Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

3 Habits Making You Less Productive

3 Bad Habits that Make You Less Productive, Modern Simplicity, Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Do you ever wonder why you’re not getting anything done? You could be sabotaging your efforts with habits, not even realizing that you’re the one causing the damage. There are some habits that simply slow you down, decreasing both your accuracy and your creativity. The net effect is feelings of inadequacy and a decrease in daily happiness.

Your mindset affects your life so much — it’s imperative that you rewrite your brain with new habits designed to increase productivity and fulfillment. Here are three bad habits that may be sabotaging your attempts at a healthy, productive life.

Constantly surfing the Internet

This includes social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. It takes roughly 15 minutes of focus to fully engage in a task and get into flow, a term that describes a state of euphoric focused immersion in a task that engages you fully, leading to increased productivity and satisfaction. When you’re in a state of flow, you’re five times more productive than you otherwise would be. Shifting your focus to check social media updates, the news, email, or other web surfing, keeps you from ever reaching flow. Counteract this habit by training yourself with timers. Set a timer for 25 minutes just to work on the task at hand — no surfing the net, no checking email, etc. Check out the Pomodoro Technique for a cool system to get things done while still taking those much-needed breaks. 

Perfectionism

Y’all know I’m a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionists tend to freeze up when it’s time to get to work because we’re afraid we won’t be able to perform well enough — we won’t be able to get it right. Sometimes we procrastinate, citing the need for more research or more preparation (confession: like I’m doing with my new book right now). Procrastination is perfectionism in action. The problem is, it’s not possible to produce greatness if there’s nothing started to refine. Author Jodi Picoult summarized the importance of avoiding perfectionism perfectly: “You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.” I literally remind myself of this every single day. The trick to overcoming it — do the work and ship it anyway. You can’t become a master without practice. 

Indulging in the snooze button

I think we’re all guilty of this one at some point. Sleep is a complex process, a series of cycles of light sleep, deep sleep, dream states, and that last cycle that actually prepares you to wake. When you hit the snooze button, you cancel out that work that your body has done to prepare you for wakefulness. You’ll wake up later groggy and even more tired than if you’d just gotten up, a feeling that can last all day. If you really want to be productive, it’s important to give your body that headstart on wakefulness by getting up when your alarm goes off. 

The Super Simple Decluttering Trick You’re Probably Forgetting

The Super Simple Decluttering Trick You're Probably Forgetting. ModernSimplicity.org * Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Decluttering doesn’t always have to be done as a big production, with junk pulled from every available crook and cranny to be sorted, purged, and organized. You can do a little decluttering every day, by adopting one simple habit you may not be thinking about.

Use up what you have!

So many of us (myself included) have 

  • Multiple bottles of shampoo or body wash in the shower
  • Duplicates of different skincare products or make-up that we’ve tried and then moved on to the next new thing
  • Half-used bottles of various cleaners under the sink
  • Several rolls of packing tape at various levels of tape
  • Two or three of the exact same spice in your cupboard because you couldn’t remember if you had some so you bought more anyway

Sound familiar? 

I’m guilty of this one, especially when it comes to skincare products. They’re everywhere, as I try something for a week, then move on to a different one, always looking for the “perfect” product that will make me look 10 years younger (yeah right).

The solution?

  1. Get all those products out, and organize them by type. This includes all those little trial size cosmetic and skincare samples you got from Sephora or your last beauty box.
  2. Toss anything expired or that you know for a fact you won’t use. 
  3. Grab the bottle that’s closest to nearing empty. That’s the one you’re going to use until it’s all gone. Then you’ll move on to the next bottle that’s closest to nearing empty.
  4. Continue this process for each category of products you have that a stockpile of, both of the “open” variety and new products stashed in the back of the cabinet.
  5. Vow not to buy ANY new products in each category until your stash is gone. Then buy the one you really love and stick with it until it’s gone.

I know this sounds ridiculously easy, and it is, but you’d be amazed how many of us don’t do it. We can easily clear out cabinet and drawer space with very little effort just by following the “use it up” rule. 

The Super Simple Decluttering Trick You're Probably Forgetting, ModernSimplicity.org