There are a lot of factors that can affect your productivity. This can be your laundry list of daily tasks, how you manage your time, and how you can motivate yourself despite the stress.
However, not everyone is aware that habits can also affect your productivity. This explains why you tend to procrastinate or produce low-quality output.
That said, we have listed down eight bad habits that you need to break to be productive.
Not getting enough sleep
Based on a 2010 study, sleep-deprived workers are less productive, less motivated, and find it difficult to focus, remember things, and make good decisions.
When we sleep, our brain consolidates our memories. However, this happens during the REM stage that occurs in the latter part of the night. Something that you are less likely to get when you are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation also means that you are missing out on “deep sleep.” This stage is responsible for repairing and restoring our muscle tissues. That’s why people who are sleep deprived tend to get tired easily.
And, you may not have noticed it, but lack of sleep makes our response time 50% slower.
Not to mention that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and other serious health issues.
Skipping your breakfast
There is a reason our eating habits, in general, can affect our productivity. Not to mention that there is veracity in the adage, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Unfortunately, a lot of professionals have poor eating habits. Not to mention that they tend to skip breakfast because they are in a rush.
Here’s the thing: Breakfast is what refuels you after having an (unconscious) intermittent fast.
You see, your body digests food and absorbs nutrients even while you are asleep. Meaning, the dinner you had last night has been digested by the time you wake up.
So skipping breakfast is like running your body’s machine without refueling it with something sumptuous and nutritious. As a result, you tend to get tired easily. Worse, you may even experience dizziness.
There are people who, no matter what they do, always run late. However, this can have a negative impact to not just himself but the people around him.
In fact, being always late can be stressful. As posted on GoodTherapy.org, “When you’re already late, it seems like everything takes longer, traffic is heavier, and people move slower. If you are always running late, and in a hurry, you’re constantly stressing yourself out.”
The solution to being habitually late is to be early. If it takes you an hour to get ready for work, then make it one hour and 30 minutes of preparation. The extra minutes you get can give you leeway for possible traffic during your commute or drive to the office.
According to a study by clinical psychologist Alexander Rozental, about one-fifth of adults and half of students procrastinate.
The reason people procrastinate differs from person to person, but here are some of the common ones:
- Lack of self-compassion. People with less compassion find it stressful whenever they are given a task. Thus, they are more likely to procrastinate.
- Acquired habit. It is possible that people who procrastinate learned the habit of putting things off from their family.
- Bias against a task. People tend to procrastinate because they think that they cannot do a certain task.
- Planning fallacy. Simply put, your estimate on how long it could take you to finish a task is a little off.
- “Short-range hedonism.” Because you focus on what you will gain at the moment while working on a particular task, your patience is short-fused. This makes you less likely to persevere.
It goes without saying that procrastination can result in poor performance, as well as poor mental and physical health. Meanwhile, it can increase stress, guilt, and anxiety.
And since the cause varies depending on the individual, it can only be solved by trying out things that can curb the triggers of procrastination.
Failing to plan ahead
There is a reason planning ahead helps you achieve your objectives, therefore making yourself productive.
Having a plan, or even just a list of to-dos, gives you an idea of what is expected from you by the end of the day. Thus, it makes you a lot less stressful.
Although, unprecedented things may arise, planning ahead allows you to have a contingency plan. Meaning, you are less likely to panic when something unexpected happens. That’s because, you already know what to do.
Trying to do it all by yourself
Humans are social beings. Meaning, it is inherent for us to be part of a community. However, it is not always the case when it comes to working on a task.
If you are a control freak, you will do things by yourself to make sure that it is up to your standards. Unfortunately, spreading yourself too thin can make you unproductive.
In addition, not asking for help can make matters worse. The more you delay it, the fewer the available solutions there will be.
When you have too much on your plate, when you need to clarify something about your tasks, or when you need an expert’s insight, it is always a good idea to ask for help.
Always remember that asking for help is a strength. It means that you are aware enough when to call in the reinforcements.
Multitasking to get more things done
Just because you can do multiple things at a time does not mean you are productive. In fact, you are wasting time every time you switch tasks.
Sure, the time you spend on switching tasks looks like just a couple of seconds. But you have to remind yourself that 60 seconds is equal to a minute. Meaning, the couple of seconds you waste will eventually accumulate to hours (even days) of unproductivity.
In addition, research conducted at Stanford University revealed that people who multitask have a shorter attention span. When you are easily distracted, you are less likely to be productive.
As much as possible, work on one task at a time. Otherwise, you can follow Clifford Nass’ “20-minute rule.” You can do this by devoting twenty of your time on a task before switching to another. That way, you can still do more than one task without spreading yourself too thin.
Not taking breaks
According to Tony Boatman, CEO of Qnnect, the top 10% of productive employees takes about 17 minutes of break time for every 52 minutes of work. That’s almost 30% of their workday.
Although it sounds like these employees are slackers, they are actually proof that break times can have a positive impact on your productivity. That’s because they tend to have bursts of concentration during those 52 minutes that they are working.
Break time is just a means to recharge their brain. As Maddy Leslie points out, “Your dream job will become a nightmare if you don’t make time for yourself and spend time with loved ones.”
Now that you know which habits can spoil your productivity, it is up to you how you can resolve it. That way, you can be a more efficient and effective individual.
About the Author:
Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors, a trusted office cleaning services provider in New York. Maid Sailors offers its customers unrivaled office cleaning services that can address even the toughest cleaning needs. Matched with affordable prices, Maid Sailors is your best partner in helping you turn your office into a work-friendly workplace.