There’s a ton of advice on how to improve your productivity—quick tips, simple hacks, and general guidelines. But, unfortunately, if you have bad working habits, all those tips, hacks, and guidelines will do nothing for your productivity.
Before you can become a truly productive person, you need to eliminate some of those bad habits holding you back. Here are a few to get you started.
Technology can make it very difficult to remain focused. Between texts and emails, apps and websites, switching to another piece of technology every 30 seconds or so is normal for the average Joe. But how can you possibly stay productive if you’re breaking focus this much? You need to find effective ways to eliminate distractions—shove your phone in a drawer, install a program that blocks certain websites for a specified amount of time, and fully log out of your email. Whatever you decide to do, make it a daily part of your workday.
Scheduling your tasks and activities can make people extremely productive. But it’s easy to go overboard, like scheduling something for every hour of the 8-hour workday. What happens when you’re given extra assignments or you fall behind on scheduled activities? Everything will start to overlap, and you’ll quickly begin to feel stressed and unproductive. And when you feel unproductive, it’s easy to be unproductive.
The worst thing you can do to your productivity is to spend your entire day in presentations, in meetings, and on phone calls. If you’re always in meetings, when do you actually get to work? Limit your time spent participating in these activities to the bare minimum—only when absolutely necessary. You’ll start to find that when you do have meetings, they’re more substantial, and as an added benefit, people will start to consider your time as more valuable.
Working long hours
People often think that working longer hours equates to a more productive workday. This is hardly the case, though. Occasionally, the 12-hour workday is absolutely necessary—something new comes up or there’s a client emergency. But if this becomes a habit, you’ll end up paying for it with your productivity. You need to take breaks, leave your office for lunch, and pack up for home at the right time. If you fail to do this, then your productivity will teeter off at some point during the afternoon and never come back.
You might think you’re super productive when you’re working on multiple things at one time but, really… you aren’t. All you’re actually doing is failing to exert the right amount of effort and focus on the right tasks. All tasks are not created equal, and if you treat all tasks like they are equal, then you’ll end up with mediocre output and a chaotic workload. How can you stay productive with a workload that’s far from balanced? You can’t.