3 Habits That Will Decrease Your Work Productivity

In our efforts to be more productive at work, we often focus more on what we can do to be more efficient at work and forget about the work habits we’ve got that are negatively affecting our work productivity.

Ingrained work habits are the hardest to change and can be what’s preventing your new strategies from making you more productive. Hence, knowing your bad habits and working to break them can positively impact your work efficacy.

Here are three common habits that you should get rid of right away to be more productive!

1. Notification/Email Grazing

You know the drill. When that red circle pops up on the icon of any of the communication platforms we use, we click on it and divert our attention to reading that latest notification.

The point of doing this is to make sure we don’t miss out on what’s important, but what ends up happening is: We get distracted by minor news/issues and miscellaneous tasks and our minds stray away from the work at hand. We start to think about how to handle these side quests that have popped up instead.

Although reading notifications technically doesn’t take up much time, what you do after—coming up with replies, doing as asked, or even just thinking about the message sent—is the reason your to-do list for the day remains uncompleted.

Receiving notifications in real time can add stress to your work process as each ping makes you think your workload is increasing, even if most of it is just additional information about ongoing projects/tasks.

To get rid of this habit: Turn off all incoming notifications on your computer and phone when you are in the midst of completing scheduled tasks. Schedule specific times in your work day for processing and responding to these notifications and emails. 

2. Too Much Thinking, Not Much Doing

Do you find yourself procrastinating at work?

Spending more time thinking about getting the job done instead of actually doing it because you’re scared of messing up or you’re waiting for the perfect moment to get started?

This happens because we have high expectations of ourselves and we want to produce a high-quality piece of work. Somehow, we think that it’s easier to turn nothing into perfection than to make something ordinary more perfect.

We end up spending more time planning to complete a task instead of actually doing it, thinking that a good start makes for a good end.

The truth is, thinking about completing a task doesn’t count as getting it done. Too much mental planning can actually reduce your productivity and make you more nervous about getting started. Moreover, if the task you’re procrastinating on is something you haven’t done before, you’re bound to encounter hiccups along the way regardless of how well you’ve thought it out.

To get rid of this habit: Just start. Doing something that will help you begin to complete your task is what makes you productive—thinking about doing it doesn’t. Once you’ve gotten started, that’s when it’ll be easier to refine and perfect your work.

3. Rounding Up Meeting Timings

Think about the last meeting you went to. How long was it supposed to be?

Half-an-hour? One hour?

Many people default to arranging meetings that end in a nice round number. But the truth is, we don’t usually have that much to do in a meeting that requires a round number of minutes. Forbes notes that an hour-long meeting typically only has 40 minutes of content. So what happens to the other 20 minutes?

When the meeting time is rounded up like that, we tend to drag out the meeting and dawdle on parts of the agenda that could have been completed in a shorter amount of time.
To get rid of this habit: Where possible, schedule odd minute meetings—25 minutes instead of half-an-hour, 50 minutes instead of one hour. Calculate just enough time needed for each item on your meeting agenda to get this number. An odd minute meeting tells your team members that you’re aiming for efficiency and encourages them to avoid wasting time and get straight to the point.

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