A habit is hard thing to break.
And yet, when it comes to productivity, many of us think we should just keep focusing on the tasks at hand and work even harder. I've mentioned this before, but the secret to productivity is to work smarter. You have to change your habits, even the ones you have held onto for decades and cherish like a family member. Here are the bad ones.
1. Arriving late to a meeting
Most of us run late to meetings on occasion. What we don't realize is that a lack of timeliness destroys productivity for everyone–including you. If you’re ten minutes late for a meeting, it means everyone else has to twiddle their thumbs. It means you are not giving yourself enough margins. And, it’s adding stress which kills your momentum and ruins clear thinking. Plus, it stresses you out.
2. Leaving long voice mails
I'm surprised how many people still do this. A long voice mail is bad for the caller (it takes too long to speak) and for the recipient (it takes too long to listen). It's best to get right to the point and shoot the breeze with someone when they are actually on the call with you. Or just schedule an actual, live phone call.
3. Email chats
I'm guilty of this one, but I've recently realized just how unproductive they are. There's a delay between sending a message, waiting for the new one, and then replying. Chat is faster. A phone call is even better. However, my best tip is to say everything you need to say in one message or try using a social messaging app.
Speaking of hampering productivity by sending too many emails: Most people tend to text like they have been eating jelly beans and drinking coffee at the same time. It seems like sending short quips one after the other is effective. It’s not. The truth is, every short text means getting the attention of the recipient over and over again. It's better to just compose a complete text message, at least when it is work related.
5. Demanding an in-person meeting
There was a time when it made sense to check someone's body language by meeting in person, and I know you can pick up on other non-verbal cues. However, the time to meet at a location, arrange the meeting, and then re-schedule due to the inevitable conflict could be saved by chatting over video. Also, is it really necessary?
6. Saving the hard tasks for later
This is a hard one to squash. Some of us are avoidants by nature. Yet, saving hard tasks is not a good way to stay productive because you never know how long they will take, you'll stress out over them, and (most importantly) you'll probably work slower later in the day. It’s better to get the tough stuff out of the way.
7. Doing it alone
One killer for productivity is the loner mindset. This is the habit that says you just have to buck up and work harder to get stuff done by yourself. Nope. Some tasks require the help of other employees, and it's OK to admit you can't get everything done. Break the habit of grinding it out on your own.
8. Mindless browsing
I get this one. I do it. But I'm getting better. Mindless browsing is a mindless habit. You essentially just sit there and click on one site after another. How do you break it? The first step is realizing just how much it destroys your output. Do something worthwhile to take a break, like a long walk.
9. Taking too many trips to the coffee room
Now things are getting personal, right? This is a habit that many people have. We work for a bit, then get up and get coffee. Then, we do that four more times in one morning. I've changed my mindset lately. I sometimes go and get one cup, relax, talk to a friend, then grab another cup and head back to my desk. It actually works. Plus, I get the same amount of caffeine.
10. Liking stress
This is the worst habit to nurture in the workplace. It's sometimes easy to confuse being stressed with caring about something or working hard. Neither of those are true. Stress hampers your output because you won't think as clearly. Start the morning with a routine. Deal with stress by arranging your schedule. And, make sure you have stress relievers.