We have all been there, the long breaks, the million excuses, and finally giving in and promising yourself that you will do what needs to be done first thing in the morning. Waking up in the morning with having to do double the work that you otherwise would have to do is not fun at all. But you keep doing it over and over. Sometimes you get up and you’re filled with motivation and ready to tackle the new day, but somehow you end up down the “social media” loophole and watch a few videos, laugh at a couple of memes, only to find out that you killed your motivation.
Now, it is true that motivation cannot be always present at high levels. It’s a thing that you have to reinforce over and over again. The same goes for concentration and focus. Some days are just not going as planned and other problems are on your mind. It’s true that on some days you deserve to cut yourself some slack and leave the chores that need extreme focus for other times. However, doing this almost all the time is not a very healthy thing to do. It can impact your professional and personal life and make you less successful overall. There are some habits that we have that do encourage this type of behavior.
- Say no to your mobile phone
Let’s start with the obvious. We are all aware how much time we actually spend looking at our phones, scrolling through memes, chatting on multiple social media platforms, and all of this is many times the biggest reason why we can’t concentrate. It’s hard to resist sometimes when your phone is sitting next to you and you get that urge to just take it and check what’s new in the past 10 minutes that you haven’t checked. Chances are, there’s nothing new but that’s the point with the internet. It can entertain you for hours especially when you should be doing a task that you’re not looking forward to doing. According to a recent study, 51% of people check their phones multiple times in an hour and 22% check their phone every few minutes!
The same applies to TVs, opening your social media profiles in different tabs on your desktop, and other technological distractions. Try to put your phone in a place where you don’t see it like for example in the drawer or in your purse. Give yourself a timeline where you’re allowed to check your phone like for example 5 minutes every one hour. This way, it will be like a reward for your hard job, and it will distract you way less.
- Don’t try to multitask
We all have been there once or twice. When you have so many things to do that you choose to do multiple things at one time which often ends up in a bigger mess than before leaving your brain scrambled. Many people believe that they are actually able to multitask but according to science, that’s not how our brains work. Psychology Today states that our brains don’t really know how to do multiple things at once, but they just switch between the tasks very fast. Now, some of our brains are better at it than other so that’s why we can say that some people are better multitaskers even though they really are not. Every time our brain moves from one to another task it is re-starting and re-stopping the previous process and this costs us time. Even though that time is very small measured in microseconds, it does make us less efficient and more prone to making mistakes and losing energy.
- Being indecisive
Sometimes thinking hard about making a decision can be a good thing, especially when a lot is at stake and you have to make the right choice. However, you need to know how to detox this type of behavior in your everyday tasks. If you’re thinking too much about the smallest task you will just keep prolonging your work and increasing your procrastination. A recent study defined three types of procrastinators: indecisive, avoidant, and arousal procrastinators. Avoidant procrastinators avoid tasks that they find unpleasant to do at all costs, arousal procrastinators avoid doing tasks until the last moment because then they are hit by the adrenaline and have the motivation to do the tasks. The indecisive procrastinators are cannot make up their mind because they are overwhelmed with the choices so instead they keep on procrastinating. No matter which type of a procrastinator you are, knowing what your biggest problem is can only help you in addressing the issue.
- Being disorganized
Having too many tasks that you do randomly, starting new tasks without finishing the old ones, having too many tasks on your to-do list for short periods, and other habits of this type can almost certainly mean failure. There are many things that you can do to make sure that you are better organized hence more productive. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, just a lot of determination. Some of the things that you can do are:
- Break a project into many small tasks that can be easily done.
- Use a calendar on which you can schedule mini-deadlines for your separate tasks
- Plan small rewards after finishing each task or a group of tasks
- Get help from a coworker or a friend that will check up on you
There are many more habits that influence our productivity, and the most important thing is to pay attention to what they are and to be determined to actually do something about it. Change is always possible and if it means getting better results in your work then you should start working on it today.