Nothing hurts you more than your bad habits. They are a constant irritation and hamper your work life as well as all other aspects. You don’t know when you have picked up a bad habit until you feel the damage that they are causing in your life.
Bad habits are the root cause of a decrease in your efficiency, creativity, accuracy, as well as an increase in time consumption and lower performance. We could go on and on about the effects of bad habits on your life.
Taking back control of your life once you have given in to these habits is tough but highly crucial. And not just for your productivity alone. Several studies have found that people who have increased control over their lives tend to live happier and more content lives that those who don’t.
WHAT IS A BAD HABIT?
So, what is a bad habit anyway? Who decides which habit is bad and which one is good?
According to the American Journal of Psychology (1903) “a habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”
So a bad habit is a fixed way of thinking that is bad for your physical, mental, and spiritual health in any way. Some bad habits can be ignored or put up with, however, most of the bad habits cause a lot of damage to you as well as others. Controlling them will greatly reduce their effects on your productivity and allow you to enjoy your work more and for longer.
Here we list some of the worst bad habits that directly affect your working.
SURFING THE INTERNET WITHOUT ANY NEED
This is one of the worst habits that people have fallen in. Every time they open their laptops, workstations, or any other device, before they start any work, they spend time browsing to check the latest news, Facebook, your favorite team’s score or the latest deals that are offered.
Some of you might not know this, but it takes at least 15 minutes of constant focus for you to fully engage in your work or the task at hand. Once you have spent those 15 minutes doing your task, you enter the ‘zone’. Here you enter into a state where your productivity starts increasing as your complete and undivided attention is on the task at hand.
When you click in and out of work to surf the internet, you decrease your chances of entering the ‘zone’ and your productivity decreases because your attention is divided into a hundred different things. This is why you cannot concentrate on your task and are unable to work in a continuous flow.
CHECKING AND RESPONDING TO EMAILS ON THE SPOT
Now how can checking emails and answering them be a bad habit? You have to do that at work. There are a million emails that you have every day from colleagues, superiors, customers, vendors, and a thousand other people. You can’t just ignore them now, can you?
Nobody is asking you to ignore your emails or delete all of them to reach inbox zero (the elusive myth). What we are saying here is that people who are productive or who want to be productive do not allow the constant interruption of emails to derail whatever task they are doing at that moment.
You receive emails throughout the day. If you try to check them and respond to them immediately, you run the huge risk of decreasing your productivity exponentially. Instead, come up with a schedule that has a fixed time for you to check your email and respond to them accordingly. It could be once a day or twice a day, depending on your needs.
One of the things that take up a lot of your time, and you will see it almost everywhere in the corporate sector is the continuous meetings. Nothing kills time and productivity as meetings. It’s not just the actual meeting time that is wasted, but also the time leading up to the meeting as you are so stressed out by it that you can’t even think of doing anything else. Meetings also have a way of dragging on and on. Highly productive people and managers avoid meetings as much as possible. Also, if they do need to conduct a meeting, they create a complete agenda for them and make sure that they don’t take more time than was allotted to them. This way everyone is more focused and efficient. Another way to conduct a positive and productive meeting is to take it outside. Have a walk through the garden or the park and discuss whatever it is you want to discuss.
Now, this must be wrong. We all thought that multitasking was the epitome of productivity.
Multitasking has been known to decimate your productivity. Research has found that doing a single thing at a time is more beneficial and much more productive than dividing your time among multiple tasks at the same time. According to the research chronic multitasking is a daunting task for a human brain. The study observed that people who multitask were more prone to irrelevant distractions in their environment and were susceptible to irrelevant representations in their memories.
Research from Stanford University suggests that heavy multitaskers suffer from reduced memory. The study found that people who receive continuous information from multiple electronic sources cannot pay attention, recall information, or complete a task with focus as compared to others who work on one task at a time.
Another research conducted by Rescue Time found that an average person jumps from one task to another nearly 300 times per day and switches between different documents and pages around 1300 times a day. Talk about multitasking. Take care of this one and you’re golden.
DELAYING DIFFICULT TASKS
No matter how good or bad you are at your work, you have a limited amount of energy that you have to divide among the different tasks every day. The more we exhaust this energy, the lesser our mind has the capacity to work at optimum speed. This is called decision fatigue and it affects us all.
When we put off difficult tasks to the end of the day, we are creating a recipe for disaster as that is the time when our minds will be most exhausted. You couldn’t have picked a worse time to do the most important task of the day. What you need to do is to take care of all the daunting and difficult tasks in the morning when your mind is completely fresh and working at maximum capacity.
SUMMING IT UP
Some of these things might not seem important to you, but if you add them all up, they are the reason why you can’t complete your tasks of the day and have to take your work home with you. These are the reasons why you have a backlog of tasks in your to-do list.
So, get rid of these bad habits to ensure that you work at the optimum level and enjoy your life.