5 Habits That Are Killing Your Productivity At Work

Do you feel that your work is taking a lot longer than it should? There’s no need to resign yourself to late nights at the office, have a look at your habits instead. Here are some things you might be doing that are killing your productivity at work.

RELATED: The Secret To Exceptional Productivity

1. Checking email as they come in

You receive a new notification and your curiosity gets the better of you. You jump into your inbox just to see a new email from a client. Since you opened the email anyway, you might as well reply, so you forget what you were working on before that and start typing. Then another email arrives. Before you know it, the day is gone and you haven’t completed anything.

Unless you’re in customer service and it’s your job to answer emails all day, checking your email constantly is disruptive and distracts you from your real work. Turn off your notifications and schedule time for email instead, whether it’s once a day or once every couple of hours.

2.    Spending time on social media

Checking Facebook for 5 minutes while you’re taking a break is harmless, but if you get sucked in and find yourself still on Facebook half an hour later, then it’s a habit that’s not working for you. Just like emails, unless it’s your job to be on social media all day, turn off notifications, schedule time for it and stick to your designated time (use a timer to remind you)!

3. Taking too many breaks

Do you always give in to the desire to get a snack, get a drink, go for a walk and/or have a chat with a colleague? You’re procrastinating. Recognise that all these breaks are not necessary and ask yourself what you’re trying to avoid. Once you’re clear on the real reason why you’re doing everything but working, it’s much easier to address it.

4. Not taking enough breaks

You may be thinking you’re gaining precious minutes when you’re having your lunch at your desk, but the reality is you need to take breaks to recharge. Your productivity goes down when you’re not looking after yourself. Don’t believe me? Experiment with it. Try taking regular breaks for a day or a week and notice how much more you’ll get done.

5. Saying “yes” to everything

It’s fantastic that you want to help people, but you can’t do everything. Focus on your most important tasks and view all requests that are coming in through the filter of your priorities. Is this task helping you achieve your goals, or is it setting you back? Of course, you can’t always avoid meaningless tasks when you’re working for someone else, but you can do your best to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Start by saying “no” to one request per day and you will see your productivity at work improve immediately.

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The Secret To Exceptional Productivity

Most of us are trying to do many things at the same time. We plan our day while cooking breakfast. We talk on the phone while finalising a work report. We interrupt what we’re doing to check the latest message that has just arrived in our inbox.

We feel like we’re completing more, but research shows that when we’re multi-tasking our productivity decreases dramatically. Not only we’re not achieving as much, but we make more mistakes, miss things and overall perform at a lower level than those of us who do one thing at a time.

So what’s the secret to exceptional productivity?

Focus. Do one thing at a time. You’ll work faster and produce better quality. You’ll lose the feeling of being pulled in many different directions and the time speeding past you. Even your time alone and with your family will become more meaningful.

It sounds great, but how can we transition from what we know into a state of focus? Is it even possible?

Start small

It’s taken years to create a habit of multi-tasking and it won’t go away easily as soon as you decide to do one thing at a time. This doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the benefits of focus immediately. Even if you do it for 30 minutes or an hour a day to start with, you’ll be surprised at the results you get.

A timer is a great tool to use when you’re experimenting with focus. Decide what you’ll be working on, set your timer for 30 minutes and challenge yourself to only work on that task until the time runs out.

Work on the essential tasks first

Spend a few minutes determining what needs to get done on that day and what’s important long-term. Then work on those tasks first. There’s a sense of achievement and increased energy that comes with completing something important. You may also find that all the little tasks that kept you busy before are no longer needed and you’ve created more time to work on what really matters.

Eliminate distractions

This may not always be possible, when you work in a busy office, so just do your best. Choose the quietest time of the day for your focused time. Turn off email, social media and phone notifications. Clear your desk. Ask your colleagues or family members to minimise interruptions.

Take breaks

Every so often go for a walk, spend some time in the sun, stretch, breath to let yourself clear your mind. Clarity will help you recognise the tasks that will give you the best return on your time. You’ll also be inviting new ideas on how to complete your tasks in the most efficient way.

I invite you to try this approach and decide for yourself if it works for you. What are you going to focus on today?

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By Tatiana Apostolova

How To Be More Productive

Putting things off can lead to unnecessary amounts of stress due to easily being distracted from the bigger picture. The secret to being more productive is simply getting yourself organised. Often people are afraid of starting something because they are confused about what is required of them, and how much time and effort is needed to get the job done. Read on for some tips on how to be more productive at any time in your life.

Be organised

It can often be difficult for anyone to be organised all the time, but one tip is to delegate a particular timeframe for getting something finished. If you aren’t good at remembering dates or appointments, a diary is a helpful way to quickly write down whatever is on for the day, week or month ahead. Another great way is to use a cork board and place it in an area which you will constantly pass throughout the day. Then simply add or remove things as you get them done.

Decrease the use of social media

Watching one show or using one particular application on your phone is a never-ending battle that you will never win, (unless of course you have spectacular self control). If you’re running low on time, don’t put off tasks that you could be doing at the present moment. This will leave you feeling helpless and stressed out because you’ve left things at the last minute. Social media will always be there when you get back, and being productive in the long run will be more important than what status update someone posted to Facebook.

Plan it out

Writing short plans on what is required from each job will allow you to delegate realistic time and resources to getting it done. When the end is in sight, it’s easier to get started.

Change your surroundings

Too much noise or interruptions can be irritating if you’ve got a deadline on your hands, so try to move to a quiet place if your work can go with you. This will allow you to focus on getting more quality work done, rather than being increasingly angry that people won’t let you work in peace and quiet.

What helps you to become more productive?

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By Felicia Sapountzis

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