We all want to be more productive. However, we often try to achieve productivity in the wrong way. We try to add more things to our day, when instead we should be focusing on cutting out the biggest time wasters out there. Here are the 8 habits that you want to get rid off to become much more productive.
Doing the less important things first
Sometimes, we might feel intimidated by or unwilling to do the most important tasks. Maybe they are too big or too complex or too unpleasant. This means that we start the day by focusing on what matters least – we answer e-mails, clean our desks, or do other things that are not a priority.
This leaves us less time and less energy for the truly important tasks. Instead, you might plan to start the day with the most important task you have.
Daydreaming instead of doing
A big time-waster is our tendency to fantasize about the outcome or worry about the results instead of getting it done. We might dedicate too much time for thinking about how things will turn out.
It is better to leave the daydreaming for when you leave work or for after the task is finished.
Browsing social media
Social media is one of the biggest time wasters out there. We often don’t realize just how much time we spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever your media of choice is. You probably spend more than you realize, and a good first step is to monitor your usage.
Some apps will give you clear information about the hours you have spent on each site, which might prompt you to make a change. A good idea is to block social media while you work or leave specific social media breaks, which will be the only time you are allowed to check your apps or favorite sites.
We can understand gossip to mean any discussion that has no impact on your life. While it might be fun, it is also likely to eat up a lot of your time. These discussions might feel good in the moment, but later lead to regrets and lost productivity, not to mention that they might make you look bad in front of your colleagues.
Instead, it’s better to focus on work and discussions that have value. You might also leave a few breaks for socializing and avoid conversations outside of these predetermined times.
Always saying yes
If you always say yes, that means you are taking on a lot of work and tasks that aren’t your own. While helping others is noble and good from time to time, you should consider whether you are becoming the go-to person.
If you are, you are likely spending a lot of your time and productivity doing things that don’t impact you and that might detract from the quality of your own work. Learn to say no and choose the favors you want to do and not those that are just wasting your time.
Trying to get things to be perfect is a huge time waster. First, this is because perfection is not achievable in many cases and, second, because perfection is not necessary. Often, we spend ages trying to polish something that is already good enough.
You should not deliver shoddy work, for sure, but it’s usually fine if the work is done and has a decent quality. Perfection does not matter as much as getting things done in most fields.
Organizing and reorganizing
Organizing is a useful habit. We might benefit from organizing our day and our resources, but doing it over and over is often a time-waster.
It might be a way of avoiding actual work, for instance. Instead, you might want to limit the time you give to organizing and focus on more meaningful tasks.
Trying to please everyone
Trying to please everyone is the biggest time waster there is because it leads to a lot of different behaviors, including saying yes, trying to be perfect, and many other traits and habits that will detract from your work. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you or what you do, and that’s fine. What matters is, first, what you think and whether you are satisfied.
Second, in a work context, it matters whether your boss, collaborators, and stakeholders are satisfied. Trying to please people who are not involved or whose opinion is not professional or doesn’t really matter might lead you down the wrong roads. Make sure you know who the work should be for.