Habits that Kill your Productivity

Welcome to this post about habits that kill your productivity!

To start off with this blog, we must first admit that we all have bad habits. Staying up on our phone till midnight, eating chips in bed, waking up late. However, some habits are worse than others and do more damage than we realize. They are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don’t even realize the damage they’re causing. (Forbes)

We all want to be productive, as it is something that helps us not only with our daily routine, but our lifestyle and our future. Especially as teenagers, productivity is something that helps us with juggling school and sports, friends and work, discipline and freedom. However, our bad habits are like dead weight making it harder and preventing us to climb the mountain and reach the top, with a flag marked Productivity. Bad habits decrease our accuracy, make us less creative, and stifle our performance. Essentially, they interfere with our effectiveness, and our effectiveness is a huge part of our productivity.

Just like how it takes time to stick to new, beneficial habits, it also takes time to get rid of old, harmful habits. It’s not like there’s a magic wand that can immediately make the unhealthy habits disappear and the rewarding habits to appear. As teenagers, we can get addicted to something for a long time, so that’s why it will take hard work and the willingness to change in order to improve your life.

Even though all successful and highly productive people have totally different lives and goals, they all avoid these following habits to ensure that they get the most out of their days, and their life. This blog is all about habits that kill your productivity, because the first step to being more productive is acknowledging the things that are holding you back from it. Self-examination can be tough for a situation like this, so that’s why this was written. I, too, need to acknowledge what I’m doing wrong so that I can change and be more productive in my day-to-day routine. So, if you’re in a similar stage as me, you’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, avoid these 10 specific habits so that your productivity can rapidly grow:

1. Multitasking

Habits that Kill your Productivity

It may seem like multitasking is the perfect way to be extremely productive because you are completing multiple things at once. However, this is false and it is better to do one task at a time. It’s among one of the worst yet most common bad habits. By giving the illusion of hard work, it tricks many people into completing, subpar and incomplete work.

When multitasking, you’re not actually completing multiple tasks at once. A research conducted at Stanford University shows that people who multitask cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. This is because our brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. In essence, when multitasking, most of our energy is devoted towards switching tasks, not completing them, thus making it a productivity killer.

2. Being a perfectionist

Habits that Kill your Productivity

I get it – everyone wants to be perfect. However, “perfect” is just another element that simply does not exist. As a result, when we try to do everything perfectly, we are wasting our time, and as a result, being less productive. By being a perfectionist, we have unrealistically high standards and are thrown off-balance when things don’t go the right way. This leads to not only working ourselves to death, but also leaving a mountain of tasks to do and falling behind schedule. In order to avoid this, it helps to focus on finishing, not on perfecting.

We tend to freeze up before starting anything because we think that our ideas are not perfect. But, as author Jodi Picoult says, “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.”

3. Hitting the snooze button

Habits that Kill your Productivity

You may be wondering, What does the snooze button have to do with productivity? However, you waking up in the morning has more significance than you think it does.

When you sleep, your brain goes through a series of cycles, the last of which prepares you to be alert at your wake-up time. This is why you’ll sometimes wake up right before your alarm clock goes off – your brain knows it’s time to wake up. So, when you hit the snooze button and fall right back asleep, you lose this alertness and wake up even more tired, despite getting more sleep. In order to prevent this, no matter how hard you think you are, force yourself out of bed if you want to have a productive morning.

P.S. I’m guilty of it too, but as each day goes by, I am working to improve on it.

4. Complaining

Habits that Kill your Productivity

The more you complain, the more you procrastinate on your work. Complaining doesn’t get the work done! As seen on this blog on the daily routines of successful people, one of their habits is never complaining. The time most of us spend whining about the problem is when they spend working on the solution. Moreover, it even rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely and to be more negative. So, the next time you want to get work done and be productive, don’t complain and just get the work done!

5. Allowing distractions during work

Habits that Kill your Productivity

Whether it’s emails, messages, or calls, we switch tasks or get interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Especially as teenagers, we understand the dangers of getting distracted by a small interruption. One message turns into a 3-hour facetime, one tik-tok turns into screentime of five hours, and on and on. It’s obvious that because of these distractions, it becomes hard for us to be productive during our work hours. As a solution, it helps to declutter and organize your desk and turn your phone on “Do not disturb” mode. If you still get distracted by your phone, keep it in another room!

6. Checking devices first thing in the morning

3 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Check Your Phone Within 1 Hour Of Waking Up | by Jari Roomer | Personal Growth Lab | Medium

We’re all guilty of it – as soon as we wake up, we instantly get ahold of our phones. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – 88% of people check their phone within the first hour of their day. However, if you want to be productive, now’s the time to quit this habit.

“Consuming useless information like social media, checking email, and responding to messages to start your day puts you in a state of reaction: Now, you’re flooded with stressors and urgent tasks before you even have a chance to work on your own goals.” (medium) All of the information you gained while checking your phone before work will stay in your head and distract you from focusing on your own tasks and priorities.

Highly productive people get to their own goals before being interfered by the demands of the day. As teenagers, now’s the time we put a stop to this habit before it becomes an automatic action in the morning.

7. Putting off tough tasks

7 Ways to Just Get It Done | Psychology Today

We have a limited amount of mental energy that we can use throughout the day. Most of us, including myself, tend to save the hardest and most time-consuming tasks for the end, while we complete the easy tasks in the beginning. However, this may not be the best strategy to be productive. Throughout the day by completing several small tasks, we exhaust our energy, making our decision-making and productivity decline. In order to beat this decision fatigue, you should tackle the hardest tasks when your mind is fresh, towards the beginning of the day.

(Of course, we each have our own work routine, and this may not work for everyone. If completing the easier tasks first works better for you, then keep hustling that way!)

8. “Finding” time to do things

The Best Time to Do Everything

If you give a task to someone who has all the time in the world, they’ll struggle and procrastinate. But if you give it to someone who is extremely busy, they will make it happen.

Highly productive people don’t find time to do the things they want; they make time. If it’s important—for example, getting regular exercise or spending time with their children—they’ll set it in their schedule and make sure it gets done. They know how to organize and manage their time so all their priorities in work and life get accomplished.

What are the essential things that you often postponed? Don’t “find” time—it probably won’t get done that way. If they’re important to you, set it in your calendar and build your schedule around them.

https://medium.com/mind-cafe/7-habits-i-avoid-to-become-highly-productive-98baed2b4b7a

9. Focusing on minor details, not results

How To Stop Majoring in Minor Things - Scott Allan

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

— Winston Churchill

“Productivity isn’t about how much busywork you can cram into an hour, how organized your calendar looks, having an inbox of zero emails, or having the fanciest scheduling apps — it’s about the result you produce.

If you’re not increasing your results in the things that matter, you’re not increasing your productivity. You’re just doing more busywork more efficiently. Ultimately, the best measure of productivity is how much you create and ship.

Highly productive people deliver their work to the world. They have the courage to make things happen and they act despite their fear. While it’s important to focus on the process, don’t overlook the results.

What is it you want to achieve? Make sure your results are moving toward your goals. Once you start focusing on your output, your productivity will skyrocket.” (medium)

10. Failing to set boundaries

Boundaries - who are they for? how do you set them? | BALM

“Bragging about working 12-hour days isn’t a sign of productivity; it’s a sign of poor boundaries. Many people take on all kinds of projects that, frankly, won’t move the needle in their life. Or when people invite them to do something they don’t want, they feel obligated, draining themselves of time and energy.” (medium)

Highly productive people don’t let lesser things take away from their main focus. If you want to be like those individuals, it is important for you to learn how to say “no” to save your time and energy, as well as find a workflow that works best for you.

The Takeaway

You don’t decide your future. You decide your habits and your habits decide your future.”

Everyone wants to be productive, but not all are willing to change themselves to do so. Now is the time to start changing yourself, your habits, so that you can maximize your productivity and get the most out of your days. As a recap, you should first start by getting rid of these habits that are killing your productivity:

  1. Multitasking
  2. Being a perfectionist
  3. Hitting the snooze button
  4. Complaining
  5. Allowing distractions during work
  6. Checking devices first thing in the morning
  7. Putting off tough tasks
  8. “Finding” time to do things
  9. Focusing on minor details, not results
  10. Failing to set boundaries

So now that you know what bad habits are stopping you from being as productive and efficient as possible, how can you stop repeating them? You should try to replace each bad habit with a good one, leave reminders for yourself, and get support. It all starts with identifying what they are, and by reading this blog, you have already completed step #1!

If you are truly determined to improve your lifestyle and increase your productivity, I highly recommend buying this planner to help keep you organized. Along with this, check out this video on 7 little habits that kill your productivity at work. Last but not least, check out this definitive guide on how to be productive in 2021!

Remember, increasing your productivity is not a one-time thing. It takes practice, mindfulness, and focus to become more productive. While it is virtually impossible to be productive 24/7, you can and you should strive to get rid of the habits listed for good. These habits are not only killing your productivity, but also stopping you from being the best version of yourself. No human is flawless, but you should always try to be the best person you can be. So, with that, good luck on your productivity journey!

Next Steps

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2 thoughts on “Habits that Kill your Productivity

  1. Alan

    This is excellent. I think it would be a great idea to try quitting one of these habits each month!

    1. Dani

      Definitely, thank you!

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