Are You Making These 5 Productivity Mistakes?

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Do you long to finish your work projects in record time? Are You Making These 5 Productivity Mistakes?

Want to make some big breakthroughs when it comes to blasting through your tasks for the day?

We can become so easily ingrained in certain ways of acting, thinking, and doing, that we end up missing the larger picture when it comes to being productive.

That’s why it can be extremely helpful to take a solid look at our habits.

By doing so, we see where we are excelling, where we are satisfactory, and where we may need a serious tune up or course correction.

In this post, I review five common productivity mistakes you might be making on a regular basis…without even realizing it!

You focus on how many tasks you can complete in a sitting.

Productivity is not about checking off twenty items from your to-do list in record time.

It’s about checking off the *right* items from your to-do list at the right time using the most effective methods.

Being productive means you are appropriately following a carefully thought-out plan, have prioritized your tasks, and are using the best tools, resources, and methods to help you reach your goal. If you currently view all of your tasks as being equal, you should practice prioritizing each of your tasks in order of their importance and urgency.

You don’t take regular breaks.

When’s the last time you took your full lunch break at work? When’s the last time you made a dent in those vacation days you’ve been racking up for the past six months? What about logging off of your work email and unwinding with your loved ones over the weekend? Both your mind and body need to step away from the day-to-day routines every now and then.

Get lost in a good novel. Fly a kite with your children. Visit a new museum exhibit. Or stay in and have a lazy weekend filled with late mornings, pancakes, and reruns of your favorite TV series. When you return to your work, you’ll be rested, and relaxed. You might even find your time away has allowed you to solve a puzzling problem at the office, or plow through tasks with more energy than before.

You think productivity means perfection.

Ah, perfection. It’s certainly a nice thing to work towards. It’s important to remember that your productivity is always a work in progress.

Being more productive in your personal and professional life isn’t something that happens overnight. It happens after hours of testing new work habits, experimenting with new time management techniques and methods, and learning new skills. You learn what works for you (and what doesn’t) and continue to build upon those already vetted methods.

A better way to view productivity is that you’re consistently making improvements, each and every day.

You think technology will solve all of your productivity problems.

While technology can be a huge help when it comes to tracking our time, organizing our meetings, tasks, and to-dos, it can’t do it all.

No app will singularly tell you which task is the most important for you to focus on at Tuesday 10 AM when you’re pressed with five deadlines. No time tracker will tell you who hogs the limelight at the monthly staff meeting and how to get the meeting back on track. And no to-do list will pinpoint exactly why you procrastinated on that 50-page term paper.

Your best solution? Use your mind. Think about the problem, find possible solutions, decide on one, and take action.

You spend way too much time focusing on productivity.

What? Is it even humanly possible to spend too much time focusing on productivity? As a matter of fact, it is. While you can always learn about new productivity techniques, skills, and methods, there comes a point where the learning has to end, and you have to put what you’ve learned into action.

Even if you get to the action part and make great strides in your work, too much attention to your productivity levels can turn the work you love into a soul-crushing experience. It’s important to step back every now and then.

Remember why you are doing the work you’re doing. Are you helping others in need, creating a vibrant community, educating people, or helping yourself be the best person you can be?

How about you? Which of these productivity mistakes resonate the most with you? How have you learned from your mistakes and learned to beef up your productivity levels? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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2 Responses

  1. Jenn
    |

    This was a great article! Not taking breaks and having trouble prioritizing, as well as frequent (very frequent) interruptions are the things that kill my productivity. Will have to think more about prioritizing, especially the forms I am asked to fill out.
    Thank you!

    • Rashelle
      |

      I’m so glad to hear you found the post helpful, Jenn. You may find it helpful to make changes slowly, such as taking your full lunch or coffee break each day for a week or so. This way, you can build a solid habit, and get the rest you need. You’ll also have more energy and clarity when it comes to prioritizing! Let me know how it goes. – Rashelle