Struggles Of Productivity: 4 Habits You Should Quit
Being busy does not define your productivity. These are two different terms that we need to understand. To put it simply, productivity means that you have done more than you have invested—what you have sowed in makes you produce more. Therefore, if we’re being technical, the mathematical equation of productivity is Output/Input = 1 or better, more than 1.
Now, let’s take a look at the statistics. We believe firmly in numbers, don’t we? Well, some of us do. Based on the survey conducted by AIA Vitality at the workplace in 2019, employees are unproductive for an average of 73.3 days per year (that is 6.10 days per month). This number of days lost due to low productivity is highly linked to our bad habits. So, it only makes sense for us to drop some of our bad habits in order to increase our productivity.
Here are some habits that we should bid farewell to:
Procrastination is not an alien habit to us. You might even be doing it right now! It can be divided into two types: minor and major procrastination.
Minor procrastination is the process of dawdling on small tasks until the very last minute. We’ve all been there and done that. Maybe some of us are still doing it too. But, how do we rectify this? Try creating a to-do list. Make sure to filter, sort and arrange it according to the amount of time needed to complete each task. Then, you can work accordingly and finish your tasks based on the amount of time each one takes. This will help us clear at least 2 to 3 items on our list and make us feel more motivated as we tick things off the list! This will also clear up our headspace and allow us to focus and work better on other tasks too.
Major procrastination is the process in which we do the total opposite. We do not start any task assigned to us at all and find it difficult to being. For example, I was assigned to complete a lab report, but I am doing everything under the sun except work on the report. The hidden reason behind why we procrastinate or delay on certain tasks could be the fear of failure or unknowns, laziness, or thinking that we still have time (No, you don’t have until tomorrow).
The solution to this is to create a practical action plan and start doing the work. Plan out the next 3 small steps you need to take to accomplish your goal and focus on just the first task. After you’ve finished the first task, move on to the next, and so on. This will help you build momentum and get you moving towards your end goal! Remember, there is no running away from or escaping reality. We all have responsibilities to bear.
Are you a good multitasker? No matter how excellent you think you are at this, we are still prone to make mistakes when switching from one task to another as there is a lack of attention or focus. In a recent article titled, “How Multitasking Affects Productivity and Brain Health”, research has shown that our mighty brain is not capable of handling multiple different tasks at one go. Not only that, but our productivity rate will reduce by 40% whenever we multitask!
I definitely agree that multitasking can be a very bad habit. Our brains can only focus on one thing at one time. We cannot be writing a report while texting our friends at the same time, right? We lose focus between tasks and waste precious time trying to regain focus when starting a new task. Let’s try focusing on one thing at a time to be more effective and efficient. Try to pay full attention to one task for 20 minutes before switching to another, and see how that works out for you!
3. Being glued to the screen of our gadgets
Does avoiding more important tasks by scrolling through social media sound familiar? I sure bet it does. This is also one of the bad habits that we need to quit whenever we are trying to produce good work. What do we keep getting attracted to in social media anyway? To see the likes on your pictures, the views on your stories, or to look at other’s updates and stories too? These could all probably sound more entertaining than your task at hand, but productivity comes at a price. You can’t expect to be entertained AND get work done all at the same time.
Bringing our gadgets to bed with us is also one of the bad habits we should quit. Yet, we still do it! I do this all the time too. I read on my iPad before falling asleep, and sometimes this makes me fall asleep later than I intended to, too. This is a very bad habit for your health.
I would become sleep deprived since my gadgets keep me awake during the night. This will badly affect our mood the next day. Our ability to focus decreases, our melatonin (or sleep hormones) levels remain in our body and keep us feeling groggy and more likely to hit ‘Snooze’. 8 hours of sleep is essential to balance out our melatonin levels, as melatonin helps to regulate body temperature, blood pressure, and other bodily functions. Therefore, it’s better to set a timer for the apps we spend the most time on. We may think we’re destressing by watching movies or TV shows, but we are actually delaying our bedtime. Sleep is vital! To be honest, I’m still struggling with this one. But hey, at least I’m trying!
Yes, you heard it loud and clear. Too much perfectionism can be extremely toxic. A perfectionist will spend hours on a given task as they are afraid of not being able to complete it perfectly. Perfectionism can also be linked to a feeling of unworthiness. We may think we are not good enough, and therefore, spend longer time on certain tasks to make up for it. Indirectly, this may cause us to become a procrastinator.
Even the best of us suffer from perfectionism. One of the ways you can overcome this bad habit is to learn to let go of the task at hand after you have done your usual rounds of double-checking your work. Avoid wasting too much unnecessary time on that particular task for too long. This could look like rereading and even triple-checking for grammar or spelling errors in the email you drafted to be sent to your client. You may feel anxious over making a mistake in your email, but try not to overthink the simple things. Making a mistake is not the end of the world. What matters most is how you pick yourself back up, own up to your errors, and learn to improve.
Quitting bad habits that have been a part of our life for a long time is tough. It requires a lot of self-discipline, consistency, and most importantly, time. So, don’t push yourself too much if the results don’t appear overnight. Always remember that slow progress is still progress!