By: Matt Byrom
If you often find your mind wandering at work, or you’re prone to getting stuck in a YouTube cycle—don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Internet is a vast rabbit hole that can lure even the most focused away from the task at hand.
There are tons of bad habits that kill productivity, and we’re all guilty of at least one of them.
In this article, we’re going to list five of the worst, but also include solutions so you can kill those bad habits and be productive once more!
1. Being Tempted by Technology
Most of us need access to the internet, and maybe our smartphones, to do our jobs. However, with that constant access, it can be very tempting to Google the name of that song that’s stuck in your head, or quickly scroll through your Instagram feed.
Although it can feel harmless at the time, these little interjections of procrastination can be harmful to your productivity. One minute here and two minutes there may feel harmless. But all of this wasted time adds up.
According to a recent survey, 39 percent of employees spend one hour or less browsing non-work related websites every week, 29 percent spend two hours per week, and 21 percent waste an entire five hours per week.
To avoid being tempted by technology, try writing a list of all of the things you were going to search for online. This way, you can get them out of your mind and focus on the task at hand.
It may also be a good idea to turn off your smartphone’s WiFi during working hours (unless, of course, you need it to complete your work!)
2. You Don’t Eat Right
Skipping meals or hitting the drive-thru may make you feel more efficient, but the time you save will only be wasted later in the day as you become less and less productive.
The truth is, junk food gives you an instant energy spike, but this is very short-lived and is followed by a long slump. In contrast, if you eat healthily all day long you are 25 percent more likely to have a higher job performance.
No matter how far behind you are in your work, you should always make time to have a healthy lunch. Lunch is always best eaten away from your desk too. A change of scenery can have a huge impact on productivity.
If you want to know more about exactly what you should be eating to boost your productivity, check out this infographic.
3. Putting off Difficult Work
This is one bad habit that is hard to overcome. After all, it’s human nature. Think about when you were a kid: if you had a chocolate bar and a banana in your lunchbox, the chocolate bar would most likely get eaten immediately, and it’s likely you ate the banana when you got home and faced questioning from your Mom.
We tend to get easier tasks out of the way first — at least that’s what we tell ourselves. But researchers have found that people have a limited amount of willpower, and it decreases throughout the day.
The only solution for this is to grab a strong coffee in the morning and get stuck into your most difficult tasks.
You can also further improve your productivity by creating a routine for yourself. This way, you’ll know which tasks need to be completed when, and you’ll be less likely to put work off.
4. Hitting the Snooze Button
This is another bad habit that we are all guilty of. Five more minutes may seem like a good idea at the time, but many studies have found that fragmented sleep is much less restorative and leads to sleepiness-related daytime impairment.
So, by breaking up those last thirty minutes of sleep, you’re more likely to perform poorly during the day. You can learn more about the science behind the snooze button here.
The truth is, to be at your productive best you need a good seven or eight hours of sleep a night. A 2015 study of 21,000 British workers found that people who slept less than six hours a night were significantly less productive than those who slept for seven or eight hours.
The solution for this is simple: go to bed earlier and set your alarm later. By setting your alarm for the time that you actually need to get up, you will not only reduce your need for the snooze button, but may even eliminate your use of alarms altogether.
Getting up at the same time is great for your biological clock — and you may end up waking naturally every morning, instead of waking up to a horrible beeping sound.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Multitasking doesn’t kill productivity; it’s great for productivity!”
Actually, multitasking is not what it’s made out to be.
By focussing on multiple tasks at one time, we only give partial focus to each task. Our brains push the main focus towards the ‘multi,’ rather than the ‘task,’ meaning we drain our mental resources by constantly changing our thoughts. This makes multitasking surprisingly counter-productive.
The solution for multitasking is quite simply: stop. Or at least try to. You can break your routine of multitasking by creating a to-do list at the beginning of your day. Allocate a certain amount of time to each task and try to focus on only that task during the allotted time.
This may seem daunting, particularly if you think you have too much to do in your day. However, you will find that giving your full attention to a task will boost your productivity, and more often than not, get the task completed quicker than planned.
We all have bad habits — and being productive isn’t easy. Our minds are ticking away all the time, and we are expected to juggle more tasks than ever at work. But hopefully, these tips will help you kill those bad habits and focus on being more productive than ever.
Think we missed anything? Let us know your best tips to increase productivity!