The first step is admitting you have a problem..
Humans are creatures of habit. We find comfort and stability in doing the same thing over and over each and every day.
One of the main things that separate creative people from destructive, or successful from unsuccessful, are the unconscious acts they perform daily. Habits are essentially acts we perform every day. They often don’t require thought, which makes them easy to do, and difficult to give up.
Often times people never change their bad habits because they don’t even realize they’re doing them.
I will go over five common habits I see in people that hinder their productivity and ultimately their success. One of these has most likely plagued you at one point or another.
This one is arguably one of the worst and most common habits — especially in those that practice personal development and try to live more efficiently. You may think that doing a bunch of things at once will allow you to do more with less time, but you’re badly mistaken. You will actually do each task with lower quality and take more time to do each.
I’m currently reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, and one of the key take aways (so far) is that, in order to produce the highest quality work, it needs to be done with minimal distractions and optimal focus. A quote from the book:
“The Deep Work Hypothesis: The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”
In a world of increasing notifications, it is becoming more and more rare for people to perform deep work, while at the same time performing deep work is becoming more valued as work becomes more specialized.
You are better off batching time to do one task from start to finish. If you can’t finish the task in that batch, then take a break from work. (The break shouldn’t be other work, it should be a real break like going on a walk.)
Procrastination is essentially putting something off until later.
I’m busy, i’ll get to it later.
I’m too tired, I can’t do that right now.
Just one more episode of Black Mirror.
If you haven’t said these excuses you’ve definitely heard them.
Procrastination is a killer for productivity because it’s a silent killer. You can put off one simple task, and you’ll tell yourself it’s okay because you’ll do it later. Then you will put off another simple task. Then you’ll put off more and more tasks until you’re really not getting anything done. Then you wake up the next day and do it all over again. You always have tomorrow, right?
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” — Pablo Picasso
Tomorrow is not guarenteed. Tomorrow may never come. Today might be your last day.
I know that sounds a little dark, but if you keep putting stuff off until tomorrow, you may not be there to do it.
So do it today. Do it now.
3. Saying ‘Yes’ to everybody and everything
This bad habit plagued me for years. I didn’t want to offend anybody or hurt anybodies opinions.
Looking back, I wanted to avoid confrontation at all cost. So I said yes to everything. All that did was cost me my happiness.
When you say yes to everybody, you’re allowing them to impose their way on you. You weren’t put on this planet to live for other people.
Learn to say no.
You will offend people
You will be confronted
You will lose some friendships
You will also find your happiness
4. Letting your smartphone control your life.
Americans check their phones ~80 times per day. Or once every 12 minutes. It’s probably similar in other developed countries as well.
Imagine what this looks like from the perspective of an outsider?
This man spent 44 years in prison and describes what he thinks about our society and what he now sees every day.
“Everybody is talking to themselves, and everybody looks like a CIA agent or something.”
And it all really starts in the morning. Most people use their smartphones as their alarm clocks. They turn off their alarm and immediately check social media and notifications. The first thing people do is react and take orders from the rectangle in front of their eyes.
This sets people up for a reactive day that is dictated by their smartphones. This is a killer to productivity and ultimately success.
5. Drinking alcohol
Alcohol is one of the most abused drugs in the world.
When you drink in excess, it leads to a lapse in judgement, potential blackout, and a nasty hangover that hinders productivity for days to come.
I’m not saying alcohol is a bad thing. It can be drank in moderation. It can be controlled.
But alcohol doesn’t do anything to improve productivity. At best, it’s neutral, at worst, it hinders.
If you look forward to friday because it means getting drunk with your friends watching sports and going to bars, then you are using alcohol in a way that severely impacts your productivity and really your way of life. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to abuse alcohol.
Any bad habits you’ve recently kicked? Please let me know in the comments below!
Thank’s for sharing! :)