Everyone has a bad habit that they would like to break, whether it be biting your nails, or binging on Netflix shows. But sometimes our habits become so engrained that we don’t even realize the toll they are taking. This epidemic seems to apply even more to our productivity.
You already know that checking your phone every few minutes and leaving the TV on while working are harmful distractions, but what about the subtle habits that aren’t as easy to break as stepping away from the screen or silencing your phone?
Everyone is a little unsure from time to time, but if your lack of decision-making capabilities has started to put you behind on deadlines, it’s time to reevaluate. Think about how the effects of small, every day decisions really have. Ask yourself, if I make the wrong one, will the world really end? The answer is, probably not. Plus, mistakes help you learn.
Your to-do list/schedule is too packed.
With a meeting around every corner and a to-do list that’s five pages long, it’s no wonder you can never accomplish what you set out to do. Meetings are sometimes necessary, but if you find yourself constantly thinking about other things in your meetings instead of being constructive, they might not be worth the time. As far as to-do lists go, it’s best to keep them between two and five manageable tasks. At the beginning of each week, write down the most important things you need to accomplish (e.g. finishing research you started a month ago or making the phone calls you’ve been putting off). Keep tasks small and manageable so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
You don’t have a routine.
In baking, there is a reason every step comes in a certain order. Without order, you would end up with a half-baked pie or deflated cupcakes, and who wants that? The same goes for work. Having a routine and sticking to it can help you stay on task and ensure you complete those tasks on-time. Start by establishing a morning routine that involves your more important tasks for the day, and when you’re comfortable, set a more established afternoon and evening routine, too.
You focus on the negative.
If you beat yourself up every time you don’t complete a task on time, all that does is add fuel to the fire. Take a minute to think about what put you behind in the first place and why. When you get to the root of your productivity problems it’s easier to make a change in your negative behaviors.
You don’t give yourself a break.
It might seem like chaining yourself to your desk is the only way to get your to-do list accomplished, but in actuality, sitting for too long is harmful to productivity levels because you’re more likely to get distracted. Remind yourself to get up and move around every hour or so to release some energy and revitalize your motivation.
Thinking about productivity in terms of weeks or months, instead of days, can be extremely beneficial. One way to do this is to keep a weekly planner, which can help you break up tasks throughout a longer period of time—helping you feel less stressed and more accomplished!