If there’s one thing that puts a huge halt on your productivity, it’s bad habits. No, we don’t mean picking your nose or not putting the toilet seat down – we mean all those little things you do each day that cause you to be slower, less creative and less precise with your work.
There are some bad habits that cause the most trouble but are easily avoidable. Gaining control of these bad habits will ultimately turn you into a more productive, happier person (as less stress from always being disorganised = a happier you!). Here are a few you can start working on immediately:
Improve Your Health
It goes without saying really – you’re going to be terribly unproductive if you’re unfit and feeling sluggish all the time. You can start changing your health right now though. Start by replacing unhealthy snacks with healthier options (i.e., chocolate bars with nuts or a slice of cake with a slice of whole rice sushi).
Do a few squats every time you go to the bathroom or make a coffee. Quit smoking to eliminate the cardiovascular risks, or swap it for vaping instead. Doing things to improve nutrition and blood flow will increase your brain’s ability to function, increasing your ability to be productive.
Stop Having Your Phone Nearby At All Times
You and I both know if you have your phone nearby and you receive a message or notification, you’re going to stop working to check it out! This is a huge time waster and it’s also rude to keep checking your phone if you’re talking to someone too.
Another aspect of this is that using your phone, tablet or computer at night just before sleep can actually harm your sleep quality. This is due to the short-wavelength blue light, which mimics sunlight and reduces your body’s melatonin levels. Lack of melatonin means a lack of quality deep sleep, leaving you feeling lethargic and unproductive.
Don’t Respond To All Communications As They Arrive
This is the same thing as checking all your messages. Just don’t. If you are expecting an important email, set up your device to notify you of that particular email but not other emails. Get your task done (whatever it may be) and then check your emails afterwards. If you’re worried about your email senders freaking out that you haven’t responded, set up an auto-respond message that says “I check emails at 9am, noon and 3pm so will respond to you then” or something similar.
Don’t Get Sidetracked By The Internet
Similar to the above two points, if you keep getting sidetracked by that news headline you just saw, it’ll take you around 15-minutes to refocus on the task you were doing. Once you’re focused though, if you stop any interruptions, you’ll fall into a state called ‘flow’ that can cause you to be five-times more productive than usual.
Stop Being A Perfectionist
Yes, you need to use some level of care when working to be productive, but no, you don’t need to spell check that email using three different programs! If you’re a perfectionist at work, think of it like this: you can hand in an imperfect project or you can hand in nothing. Which one do you think your boss or clients would prefer?
I know this sounds contradictory, but research has shown that multitasking is not conducive to productivity. It’s all about being able to fully concentrate on one task at a time to get into the ‘flow’ I described earlier. Trying to juggle more than one task interrupts this flow, causing a loss of productivity.
Reduce Those Little Breaks
This one’s for all the smokers out there. The multiple smoke breaks you take can add up to an awful lot of wasted time. On top of the actual break times, there’s the wasted time caused by distracted workers hanging for your smoke break, the reestablishment of your train of thought, as well as the extra visit to the toilet after a smoke to spray deodorant, wash hands and brush teeth or have some gum in order to eliminate the smell.
In other countries, many employers are now allowing their employees to vape, which has changed workers from having a break every half hour to some people offering to work through their designated breaks! Even in workplaces where vaping is treated the same way as cigarettes, employees using them waste less time because they’re not forced to smoke an entire cigarette. Cigarette smokers often feel obliged to smoke a whole cigarette (which can take five to ten minutes) because it feels wasteful to only smoke part of a cigarette, especially given current smoke prices! With vaping though, you can literally run out to the smoking area, have a few puffs, then run back into work and be working again within minutes.
Unfortunately, there has been a demonisation of vaping over the last couple of years, driven by people who assume vaping is just as dangerous as cigarettes. It only takes a small amount of research to show that this demonisation is uncalled for and the productivity benefits of vaping are very clear. If you’re a smoker who wants to make the switch, a great place to start is with this online store with the highest quality vaping devices, who offer everything you need to get started.
Do Tough Tasks First
The reasoning behind this one is simple. If you leave the tough stuff ‘til last, not only will it be a worrying niggle in the back of your mind all day, but you will also end up doing these tasks at the end of the day when you’re exhausted and not in your element. As you can see, when you view all of these bad habits together, you can see how much they chip away at productivity. Fortunately, you can start making a positive change right now, even if you just follow one of these tips at a time. Good luck!