5 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Be More Productive

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5 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Be More Productive Does it feel as if your productivity levels are waning at work and home?

Are you looking for a few simple ways to tidy up your daily routines so you can get back on track?

We don’t always realize it, but the smallest actions can have a big impact on how we live our lives.

Sometimes we need to stop and evaluate whether or not an item is truly helping or hindering our ability to get things done.

In this post, I offer five actions you can reduce and/or eliminate from your life to help free up your schedule, declutter your mind, and get more done.

You can think these actions as a type of productivity spring cleaning for your schedule and routines.

Let’s get started!


Answering unsolicited phone calls, mail, and emails.

We all know that answering phone calls, reading and answering email, and processing postal mail takes time. But have you ever wondered how much time you are wasting each week when it comes to dealing with unsolicited phone calls, junk email, postal mail, and queries and requests? Those minutes can quickly add up, not to mention having your concentration broken by these interruptions.

Put an end to this by ignoring unknown telephone callers (if the call is important, they’ll leave a message), deleting and/or shredding unsolicited messages or mail. You can also take steps to combat unsolicited requests from the source. Add yourself to do-not call lists, remove yourself from junk postal mail lists, and use strong spam and junk email blockers on your computer.

Forcing yourself to use old notes.

Notes are kind of like to-do lists: they are snapshots in time. They record and keep track of everything that happened at a particular time and place, be it brainstorming, meeting, or personal notes. While we hold onto notes for reference, we eventually have to evaluate our notes and decide whether or not they are worth keeping.

Now, this isn’t to say you should throw away all of your old notes. Instead, you may want to strongly consider reviewing a small collection of aged notes from a few months or years back to see if they still hold any value for you. In some cases, you may have “outgrown” your old notes by learning new skills and information, reaching your goals, and picking up a new hobby or activity. If you can’t honestly see yourself using your notes in the near future, it may be time to let them go.

Allowing instantaneous social media status alerts.

While it can be exciting to receive a message about a friend’s upcoming birthday party or a coworker’s work status, social media alerts can be downright disrupting to your daily work and general flow. It’s important to keep in mind that those same alerts aren’t going anywhere; they will still be there when you log into your favorite social media apps later in the day or week.

Go ahead and disable social media alerts on your cell phone and computer. If you’re still tempted to check social media accounts while you work, you can switch your computer and cell phone to airplane mode, log out of your internet or wi-fi connection, or use a software blocker to prevent you from visiting certain tempting sites.

Letting your workspace turn into a storage space.

Is your workspace more of a storage space? If you don’t have adequate space in which to work, it’s nearly impossible to layout design mockups, type on your keyboard, work on a DIY craft project, or process bills. Take an honest look around your immediate workspace, be it a desk, bench, or counter, and ask yourself: “Do I have the space I need in which to do my work?” If not, you may need do some decluttering.

Begin by removing any obvious trash, recycling, or items that do not belong in your immediate workspace. Next, take a giant step back, and look at your space objectively. Which item or items are unnecessary for your daily work and should be removed? Remove stacks of old files and archive them in a filing cabinet, move boxes of inventory into storage, replace tools in toolboxes, and place duplicates or overflowing office supplies on a shelf, or nearby closet or cupboard.

Making time for an activity that you’ve obviously outgrown.

That Tuesday salsa class no longer interests you, you have mixed feelings about going to your monthly book club, and you haven’t been to your daily Zumba class in months. What do all of these items have in common? You have naturally outgrown these activities and are pumping in way too much energy and time into them. Do keep in mind, outgrowing activities or interests isn’t anything serious, it’s just something that happens every now and then. Instead of trying to fight the situation, you can take steps to reevaluate your schedule, your interests, and goals.

If your dance classes no longer interest you, maybe it’s time to ask your instructor if you should move up to the next level, or try another dance style. Perhaps you might try another local book club or fitness class. Or you may decide to go laterally and explore writing books instead of reading them, or take up hiking outdoors. You may even decide to take a break from one or all activities to catch your breath and decide what to do next.

How about you? Which of these suggestions are you going to take to heart when it comes to getting things done? Which actions are you going to clean up and clean out from your daily routine? 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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