Productivity for me is full of ups and downs, like a roller coaster. One day I’m feeling super productive. I cross a ton of projects off my to-do list, and my mind is bursting with new projects to add to it. A day later, I’m feeling completely lethargic and unmotivated and am not remotely productive. I hope I’m not alone here, and I don’t think I am. Productivity is hard because there are so many small habits we pick up that are actually killing our productivity. Today I’m sharing a few that I’m most guilty of, and hopefully you’ll be able to work on these habits with me!
Not Planning Ahead
This is regularly a productivity killer for me. I’m a planner by nature. I like checklists. I like planners. I feel more organized and put together when I have a thorough list in front of me of everything I have to get done. And when I don’t plan ahead and don’t have that list, I fall apart a little bit. There are a few things I do to combat this. I carry a paper planner with me at all times. I use the monthly pages to plan my blog posts, and the weekly/daily pages to plan my life. I also carry a small notebook with me at all times for brain dumps or miscellaneous lists. Finally, I use weekly and daily planner sheets! I use my weekly planner to plan out, in general, what I plan to get done each day. I use the daily planner to more specifically plan out how I’ll break down my day.
Any other perfectionists out there will totally understand how this can be a productivity killer. I’ve definitely been there. I’m working on a project, and I’ve pretty much hit my deadline. The project is due, or I should have moved onto something else by now. But I just can’t. I do this whenever I send email newsletters or mailings for work. I will stare at the piece for an eternity, paranoid there’s something wrong with it. Paranoid I missed something like a spelling error or grammatical mistake.
While perfectionism can often be an asset (and might seem like a dream for those who aren’t perfectionists) often the time we spend trying to perfect our work isn’t productive time at all. At some point, we have to let things be and remind ourselves that we’ve done our best and that’s all we can do.
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Too Much on Our Plate
I don’t know about you, but this one tends to sneak up on me. I’m feeling super productive and getting a lot done. But then I crash and hit a phase of total burnout. And suddenly, I’m not productive at all anymore. It’s because I had too much on my plate! I promise you, putting a few fewer things on your to-do list won’t make you less productive. It will make you more productive because you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll be able to allocate more valuable time to each project on your to-do list.
These days, it’s hard not to be distracted. Social media is taking over the world. We’ve all got our email right on our phones (and when I’m on a computer, it’s open at all times). There are constantly new shows to binge-watch on Netflix. Basically, it’s difficult not to be distracted. We’ve all fallen down that rabbit hole. You take a break for 30 seconds to go on Facebook, possibly even to do something work related, and 30 minutes later you’re still watching videos and reading posts, none of which are business related.
It’s difficult to rid ourselves of distractions, and that’s why it’s even more essential that we create a distraction-free workspace for ourselves! If you’re at home working on your latest blog post, turn the TV off. You don’t need to background noise, and you’re just going to get sucked in. If you’re working on something important, close out social media. Finally (and I’m more guilty of this than anyone) stop having your email open at all times! There’s no reason for you to read each individual email as it comes in. Whatever it is, it can wait.
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Lack of Accountability
This one of my biggest struggles when it comes to productivity for anything blogging-related. Right now, blogging is a hobby. Sure, I make money from it. But that isn’t my main source of income and I don’t rely on that income to pay my bills each month. At work, I’m expected to finish my projects on time. My job relies on it. But what happens if I don’t write my latest blog post, or don’t design a new product for the Etsy shop? The repercussions are limited since I’m doing this only for myself. Because of that, I find giving myself strict deadlines keeps me accountable. I’m also upfront on my blog about my post schedule, so I feel more accountable to my readers. Finally, I talk about my goals and plans with my husband. Having someone to encourage me and push me to follow through is a huge boost to my accountability and, therefore, my productivity.
What habits are killing your productivity?
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