Take a very close look at your watch: the days aren't getting any longer. Productivity is a prized attribute among business professionals because time is money, money is time, and everyone wants to get home for a long weekend without compromising their work.

Sadly, some of the steps we take to boost our productivity are frankly misguided. Along with the bad habits that are not good for results, there's a whole lot of stuff we could do differently to increase quality of work while decreasing the hours we put in.

Here's a look at the top ways to change your workday to improve your productivity, courtesy of an infographic published in Quid Corner.

1. Take better breaks.

This one comes under the category of 'misguided productivity mistakes.' How many times have you worked right through coffee break, lunch hour, and home-time in order to hit a deadline? You're doing it all wrong. Skimping on breaks is a false economy.

"Our bodies send us clear signals when we need a break, including fidgetiness, hunger, drowsiness, and loss of focus," says Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project and author of The Way We're Working Isn't Working. "But mostly, we override them. We find artificial ways to pump up our energy: caffeine, foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, and our body's own stress hormones."

The brain is not designed to be brilliant non-stop. Give it a rest, let it cool, and you'll work faster and stronger when you get back to the desk.

2. Fight back against procrastination.

Procrastination is the enemy inside. Maybe you're a perfectionist or maybe you're a tiny bit scared of getting stuck in a challenging task. Well, University of Texas academics have shown that putting work off until the last minute leads to poorer results. And of course, if you wait until the last minute then you ruin any chance of getting finished early -- so it takes up more time anyway.

The dangers of procrastination may seem obvious, but lots of people still fail to take them seriously. The simplest way to move on is to divide your project into small achievable tasks. That way it's easier to get past the 'getting started' barrier and move swiftly through your to-do list without being intimidated by apparently insurmountable obstacles.

3. Stay in bed.

Wait, read this one through to the end. Stay in bed... until your natural time to rise. Four out of five of us work to schedules that conflict with our personal internal clocks. That means we get to work drowsy and/or finish exhausted. Depending on your type of work or your mode of commute, this can be physically dangerous as well as impacting productivity.

Not sure when your optimum workday should begin and end? Find your chronotype by using the quick quiz on thepowerofwhenquiz.com.

4. Collaborate.

Entrepreneurs tend to share the trait of believing they can do it all by themselves. But you have to be a pretty stunning self-motivator to egg yourself on as well as a small team of dedicated colleagues would. A duo of Stanford scientists found that "cues of working together can inspire intrinsic motivation, turning work into play."

Of course, there are moments to collaborate and moments when your personal and introverted space is preferable. But at the very least, try to find a sociable environment such as a co-working space to maintain an atmosphere of creativity and productivity.

5.  Cut down on meetings.

Everything in moderation, right? Teamwork and sociable environments may be intrinsically productive, but too many meetings and not enough 'doings' lead to decision paralysis and detract from the time you actually spend creating output.

Take a look at every meeting you have planned for this week. Could some of them be dealt with by email? Or a walk-and-talk? Or a workshop where decision-making quickly leads to collaborative productivity?

Productivity is the key to progress. It's in your hands if only you can figure how not to blow it! Which of these counterproductive sins are you guilty of?

Published on: Oct 10, 2019
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