So many distractions, so many goals & so little time. Doesn't it sometimes seem like the more you try to focus on getting things done, the less productive you end up being? For example, I'm a notorious list maker & I swear that some days I spend more time creating my schedule or to-do list, than I actually do on completing those tasks.
The point is, productivity has always been a work-in-progress kind of situation for me & I'm guessing that some of you may share this experience. Life happens, things change & then they do, you have to work around that stress or other life advents. Busy doesn't always equal productive & the important thing is to focus on working smarter, not harder.
Lack Of Routine
Building positive & productive habits & sticking to a routine is what has helped me tremendously in improving my productivity. Sometimes we have to take a step back & evaluate our current circumstances & customise our routines to suit our lifestyles. It doesn't mean you're boring or predictable, it just helps you keep organised.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Ever feel like there aren't enough hours in the day? Is there always seems to be something else that you want to get done before you go to bed? Somedays we even forgo sleep or put off going to bed to do something else. Other times we toss & turn for the first hour or so because our minds just won't turn off.
Not getting enough sleep can effect your memory, cognitive performance & will impair your ability to concentrate. If you feel like this is something that you may struggle with you should try working on developing better bedtime habits. Go to bed at the same time every night, keep your bedroom cool & dark.
The To-Do List That Never Ends
The never-ending to-do list is one of those productivity-killing habits that I can often be guilty of but other times I find it very motivating. If I know that I have a big day & my task list is as long as my arm, I'll highlight the most important three or four tasks that need to get completed. Anything else I get completed is an extra bonus. The key is to keep you expectations realistic. Sometimes it's not going to matter how long you spend at the office or how long you work on something, you can't get everything done in one day. Don't put too much pressure on yourself & remember that there's only so much you can do in those 24 hours.
It's mean to make our lives easier & more productive but occasionally, it does quite the opposite. Checking your email every time your phone chimes, checking your social media accounts at random times or getting distracted by having multiple tabs opened on your laptop are just a few of the habits will kill your productivity where digital technology is concerned. Your productivity flow gets broken a little every time you pick up your phone or find yourself aimlessly scrolling on your laptop, even if it is just for a minute or two. Of course, some distractions can be beneficial, say if they're related or match you task.
If you struggle with perfectionism chances are that you have the 'all or nothing' attitude. This very much use to be me but after I got sick I had to kick the 'all or nothing' attitude to the curb. The 'all or nothing' attitude is when you're never happy with 80% or even 90%, there's no in between, everything you do has to be absolutely perfect. There is also a lot of fear of failure & anxiety involved. All of this combined can affect your productivity in a big way, trust me on this one. The key is to focus on your goals & tasks, rather than that fear of making a mistake. Perfectionism is a hard one to overcome but you can start by changing your perspective & realising just how often you use it as an excuse not to complete your goals. If I can do, then you sure as hell can too.
Lack Of Stress Management
Stressful events & situations, both big & small, can easily throw you off your track. When your mind is filled with worry & anxiety, your productivity will drop, in addition to affecting other areas of your life. This is why it's so important to know who to manage your stress & deal with it in a healthy way. Yoga, journaling, meditation, physical activity & taking care of yourself in general will help you cope with suddens tress better.
Failure To Prioritse & Lack Of Discipline
When it comes down to it, lack of discipline is one of the key habits that kills productivity. There will be days when you don't feel like getting things done, days when working on something that's important to you is really the last thing you feel like doing. Motivation usually comes & goes in waves & you can't always rely on it to be there. When you lose motivation, you sometimes also lose your willpower to be productive, I know I do. Focus on building habits that will help you become more discipline & prioritising tasks is one that hugely helps me. Use your will power to build habits that will improve your productivity, rather than depending on motivation.
One of the things that helps me the most when it comes to replacing bad habits is the realisation that you simply can't just 'stop' or 'get rid of' those bad & unproductive habits. Instead, you've got to focus on replacing them with good, positive & productive patterns.