We juggle everything! Often stumbling through our to-do list while multitasking a million other things. Be honest, you know that you’re guilty of texting your best friend while meal-prepping and trying to reply to an urgent email… at the same time. We’re all guilty of it.
This happens when we become overwhelmed with our responsibilities and put unrealistic pressure on ourselves to get it all done. While being busy has become a part of everyday life, our ability to be productive is what determines if we sink or swim. In truth, we are more distracted than we’d like to admit and it might be time to take notice of the time-sucking habits that make us unproductive.
5 habits that make you less productive
Yes… this one had to be included. Even with all the benefits that come along with having a smartphone, it is still one of the top reasons that we are unproductive. Just stop for a moment and consider how much you instinctively check your phone, in an hour, much less a day. From tagging friends on Instagram posts to sharing your opinion about the president’s latest tweets, your phone usage quickly goes from a way to stay informed to your #1 distraction.
- Don’t get stuck looking through your phone first thing in the morning
- Put your phone on DND or airplane mode when completing important tasks
- Turn off your phone altogether if you feel like you must check it frequently
- Silence notifications on text messages and apps
When you’re already feeling overwhelmed with the four guest blog posts you’ve agreed too, you may want to say no to the next request. Thinking of joining the running Meetup that meets at 5am? You might want to rethink that decision if you already know that you’re not exactly a morning person.
Stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything. Give yourself permission to be okay with having boundaries and protecting your sanity. You’re not superwoman. While you’re contemplating what else you can add to your ridiculously busy schedule, you may want to stop and consider that your productivity is already suffering because you’re in a state of overload.
- Check your planner before agreeing to anything new
- Be honest with yourself about what else you can realistically handle
- Don’t feel bad or guilty for having to say no
- Never sacrifice self-care for the sake of adding more stuff to your plate
- Delegate tasks that don’t need your direct attention. That server problem at the office? Let your managed IT services handle it. Put in a help desk ticket and get back to work!
Create a functional space
Let’s be honest, you can’t maximize productivity in a cluttered environment. This doesn’t mean that your home office will be flawless or that your cubicle will always be pristine – with papers perfectly lined up and in order. But it does mean that you have a clutter threshold that you avoid at all costs. You know, that level of chaos that impedes your productivity and effectiveness. Bottom line – The most important thing is that your space inspires you, boosts your creativity, and motivates you to get stuff done!
- Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to spruce things up
- Buy or repurpose cute storage containers to keep things in order and maintain a cute and inviting space
- Purge regularly. We all have a tendency to accumulate stuff… get rid of things you don’t need or use
Always have a plan
Every successful endeavor started with a plan. Being busy might be unavoidable but that feeling of overwhelm you’re experiencing is likely caused by the lack of a detailed plan of action. Take control of your to-do list by creating a schedule. Give each task a time limit, so that you don’t find yourself endlessly working on the same thing.
- Detail your plan in your day planner or on your favorite device calendar, so that it’s always easily available
- Schedule tasks by priority, importance, and due date
- Reward yourself as you check things off your list
- Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure by planning too much
- Check out the Pomodoro Technique. It’s designed to maximize productivity and efficiency with frequent breaks and a targeted task list.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Want to know the fastest way to feeling not-so-good about your accomplishments? It’s simple, keep comparing yourself to others. If the reason you’re not celebrating your recently published article is that you can’t stop thinking about how Nicole got a book deal already and you both started on similar paths at the same time, it’s time to gain a little perspective.
We’re constantly connected and that’s not always a good thing. All we have to do is open an app to see someone’s recent milestone or success. It’s hard to ignore but if it’s distracting you or keeping you from maximizing your own productivity, you may have to do just that. Sometimes we need to employ a little tunnel vision to stay focused on our own goals!
- Intentionally set aside time to disconnect from status updates and social media (including LinkedIn)
- When you’re feeling discouraged start planning your next move. Channel that negative energy
- Create a tribe of women that want to see you win. This may mean starting a mastermind or just connecting with others that are on the same path as you