some decision-making power (to a certain extent). It’ll be better for your health and well-being in the long run.
Melissa Chu writes about creating great work and successful habits at JumpstartYourDreamLife.com. You can grab the guide How to Get Anything You Want.