5 Big Productivity Mistakes
A word to the wise:
It’s funny how, in all cultures, we look for ways to become more productive and better at what we do, but we often forget to look at what we already do that makes us less productive. Identifying what reduces our productivity is just as important as identifying what increases our productivity. Eliminate productivity mistakes to increase productivity!
Here’s how I look at it. If I want to become healthier and stronger, I must start exercising. I must also cut out bad food and stop sitting on my couch so much! The same concept can be used for productivity.
By eliminating the poor habits that are holding us back, we increase our productivity!
5 Big Productivity Mistakes!
#1) Wasting time reading about productivity!
Most productivity enthusiasts are susceptible to this! I often catch myself stuck in this loop!
What I catch myself doing most is reading productivity books. Instead of practicing what I just learned in the book I just finished, I go out and immediately buy the next productivity book!
Now this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. When I read productivity books I enjoy the reading, learning the psychology behind the concepts, and using that information to write posts for College Word to the Wise!
However, if you don’t recognize when you are doing something, you can often get sucked into a pattern, and essentially waste time on productivity and motivation resources.
If you’ve ever been on YouTube you will understand how quickly you can get side tracked by the next video, and the next, and the next.
#2) Relying on quotes for motivation.
If you are looking for quotes, it means your brain is ready to work, you are just slowing it down by looking for quotes. Don’t be lazy.
We often don’t even notice ourselves doing this. We might think to ourselves “I should be more productive today, but need some motivation to get started”.
An hour and half later we are still looking up motivational quotes.
Don’t let yourselves fall down this rabbit hole.
Instead of looking through millions of the top motivation quotes and/or watching 15-minute videos of motivational speeches, find one particular quote you really enjoy and means something to you. Or better still, create one in your own words.
Rather than looking for new ones, re-read your favourite quote and use it to push you forward. Repetition is a powerful thing. Try taping your favourite quote to your mirror so you see it each morning, or write it down somewhere that you will see on a regular basis!
Motivation can often be overrated. When you feel the need for motivation, use that favourite quote to spark your discipline and get to work!
“There’s no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time.” – Helen Mirren
#3) Not taking initiative.
According to Dictionary.com, initiative is “the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do.”
Re-read the above definition. Think about that definition for a second and what it means to you.
There are some people in this world who have very few opportunities. When they are finally offered an opportunity, they see it for what it is and grab on immediately. They act upon that opportunity and reap the rewards. This is initiative.
There are other people in this work who have a ton of opportunity thrown at them, and they don’t act. They lack initiative, this is what holds them back.
When an opportunity arises in your life, don’t hesitate. Take charge and use everything in your power to take advantage of that opportunity. Don’t put it off until next week or tell yourself that you need to plan and prepare more.
Try taking one small step towards your goals each day. This will create a momentum that will make taking initiative easier and easier each day.
Take initiative. If you always wait for the perfect opportunity or until someone tells you what to do, you will always be holding yourself back. Take charge or your life and use your initiative.
#4) Not taking responsibility.
Responsibility goes hand in hand with initiative. It is in our nature to want to avoid failure. The fear of failure destroys initiative. And, if we do take initiative and then fail, we are scared to take responsibility.
Taking responsibility is an empowering skill to master. Yes, it can mean that you have to own up to failures. But it means that take responsibility for successes!
Taking responsibility can include taking the lead on a school project, attempting to get control of your finances, or taking on a big project at work. If you take responsibility for the task and don’t rely on others, you increase the chances of succeeding, because you will be more invested in the outcome. You will put more effort and feeling into what you are doing. Productivity will increase because you will want to produce the best results on a project you are committed to.
#5) Tricking ourselves.
Tricking ourselves into thinking we are being productive with useless “tasks”. The perfect example of this is the 80/20 rule. 80% of what we do produces 20% of our results.
Getting stuck in the mindset that being busy = being productive is the worst for this. You’ll find that after a full day of rushing around and being “busy”, none of the critical tasks that needed to be done are completed.
To summarize the 80/20 rule, the goal is to figure out what tasks are a waste of time and what tasks will have the biggest impact. If we can figure out the 20% that produce 80% of the results, we know what to focus on.
Identify what is important and focus on that. It will increase productivity dramatically.
Bonus: The Mistake you know you’re making.
Get off the internet! It is so easy to get side tracked on Google and social media. At first, the intention is to look something up that is important. Then an awesome link pops up and we click on that. An hour later we realize we haven’t finished our work, but it’s too late. We pack it in for the night.
I know I’ve fallen for that many times. It is definitely one of the hardest for me to avoid!
Try to block out time for using the internet for research and other times fto get working on important projects. By blocking time wasters, we avoid wasting energy and decreasing productivity.
Of all the productivity mistakes on the list, which ones affect you the most? Is there a big productivity mistake that wasn’t mentioned on the list above? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!