These 10 habits are killing your productivity (without you even knowing it)

There’s a stark contrast between being busy and being productive.

Often, we’re tangled in habits that we think are helping us to get more done, when in reality, they’re stealthily killing our productivity.

These habits can be so ingrained in our daily routines, we don’t even realize they’re holding us back from achieving our full potential.

In this article, I’m going to unveil the ten habits that are secretly eating away at your productivity.

You’ll be surprised to know how these everyday actions are impacting your efficiency, and you probably don’t even know it.

Let’s get started. 

1) Multitasking

We’ve all been there. Juggling multiple tasks at once, thinking we’re saving time and getting more done.

This, my friends, is the myth of multitasking.

In reality, multitasking is a silent productivity killer. Research has shown that our brains are not designed to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Instead, we end up splitting our focus and attention, leading to mistakes and decreased efficiency.

It’s like trying to run in multiple directions at once. You might feel like you’re doing a lot, but you’re actually not getting very far.

When you think about doing two things at once, take a step back and prioritize. Focus on one task at a time and see your productivity skyrocket.

It’s not about how many tasks you can juggle at once, but how well you can complete each task. 

2) Not taking breaks

Now, this is a trap I’ve fallen into more times than I’d like to admit.

I used to believe that the more hours I worked, the more productive I was being. So, I’d power through my day, barely stopping to grab a quick lunch at my desk.

But here’s the thing: that method wasn’t working. Instead of being productive, I was just exhausting myself. And my work? It suffered.

Research shows that our brains aren’t designed to work continuously for hours on end. They need breaks to recharge and refresh.

So, I started scheduling short breaks throughout my day. A quick walk around the block, a cup of tea, or just a few minutes of deep breathing.

And guess what? My productivity soared!

Taking breaks isn’t slacking off. It’s essential for maintaining productivity and quality in your work. Don’t make the same mistake I did – give yourself permission to pause and recharge.

3) Neglecting your physical health

Your physical health has a direct impact on your productivity levels.

When we’re not taking care of our bodies, our work performance suffers. Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep can lead to decreased focus, low energy levels, and an overall decline in productivity.

Did you know that even mild dehydration can impair a range of mental functions, including concentration and alertness?

Make sure you’re drinking enough water, getting regular exercise, and prioritizing a good night’s sleep. Your body and your productivity levels will thank you.

4) Perfectionism

Striving for excellence is commendable, but perfectionism can actually hinder your productivity.

When you aim for perfection, you spend excessive time on tasks, obsessing over every tiny detail. This means less time for other tasks and it can lead to procrastination and unnecessary stress.

Being a perfectionist may sound like a good thing, but in reality, it’s one of the sneakiest productivity killers. It’s better to aim for done rather than perfect. Remember, progress is more important than perfection.

Embrace the beauty of good enough and watch your productivity rise.

5) Not setting clear goals

Without clear goals, you’re like a ship sailing aimlessly at sea. You might be busy, but you’re not necessarily productive.

Goals give you a direction and a purpose. They help you focus your energy on what truly matters, and they serve as a measure of your progress.

But your goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Unclear or unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and wasted efforts.

Take some time to set clear, attainable goals. It’s an investment that will pay off in increased productivity and satisfaction.

6) Ignoring self-care

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget about the importance of self-care. We often prioritize everything else – work, family, social obligations – over our own well-being.

But here’s the truth: neglecting self-care is a surefire way to sabotage your productivity. When we’re not taking care of ourselves, both our physical and mental health suffer, which in turn affects our ability to perform at our best.

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Make sure you’re setting aside time each day for self-care.

Whether it’s reading a book, taking a bath, or just sitting quietly with a cup of tea, these moments of calm can help recharge your batteries and boost your productivity.

7) Not delegating

Early in my career, I used to think that I needed to do everything myself to ensure it was done right. But I quickly realized that not only was this approach exhausting, it also wasn’t effective.

Delegating is a crucial skill for productivity. It’s about recognizing that you don’t need to do everything yourself. By delegating tasks that others can do, you free up time to focus on tasks that only you can do.

If you’re like me and struggle with letting go, remember that delegating isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strong leadership and smart productivity. Trust your team, delegate tasks and watch your productivity soar.

8) Always being “connected”

In this digital age, it’s easy to think that being constantly connected – checking emails every few minutes, responding to messages instantly – boosts productivity.

In reality, it’s quite the opposite.

Constant connectivity can lead to information overload and distraction, making it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. It also blurs the boundaries between work and personal time, leading to burnout.

Try setting specific times for checking emails and messages. Take regular digital detoxes. You’ll be surprised to see how much more you can accomplish when you’re not constantly interrupted by digital notifications.

9) Neglecting to plan

Ever heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”? It holds a lot of truth when it comes to productivity.

Without a proper plan, you can easily get lost in the sea of tasks and end up feeling overwhelmed. This can lead to procrastination, stress, and ultimately, decreased productivity.

Planning your day ahead can help you stay organized and focused. It allows you to prioritize tasks, manage your time effectively, and avoid last-minute rush and stress.

Make it a habit to plan your day or week in advance. It might take a little time upfront, but the increase in productivity is definitely worth it.

10) Not learning and evolving

In an ever-changing world, standing still is the fastest way to fall behind.

Constant learning and growth are key to staying productive. New skills, knowledge, and perspectives can lead to more efficient ways of doing things and can open doors to new opportunities.

Productivity isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. It requires continuous effort, learning, and adaptation.

Stay curious, keep learning, and keep growing. Your productivity will thank you.

Final thoughts: The power of change

The beauty of human behavior lies in its adaptability. We have the ability to change, grow, and improve.

Our habits, whether they’re beneficial or detrimental to our productivity, are not set in stone. They are formed and reinforced by our repeated actions and choices.

And just as they were formed, they can be replaced with better ones.

Understanding the habits that might be sabotaging your productivity is the first step towards improving it. Armed with this knowledge, you can make conscious decisions and changes to your daily routines.

Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistent effort. But every small step you take towards better habits is a victory in itself.

Whether it’s single-tasking instead of multitasking, taking breaks, prioritizing self-care or setting clear goals, each change brings you closer to becoming a more productive version of yourself.

So, take a moment to reflect. Which habits will you start changing today?

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

8 signs someone is being completely unreasonable, according to psychology

6 things successful people never waste their time on according to psychology