Have you been trying to be more productive? Do you find yourself procrastinating often? Shh, these are some sneaky little habits that are draining your productivity levels today!
“How can I be more productive?”
Time after time you ask yourself this same question. Whether you’re bingeing your favourite television series on Netflix or staring at your computer screen aimlessly, this question finds a way to pop into your mind.
There are so many ways that you can adjust your lifestyle and your habits to become more productive, many of which are listed in the following articles:
- Productive Things To Do While You’re at Home
- How to Stay Productive When You’re Cooped Up at Home
- 18 Tips to Achieve Higher Levels of Productivity
- 10 Habits that Prevent Maximum Productivity
But unknowingly, there are some little things you do each day that are lowering your productivity. Little habits that, at first glance, might seem harmless, but are actually draining your productivity levels.
Here are some of the sneaky little habits that are draining your productivity levels today:
Not planning your day the night before
One of the easiest ways to lose time in the morning is not planning your day the night before. Instead of waking up and getting an immediate, productive start to your day, you have to spend time trying to recall tasks that need to be completed. And even then, you run the risk of forgetting important to-dos if they’re not written down somewhere.
These extra minutes in your morning routine might actually be draining your productivity levels. Especially if you get that niggling feeling at the back of your mind that you’ve forgotten something important, but can’t recall it.
Instead of sitting down with your planner and writing out your to-do list in the morning, try planning out your schedule the night before. That way, you’ll have a clearer idea of all the tasks you didn’t get around to during the day and a better understanding of what needs to be done the next day.
Not only that, but you’ll also be able to wake up with a clear direction and purpose in your mind. Without that purpose driving your motivation, it might be tempting to tell yourself that you’ll ‘do it the next day’, and end up with countless unfinished tasks.
Not giving yourself enough time to decompress
Work hard, play hard. Probably one of the best ways to achieve a balance in your life.
Just as it’s important to spend your time productively, it’s equally important to give yourself enough time to unwind and decompress at the end of a long day. Without adequate time to relax, the risk of burning out is a lot greater, leaving you feeling unmotivated and uninspired to continue pursuing your goals.
While it may seem counterproductive to take breaks when you’ve got a rhythm going, giving yourself enough time to rest is the best way to ensure continual productivity without mentally feeling like you’ve run a marathon. A great way to make sure that you get adequate breaks is the Pomodoro technique. A time management method that allows you to break up your work into intervals separated by short breaks.
This way you’re not continuously working your mind, draining your productivity, and letting that productivity meter drop lower and lower. Rather, you’re giving yourself enough time to recharge in between sessions, keeping your productivity levels high.
Taking ‘breaks’ on your phone
Ever find yourself working for 10 minutes and then giving yourself a ‘break’ on your phone? And the next thing you know, an hour has passed and you’re watching funny videos on YouTube?
Ah, the age of social media. Without even trying, you could be spending more than 8 hours on your phone each day. If you were to open ‘screen time’ in your phone settings, how many hours would it display?
There’s nothing wrong with spending that much time on your phone each day, as long as you’re not neglecting your day-to-day commitments. But what if you wanted to do more? Achieve more? Those hours spent on your phone could instead be extra hours available for your side hustle or your hobbies.
You only get a set number of hours in a day. It’s up to you what you do with them.
All habits are difficult to break, much less a phone habit. But a great way to get started is by simply placing your phone out of arm’s reach, ideally in another room.
Going on your phone first thing in the morning
Starting the day off right is the key to a productive day. You know all those ‘A millionaire’s morning routine’ or ‘Morning habits of successful entrepreneurs’ type of posts? I can’t say if they really do increase your productivity levels, but one thing they all have in common is that you shouldn’t go on your phone as soon as you wake up.
Drawing from personal experience, I know that I could easily wake up at 8 am, but end up rolling out of bed at 11 am. That’s 3 whole hours wasted, and on what? Facebook videos and Instagram posts that don’t help me get my to-dos done?
For many of you, it’s likely that your mobile phone doubles as an alarm clock, so it probably sits on your bedside table while it charges during the night. The upsides are great, you get to set 10,000 alarms in the mornings when you know that just one isn’t going to cut it, and you won’t miss any important notifications when they come through in the morning. But, you open yourself up to too many distractions in the morning that prevent you from starting the day off productively.
When you open your eyes for the first time every morning, you have a choice to make. You can choose to sleep in and tell yourself that one day you’ll possess the skills to be successful, or you can get up, start hustling and chase the life that you dream of.
Try this: When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself: “Is this the first day of my new life, or just a regular ole day?”
Keeping too many tabs open
If you took a look at the top of your computer screen, how many tabs would you have open? 5, 10, or even 20? Keeping dozens of tabs open in several different windows is a habit that we’re all guilty of, once in a while.
One of the best ways to encourage productivity is to declutter your workspace. This isn’t just limited to your physical workspace, it also includes your online workspace. Keep only the tabs you need open and close those that don’t need your immediate attention.
Even though keeping all those tabs open might help you keep track of things that you need to do, leaving them there in plain sight might end up draining your productivity. Simply because they can get quite overwhelming.
Trying to multitask
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Splitting your screen so that you have a video playing on one side and your work on the other? Your fingers resting on the keyboard, prepared to type, but your eyes keep straying to the other side of the screen?
If that describes you to a T, then you could benefit from apps that limit distractions. Opening up a new tab is way too easy on our devices and can be extremely distracting when trying to get things done. Download an app or browser extension like Forest to keep yourself accountable and continue achieving your goals.
Multitasking sounds like a great idea. Being able to get multiple things done at once gives you more time to do the things you really love, right? Unfortunately, it rarely works and usually ends up draining your productivity levels instead.
No doubt there are people out there who are capable of multitasking very efficiently. If you’re one of the lucky few, kudos to you. But, the majority of us find it quite difficult to focus on multiple tasks at once. We simply get too easily distracted.
However, don’t give up on your multitasking dreams just yet! There are other ways of multitasking that can actually save you time.
Try to find 2 tasks that aren’t in conflict with each other. What I mean by that is, don’t try to complete 2 tasks that both occupy your mind at the same time. For instance, brainstorm ideas while walking on the treadmill. Or catch up on your favourite television series while doing the dishes.
Checking your email too often
If you’re in the habit of checking your email multiple times a day, you’re inadvertently draining your productivity levels.
Checking your email might feel like a productive thing to do, especially if you’re comparing it to scrolling through Facebook or watching YouTube. However, not only does checking your email break your concentration, but it’s also incredibly distracting.
Ever opened an email to find a discount code for your favourite store? Or perhaps a sitewide sale for a brand you like? If you clicked straight through to their website, then you know exactly how distracting your emails can be.
Not only is checking your email counterproductive, but if you’re not planning on ‘actioning’ those emails, then you’ll be wasting your time as well. Checking your email without dealing with them immediately just means that you’ll have to go over them again when you decide to take action, effectively reading them twice. This means that instead of taking 10 minutes to read through all your emails, you’ll need 20 minutes to re-familiarise yourself with all the information needed to act on those emails.
Ready to become a more productive person today?
There’s no secret recipe to becoming productive overnight. It’s a process of trial and error to see what works for you. Taking up productive habits and limiting those behaviours that are draining your productivity levels can help you achieve your goal of becoming a more productive version of yourself.
What are some habits that have hampered your productivity levels?