With countless distractions in our modern, overly digitalized world, productivity can be a difficult skill to master. Whether you find yourself browsing social media when you should be typing, or texting during important discussions, you’re killing your productivity. Here are six habits that kill your productivity and what you should be doing instead to stay on track.
1. Browsing Social Media
Social media could easily be crowned “The Bane of Productivity,” as it can literally keep you distracted for hours on end if you let it. Let’s be honest, we all love to scroll on Instagram or Facebook, keeping up with the latest gossip, news, memes, and what our friends are having for dinner.
While social media keeps us connected with everyone in our lives (and even those who aren’t), if you’re spending a lot of time on it when you should be working, you’re only causing harm to yourself and the task at hand. Projects are delivered late, your quality slips, and you can become frustrated with your own bad habits.
Instead of opening social media on another tab, don’t open it at all when you’re working. If you find yourself longing to scroll the endless feeds, delegate certain times of the day where you’re allowed to check your accounts. Put a time limit on these occurrences to further limit the amount of time you spend on social media.
Another great way to reduce social media time is to uninstall the apps from your phone. Having the apps at your fingertips can be all the temptation that’s needed to stall your work to check the feed. Limiting the way you access these apps can help get your mind back on track and your work back to its full potential.
2. Texting/Messaging Frequently
Texting has become one of the most widely used means of communication. In fact, there is a percentage of the population that would rather text or use a digital messaging service than hold an actual conversation. The problem with texting is that people tend to do it during meetings, important conversations, and other events where it’s not only distracting for everyone but also quite rude.
Important meetings are important because they contain valuable information that you’ll likely need at some point in the future. If you’re the one person texting through the entire meeting, you’ll be that one person asking countless questions (that were probably already answered) at the end of the meeting.
Texting while someone is speaking or giving a presentation is also incredibly rude and unprofessional. Turn your phone on silent so as not to be notified of incoming messages, or simply leave your phone at your desk/in your locker until after the meeting has concluded.
3. You Say “Yes” to Every Project/Request
If you’re the type of person that says yes to whatever projects are offered to you, you’re killing your focus and your productivity. Taking on too many projects at once is a surefire way to reduce the quality and focus of your work.
Not only does taking on too many projects at once cause stress and anxiety, but it can also affect how you manage your time and therefore, your productivity. If you’re already loaded with work, don’t say yes to a new project until your current commitments are addressed. Your superiors and clients will appreciate quality over quantity every time.
4. You Don’t Manage Your Time
Time management is a simple concept; you manage blocks of time, delegating specific tasks to individual time blocks and, set a time limit for each project or task. If you’re not managing your time and delegating tasks, your days will seem unorganized and chaotic.
Time management is what sets the truly productive apart from the chaotic. There are many time tracking apps available that can help you identify what tasks take up the most time, and how to better delegate time slots for everything you do during the day. Take advantage of this technology for better planning and better time management skills.
5. Your Toolset is Outdated or Ineffective
Using the right tools for the job is half the battle. You can be the best at what you do personally, but without the right tools available to help you meet your potential, you’ll find yourself constantly falling behind in productivity and quality alike.
Whether you’re a writer, a construction worker, or a banker, the right tools make all the difference in your work. You can’t build a house with a rusted, broken hammer, just as you can’t write an article with an outdated, slow computer or tablet. Be sure your tools are updated and are exactly what you need to complete your job and remain focused. Having the wrong tools can cause disengagement, usually from frustration, and therefore kill your productivity.
6. You Don’t Track Your Results
Let’s say you’re constantly missing deadlines or not completing projects in the correct way. Are you keeping track of your results? Are you analyzing them to identify where the problem areas are, and what caused your lack of punctuality or quality of work? Without analyzing our mistakes, it becomes impossible for us to improve.
When you make a mistake, don’t view that mistake as a failure. Failure only occurs when you give up altogether and learn nothing from your mistakes. Identify, analyze, and improve next time. Analyzing where you’ve fallen short is the best way to encourage growth in yourself and your work.
Focus begins with disciplining your mind and removing distractions. If you want to increase your productivity, remove the distractions from your work area, update your toolset, and analyze results when you fall short. Self-reflection is one of the most valuable skills you can bring to the table.