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5 Ways You Are Unconsciously Harming Your Productivity

Updated on September 7, 2017

Are You Playing Your Best Game?

The definition of productivity has changed so much over the centuries. Today, more than ever, it's becoming harder to give a clear definition of what success and productivity are but one thing is sure, we are in ever greater need of productivity. Opportunities to realize ideas are much more real and frequent as technology and society are advancing. So, how do you make the most of the time you have? Some say it's focus management and not time management that makes the difference. If you have a feeling that you are not doing your best work there may be some leaks of productivity that are escaping your noticing, here are few things to be careful with.

1. Too Much Planning?

Planning is, of course, an important management skill and is essential for efficient use of your resources as well as for prediction and preparation for unexpected changes. However, too much planning can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and also exhausted if you waste too much time on creating extensive and detailed plans. Sometimes people are avoiding the actions by excessive planning. Think a little bit about the consequences, and try to find out if you are subconsciously avoiding to move towards the end goal with procrastination in the form of planning. Extensive and overly developed plans are less flexible and adaptable to changes in your environment so it's best to stick to concise and clear plans and view them simply as a tool to move you toward your goal.

2. Fear of Failure?

It is important to remember that not every project that you pursue in your life will be super successful and a lot of times you need to be emotionally prepared to fail. Every successful person can think of many times in their life where they failed no matter how hard they tried and how much time and resources they invested. Sometimes failure is outside of your control and you don’t need to beat yourself over every failure that happens to you. Sometimes there is a lesson to learn, and sometimes you just need to survive it and move on. If you are too afraid of the consequences and a negative outcome that can seriously cripple your productivity. Consider a change of goals or try to think outside of your current frame, look at the bigger picture and find a way to calmly accept a negative scenario.

3. Too Much Distractions?

Distractions are simply stimuli, and by themselves usually don't have the ultimate power of stopping you, but certainly, if you give them the attention they might very much slow you down or even be the cause of failure. They get the most power when the task at hand is boring or difficult, so we're naturally drawn to more fun or safe things to do. Distractions are calling you back to the "comfort zone" and not much valuable stuff is happening there. One way to take the power back from distractions is to approach your task with curiosity and a sense of discovery, learning and being creative even when that is not in the job description. That kind of work will give you loads of serotonin and dopamine and will keep your mind interested and focused. Other things you can do include, scheduling and take notes especially if you notice a reoccurring thought coming back to you, promise yourself you'll take care of it later. Sometimes you simply have to physically remove the stimuli from your environment so don't hesitate to do it if possible.

4. Busy Being Busy?

Remember that keeping yourself busy is not the same as doing efficient and effective work. Staying busy with a task associated with a certain goal doesn’t necessarily mean that you are moving closer towards that goal. Being busy without doing any real work is simply fooling yourself that you are working in order to ease your conscience. Sometimes you have to take the time to learn or get better at the task at hand, but it's easy to start getting used to the process and enjoy the doing so much so, that you forget about your goals. Make quick evaluations from time to time, to see if you are having progress or just seem to do work when you are actually stuck for a long period of time.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

— Thomas Edison

5. Not Following Trough?

It often happens that people who get enthusiastic about new projects and excitingly partake in creating the plans for those projects, often don’t follow through the plans they defined. The reason might be that they just got overly excited and optimistic about the projects that they planned, to the point where they created an illusion in their mind that those projects are close to accomplished, forgetting that planning is only the first step to a successful project. Only those people that are willing to do all the steps to the end goal will get there, and maybe not all of those steps are pretty and enjoyable. Another great problem of not finishing the project is that you won't be able to evaluate properly, and you won't identify the real problems which may lead you to repeat that same mistake on your next project, or many future projects.

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