Our daily life is full of unproductive habits and activities that do not help us make the most of the day. Stop the cycle of being unproductive day after day and accomplish more in your life by avoiding these unproductive activities.
We all know someone in our life that seems to have more hours in the day than everyone else.
We look on in envy as they manage to get everything done while staying relaxed and unstressed. Meanwhile, we run from one errand to another, fueled on copious amounts of coffee, yet still never managing to conquer our to-do list.
Well, the good news is that you can become one of those people who get it all done too! And the even better news is that it’s much easier than you think.
It’s not about magically creating more hours in your day. It’s as simple as becoming more productive.
Once you become conscious of your unproductive habits, you will be surprised at just how much time in your day these negative habits are wasting.
Take a look at my list of unproductive habits below and take the action steps to make your habits more productive.
Make each hour in your day count.
Habits That Are Making You Less Productive
1. Not Having Clear and Specific Goals
It is nearly impossible to be productive without having a set intention.
Having a very clear idea of what you want to achieve (and this can be for the day, week, or even longer time periods) means that you can take step-by-step actions to make those goals happen.
It also means that you do tasks with intention rather than filling your day with tasks that do not help you work towards what you want.
Action Step: Write down three specific “must-do goals for the day”. Make sure that these are attainable and then work on what you need to do to make them happen. Breaking them down into actionable smaller tasks is a great way to do this.
2. You Can’t Say No
This can be one of the hardest habits to break! But think about this.
It is much easier to be more productive when you have fewer things to do.
We all tend to have a lot of guilt about saying no and the first few times you try to break this habit it is going to be tough.
Breaking this habit is all about learning the value of your own time. Remember we all only have so many hours in the day. Choose the time you are willing to give up wisely. Of course, there are always circumstances where it is important for you to offer your help but more often than not, many things we say yes to are actually not the best use of our time.
Action Step: Next time someone asks you to do something, take a moment to think about if you have the time or if it is a task that is truly important. If you do or it is something that you see as important, then great. But if it is going to stop you from achieving the things you want then be sure to explain why you can’t help and perhaps offer an alternative way they can do it.
3. Too Much Scrolling Social Media
Often taking that 5 minutes to quickly see what’s happening on social media can turn into much longer periods of mindless scrolling, which is one of the most common unproductive activities.
You can try and use social media blocking apps that will help you stay on track and decrease distractions, but I find that it’s normally better to train yourself to be more intentional.
The first step to becoming smart about your social media use is by keeping track of just how much time you spend scrolling. This number may shock you at first but it’s a great way to become more mindful about your social media use.
I use a timer for my social media interactions. This helps me stay on track while being present for small amounts of time on social media to boost my business.
Action Step: Set a 15 minutes timer for social media interactions, only a few times a day. Make sure you also know what you want to achieve during those 15 minutes (interact with stories, answer DMs, etc). Once the alarm goes off, close your app and get back to work.
4. You Don’t Plan Your Day
Taking the time to plan your day not only means that you stop forgetting important tasks, it also helps you get organized. As an added bonus by being prepared and organized you will start to feel less overwhelmed. Helping you really focus on getting things done.
When’s best to plan? This one is a really personal choice and you may want to experiment with what works for you.
Some people prefer to plan for the next day just before bed. They find that it helps them relax and sleep better as they already know what they have to do tomorrow. Others like to take a quiet moment first thing in the morning to organize their day.
Action Step: Set aside 10-20 minutes at your preferred time every day to plan what you need to do for the day. Be sure to add those 3 goals for the day as well as any appointments. Think about the order of your day too. Getting your day to flow smoothly is a great way to get more done.
The Digital Life Planner already comes with space to add your top 3 goals for the day:
It may not seem a big deal that your workspace, home, or life, in general, is cluttered but decluttering is actually one of the easiest ways to make more time in your life.
Clutter affects how quickly you can do tasks. How much time does it take to find your keys in the morning before you leave home? Or how about trying to find that paperwork you know you put somewhere safe… you just can’t remember where?
It also has a direct effect on your stress levels and mood. And we all know that you get much more done if you are happier and relaxed rather than frantic and grumpy.
Action Step: Take the time each day to declutter. It doesn’t have to mean you pull out every room in your house and take hours to organize everything. Just do one small thing daily that will make an impact. Maybe create a special place to have everything you need near the front door for a smooth morning. Or create an organized and tidy work desk where you know exactly where everything is.
6. Not Eating Properly And Staying Hydrated
Eating and drinking may seem like the last things you need to think about while you are trying to get things done but they can make a big impact on your productivity.
If you are feeling unwell, lightheaded, or fatigued, how can you be performing at your best?
Be sure to drink lots of water throughout the day (sorry, coffee does not count) and fuel your body with healthy and nutritious meals. Try to avoid sugary snacks as you will find they may boost you for a while, but soon your energy levels will crash. Making it hard for you to get things done.
Action Step: Keep a food and water tracker during the day to make sure you are staying hydrated and eating well.
You may be wondering why this is a bad habit when it comes to productivity… surely you get more done when you multitask?
In fact, trying to do more than one thing at a time makes you much more unproductive than focusing on one task at a time. Research shows that having to refocus every time you change from one task to another means you are using up more time. Especially if you are having to switch your focus often. So you end up getting less done.
Action Step: Create a daily to-do list as part of your daily planning and consciously work on one item at a time. Every time you think about trying to do more than one thing at a time, just remind yourself you are going to get each task done much quicker by giving it your full focus.
Stop these unproductive habits
How many of these unproductive habits affect your day?
Remember, don’t try to change all your habits at once. This will just lead to more stress.
Instead, just one small change can make a HUGE difference.
Pick one habit at a time that you would like to swap for a productive habit and make a conscious effort to create a new and productive habit. It’s okay to make mistakes, and totally okay for some days to still go all wrong.
Just becoming more conscious of your habits will help you work towards being more productive. And every small change is a step in the right direction.
Before long you will have fewer unproductive days and a more accomplished schedule.
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