20 Unhealthy Habits That Are Making You Much less Productive


There are a number of dangerous habits many people do each day, and analysis reveals these habits actually damage our productivity, particularly at work. The extra conscious we’re of how these items are affecting our productiveness, the extra proactive we could be at taking duty for our selections.

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On this listing, I will break down among the commonest examples of dangerous habits that stifle productiveness and a few methods you may break them.

Desk of Contents

Bad Habits Examples List

How to Break a Bad Habit

Unhealthy Habits That Are Making You Much less Productive

1. Speeding within the morning.

When the morning rush turns into a behavior, there could be unfavorable penalties to your sense of well-being and your general productiveness.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Whenever you begin off your day in a frenzied mind-set, you are not giving your mind any time to decompress, reset, and put together for the day. As an alternative, you are pumping it with adrenaline very first thing within the morning, which might trigger you to crash afterward.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

In case your mornings lack time and house to breathe, strive waking up 10–half-hour earlier and beginning off with a fast meditation session.

Strive the free app Headspace to begin: It offers you 10 free guided meditation classes, with the choice of signing up for a month-to-month subscription.

2. Skipping breakfast.

Whether or not you blame it on being too rushed (see #1) or simply not feeling hungry, consuming a well-rounded breakfast simply is not a precedence for lots of people.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Whenever you’re sleeping, you are fasting — which means you get up with low blood sugar. That low blood sugar is precisely why many people really feel drained, apathetic, and even a little bit irritable very first thing within the morning. It isn’t you; it is your inherent want for the sustenance that, you recognize, retains you up and working as a human.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

What about changing meals with espresso? Positive, the caffeine rush out of your morning espresso may also help conceal the signs of low blood sugar — but it surely will not fulfill your want for meals. In actual fact, it will probably trigger you to crash later within the day, which might actually hurt your productiveness.

Prioritizing a wholesome breakfast is a key to boosting productiveness for the remainder of your day.

Strive wholesome breakfast meals which have the fiber, protein, nutritional vitamins, and minerals that’ll provide you with power. Keep away from breakfast meals with added sugar like sugary cereal and pastries.

3. Tackling the simple stuff first.

It may be very tempting to get all the simple duties out of the best way first earlier than tackling the robust stuff. That is very true whenever you’re dreading that difficult job.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Tackling essentially the most tough duties in your to-do listing early on within the day is definitely higher to your general productiveness. Researchers have found that willpower is a finite useful resource that steadily decreases all through the day, in response to the e book The Willpower Intuition. So your mind is a lot better at dealing with the toughest duties firstly of the day whenever you’re extra centered.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Mornings additionally are likely to lend fewer distractions, making it simpler so that you can get issues accomplished. My colleague James Gilbert suggests that people “reap the benefits of morning hours to crank by means of meaty tasks with out distractions, and save any calls or digital conferences for the afternoon.”

Making a to-do listing is the best method to prioritize duties successfully. Everybody has their very own to-do listing model, so check out this list of the best to-do list tools and apps out there and see which of them work greatest for you.

4. Checking and responding to emails as they arrive in.

Electronic mail is meant to assist us do our work, not distract us from our work. So why does it all the time really feel like a productiveness suck?

Why this behavior is dangerous:

In an effort to remain on prime of a always overflowing inbox, it may be tempting to test and reply to each e-mail as quickly because it is available in. Receiving e-mail notifications in actual time definitely would not assist. However always switching duties between work and e-mail can actually damage your productiveness.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

That will help you focus in chunks of time, flip off these pesky e-mail alerts and restrict checking your e-mail to specified breaks.

In case you’re anxious about lacking an vital e-mail, strive choosing “Vital mail notifications on” and Gmail will notify you for emails it thinks are vital to you based mostly on previous exercise.

To show off alerts in Outlook: On the “Instruments” menu, click on “Choices.” Open the “Preferences” tab and click on “E-mail Choices,” then “Superior E-mail Choices.” Below “When new objects arrive in my Inbox,” clear the “Show a New Mail Desktop Alert (default Inbox solely) test field.

5. Checking social feeds.

The entire “simply distracted” factor goes for social media notifications, too. The urge to test for social media notifications makes it exhausting to test our Information Feeds “simply this as soon as” — and normally results in a number of senseless searching.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

As my colleague Scott Tousley says, “We’re head over heels in love with distracting ourselves.”

My colleague Alec Biedrzycki solves this downside by eradicating all social networks from his toolbar bookmarks. “Even when I do not imply to browse them, some uncontrollable impulse subconsciously clicks on them after I expertise downtime,” he says. “You may get sucked in with out realizing it (and even meaning to), so eliminating the gateway to these networks retains me on observe.”


Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

To show off notifications for social media so that you simply’re answerable for whenever you test these apps. You are able to do this within the apps themselves or within the settings of your smartphone.

6. Preserving your cellphone with you at work.

Increase your hand for those who panic whenever you notice you do not have your cellphone with you—whether or not you are sitting at your desk, attending a gathering, grabbing espresso, or heck—even going to the toilet. (I am responsible of this, too.)

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Smartphones are one of the distinguished distractions on the planet. And whenever you hold your cellphone with you at work, you are placing your productiveness ranges in danger.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance discovered that when individuals who have been performing a job that required intense focus acquired a textual content or name on their cellphone, that they had extra incorrect solutions and have been extra more likely to make fast guesses. Individuals who acquired notification of a name — even when they didn’t decide it up — have been 3X extra more likely to make errors. In actual fact, error rates were about the same whether or not or not individuals answered that decision or textual content.

Why does receiving that textual content or name damage our productiveness a lot? Researchers from that examine say that, though the precise second of interruption is short-lived, our ideas are disrupted for a significantly longer interval, making it robust to refocus.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

There are a number of other ways to curb your cellphone habit. The only is to show your cellphone on silent and put it away whilst you’re at work. If that is not chopping it, strive an app like Forest. This app will immediate you to plant a digital tree whenever you begin working, which “grows” over the course of half-hour. The extra 30-minute durations you do not use your cellphone, the bigger your forest will develop; however for those who depart the app, you will have to begin another time.

7. Black gap searching.

You realize the sensation whenever you seek for one thing work-related, then click on on a associated video, and earlier than you recognize it, you are knee-deep into TikToks about constructing a tiny home in the course of a distant forest?

Why this behavior is dangerous:

It is a harmful facet impact of getting a job that requires web analysis. It is one factor to mindlessly browse the online outdoors of labor or whenever you’re on a break. (In actual fact, I’ve a great list of the best sites and apps for wasting time on the internet for instances like these.) Nevertheless it’s one other solely whenever you’re imagined to be doing precise work.

That is what Tousley likes to name “black gap searching,” and it is change into one of the productivity-sucking psychological addictions on the market.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

You may really feel like getting misplaced within the black gap is inevitable, however there are instruments on the market that may enable you to stop it from occurring. For instance, StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that breaks the black gap searching cycle by blocking distracting web sites after a set period of time.

8. Working by means of your lunch break.

Consuming at your desk would not simply make you delinquent. According to HBR, it is also “dangerous for pondering, dangerous for creativity, dangerous for productiveness, [and] dangerous to your physique.”

Why this behavior is dangerous:

To be truthful, for those who’re amongst these individuals who take lunch at your desk as a substitute of taking a break, it might not be your fault. Maybe it isn’t constructed into your workplace tradition, or possibly you’ve gotten a deadline that is pressuring you to squeeze each waking second out of your day.

However taking the noon break could be mentally rejuvenating — and, in some ways, extra productive than plugging away at your desk between mouthfuls.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

One of the simplest ways to take a lunch break is to take away your self out of your desk or workspace and eat someplace else — like a cafeteria, restaurant, or public park. Higher but, construct your community at work by consuming with a colleague. (Here are some more ideas for what to do during your lunch break.

9. Not lively listening.

One of many unhappy penalties of being always distracted is the epidemic of solely half paying consideration — and pondering that is OK. You may suppose that any time another person is speaking and you are not, which means you are listening. However, as my colleague Andrew Quinn wrote in his post on bad conversational habits, it would not. “The true query is who’re you listening to when [someone else] is speaking,” he wrote. “I am keen to guess a very good portion of the time, you are truly listening to the voice in your head.”

That, otherwise you’re studying that e-mail that simply got here in. Or checking to see why your cellphone buzzed. Whenever you’re in a gathering, how a lot can you actually be paying consideration when your laptop computer is open?

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Not solely cannot listening rigorously price you relationships, it will probably additionally price you within the time it takes to make up for no matter data you missed.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Changing into an lively listener is a important a part of becoming more emotionally intelligent. This implies actually, actually taking note of what individuals are saying — and it is a talent that’ll set you aside in each your skilled and private life.

10. Saying “sure” to each assembly.

Being “within the zone” is whenever you lose your self in no matter you are doing — a lot so that you simply lose observe of time. It is one of many keys to each happiness and productiveness at work.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Nothing disrupts that movement like a gathering. Particularly an pointless one. It seems that the common individual wastes 31 hours in unproductive meetings monthly. These pointless conferences are ones the place you or the organizer is not ready, you did not actually must be there, and so forth.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Need to get these 31 hours again? Listed here are a number of options:

  • Make certain you are solely attending conferences you truly must attend. In case you do not see your self actively contributing to the group, politely let the assembly requester know that you simply will not have the ability to attend.
  • In case you’re the one calling the assembly, ship invitees a be aware, description, or some type of heads up alongside along with your calendar invites. This’ll give them an thought of why they have been invited or must be there. Strive an app like Do or Solid to assist hold your conferences organized and actionable.
  • Schedule conferences in bulk for those who can. It is a strategic method to make sure the time you do have outdoors of conferences is spent as productively as potential, because it takes individuals an average of 23 minutes to refocus after switching duties.

Talking of which …

11. Multitasking.

Multitasking can appear inevitable in our fashionable, ever-connected existence. However it will probably make us less productive and improve errors and stress.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Do not forget that dangerous behavior of not listening? Folks do this loads throughout conferences after they attempt to multitask — whether or not it is studying and responding to emails and messages, scrolling by means of their Twitter feeds, or one thing else.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Getting out of the behavior of multitasking is tough, however definitely doable. Eradicating notifications out of your work laptop (see #5) and placing away your mobile phone (see #6) are two nice methods to begin. Different concepts embody establishing a no-laptop rule for conferences, utilizing the Pomodoro Technique (the place you’re employed in sprints in a method that enhances the physique’s pure ultradian rhythm), and planning your day in blocks that embody built-in breaks.

12. Enjoying along with your cellphone earlier than mattress.

Have you ever ever lay in mattress with the lights off and spent a couple of minutes scrolling by means of your cellphone to reply to last-minute texts and emails, test Instagram, or scroll by means of TikTok? Now, increase your hand if these jiffy have ever changed into half an hour, forty-five minutes, and even an hour.

Think about how rather more sleep you possibly can’ve gotten that evening for those who’d merely gone to mattress whenever you first turned the lights off.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Nevertheless it’s not simply in regards to the quantity of sleep — it is also in regards to the high quality of sleep. Studies have shown that individuals who stare upon a backlit display proper earlier than mattress truly report having lower-quality sleep — even after they get simply as a lot sleep as somebody who did not take a look at their electronics earlier than mattress. It’s because presence and absence of sunshine inform our brains whether or not or not they need to launch the sleep hormone melatonin that makes you drained. As a result of the LED lighting emitted by the screens on our digital units is so just like daylight, it will probably trick our brains into pondering it is daytime, inflicting us to remain awake for longer.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

One of the simplest ways to interrupt this behavior? Purchase an alarm clock that is not your cellphone, and cost your cellphone in a separate room so that you keep away from the temptation of checking it altogether. In case you’re anxious about lacking an emergency name, then strive sending these last-minute texts 30-60 minutes earlier than you hit the hay. It will imply you get extra sleep and better high quality sleep, main you to function at peak productiveness the next day. (Read this blog post for recommendations on getting essentially the most out of your sleep.)

13. Ethical Licensing

Ethical licensing is a standard indicator of decrease productiveness at greatest and a quick observe to a performance improvement plan at worst. Utilizing a very good deed to cowl up a foul one is morally improper and may change into a foul behavior earlier than you recognize it.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

As soon as developed, any such dangerous behavior could cause you to procrastinate in your work, take shortcuts, miss deadlines, and depart your group in a lurch. It may appear far-fetched to start with to chop corners when no person is watching, however after it is change into a behavior, it will probably wreak havoc in your productiveness and work life steadiness.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

As an alternative of banking good actions to compensate for a poor motion each infrequently, decide to doing what you say you’ll and following the principles set out by your office. In case you really feel as if the rules go in opposition to your personal morals, convey this up along with your supervisor or think about searching for a brand new alternative.

14. Sitting down too typically.

In case you work a sedentary job, it might be tough to recollect to face up every now and then. That is very true for those who take part in a number of conferences and calls

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Sitting for too long is said to a number of well being points like hypertension, excessive blood sugar, and different metabolic points. All of this cannot solely result in a decrease high quality of life, however probably loss of life.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Standing up for a couple of minutes every hour can do wonders to your psychological and bodily well being throughout the workday. For one, you have interaction extra muscle mass whenever you stand which is nice for sustaining correct posture and mobility. Along with that, you will flow into blood movement which may also help you suppose extra clearly.

Use a device like a health watch to remind you to face all through the day. Or, use a free timer in your desktop or cellphone to provide you with a warning when it is time to rise up for a second.

15. Poor prioritization.

Have you ever ever woken up and instantly felt like duties, occasions, and requests have been occurring to you moderately than you selecting to take part in them? This may be the results of poor prioritization.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Whenever you’re not answerable for your priorities every day, it is unlikely that you will get to the duties and actions that you simply wished to. You will be in response mode—prioritizing every part for everybody else.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

To enhance your prioritization, there are a number of methods you may strive. Creating a list is a well-liked method to give attention to what you intend to get accomplished every day. Some individuals schedule every hour of their day in a digital calendar—outfitted with reminders and alarms to maintain them on schedule. Whether or not you go the handbook or digital route, prioritizing your day very first thing within the morning can break the dangerous behavior of poor prioritization.

16. Over-planning

Simply as we talked about above, prioritizing your day is a good behavior to begin doing to change into extra productive. However over-planning can result in some dangerous habits as nicely.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Planning each second of your day with out room for private issues, pressing duties, journey time, and a second for reflection can result in burnout—particularly for those who’re mindlessly following a script you have created for your self.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

As an alternative, get comfy with the thought of flexibility in your day. Goal for not more than 5 to seven must-do duties per day and depart a number of hours open. That method, you will be ok with prioritizing what it’s essential do whereas nonetheless having time (and a transparent thoughts) to assist others, or just relaxation and recharge for the subsequent day.

17. Being late.

Higher late than by no means, however by no means late is healthier. Punctuality is a talent that’s not innate in most individuals, it’s one thing all of us must study as youngsters and apply always as adults. The important thing to not creating the dangerous behavior of being late within the first place is to worth your personal time and the time of others.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Whenever you’re late, you not directly inform the opposite individual that your time is extra invaluable than theirs. And I get it—generally issues come up and being late is unavoidable. That is the place immediate communication comes into play to rectify the scenario. However for those who’re all the time working out of time, speeding by means of the door, or becoming a member of a gathering a minute or two not on time, this could possibly be a foul behavior within the making.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

Time administration greatest practices are prevalent, and nearly anybody you ask can have a tip or trick so that you can strive. One tip particularly that works nicely to extend productiveness is including buffers to your digital calendar. For instance, when you’ve got a gathering from 2:00 to three:00 and one other from 3:00 to three:30, add a 5 minute buffer between the 2 by both scheduling the primary assembly to finish 5 minutes early or begin the second assembly 5 minutes late. Doing this upfront when sending your assembly invites is vital—everybody will perceive what time the assembly begins and ends, even when it is an unconventional scheduling apply.

18. Gossipping.

Gossipping is a foul behavior that many people disguise as venting, however there’s a difference between the two. Venting is dialog with a starting and finish—normally accomplished in a protected house— that’s usually outdoors of labor with individuals who may provide assist or recommendation. Gossipping, however, is a poisonous dangerous behavior with the aim of being distracting and unkind.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Gossipping is understood to tank the productiveness of everybody who engages with it. Even for those who’re solely listening, you are spending time and power consuming unhelpful data when you possibly can be centered on work.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

In case you’re the deliverer of the gossip, take a second to replicate in your priorities. Are you cheerful along with your profession? Are there areas of your life the place you’d wish to see change? If sure, then discuss to a trusted mentor, good friend, or advisor moderately than gossip about others. In case you’re surrounded by gossip however wish to keep productive, take away your self from the setting by taking a stroll, transferring your lunch break to a special time, or assembly new individuals throughout the lulls within the day.

19. Not reflecting on objectives for the week.

Going from week to week with no time in between for reflection and objective setting is a certain method to see a productiveness dip sooner or later.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

With out reflection, it may be tough to see the place your development alternatives are, predict roadblocks, and be proactive in your work. In case you’ve ever heard of individuals feeling as if they’re on a hamster wheel, not reflecting on their objectives every week is a contributing issue.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

A easy 15-minute check-in on the finish of the work week could be all it’s essential develop a wholesome behavior of reflection and objective setting. Right here are some things to think about throughout this weekly evaluation:

  • Did I obtain my objectives for the week?
  • What made me comfortable?
  • What went improper?
  • Who did I assist/who helped me?
  • What am I grateful for this week?
  • What are my objectives for subsequent week?

20. Poor Communication

After we talk clearly and well timed, productiveness improves in consequence. However poor communication can change into a foul behavior for a lot of causes which not solely impacts you and your work however these you work together with, too.

Why this behavior is dangerous:

Poor communication as a foul behavior is fairly clear: sending last-minute emails or Slack messages, asking unclear questions, or leaving stakeholders out of the loop are all examples of poor communication that when accomplished incessantly or together with each other, can change into a foul behavior.

Learn how to break this dangerous behavior:

To interrupt the behavior of poor communication, hold two phrases in thoughts: be proactive.

In case you’re estimating {that a} undertaking will likely be later than anticipated, even by only a few days, talk it as early as you notice. Your group will admire you taking accountability, however they admire the truth that they will plan round this inconvenience nicely upfront.

1. Analysis the dangerous behavior.

Earlier than you may start breaking a foul behavior, it’s a must to perceive why the behavior exists to start with. Nearly all habits serve a necessity and have a set off. However these two issues could also be tough to uncover on the floor stage.

As an illustration, when you’ve got a foul behavior of being late, the necessity will not be that you’ve extra time in your day. It is probably that it’s essential prioritize your day higher. With a little bit extra planning, you can see your time-bound commitments approaching and provides your self sufficient time to satisfy them.

2. Set a practical objective.

When you perceive the necessity your dangerous behavior serves, you may set a practical objective round breaking the behavior. Breaking dangerous habits doesn’t occur in a single day, and it might not even occur within the first week of the strictest behavior administration practices. The important thing right here is the phrase “sensible.”

A standard objective for individuals who wish to break dangerous habits is to do it inside three weeks. However as soon as these three weeks are up, you will want a sustained sense of motivation to maintain up the great behavior. So set a objective round the way you’d wish to really feel when you drop the dangerous behavior. Sustaining this sense will enable you to keep the course and kick the dangerous behavior for good.

3. Change your routine.

Routine is likely one of the greatest influences of a foul behavior. This alone could make or break your possibilities of success in kicking a foul behavior.

If you recognize your thoughts goes on autopilot round 3pm at work, you will wish to interrupt that routine earlier than it begins. You are able to do this by setting an alarm, scheduling a espresso chat with a coworker, or taking a stroll to redirect your thoughts away from the dangerous behavior.

Though altering your routine alone will not cease the behavior in its tracks, it’ll make it more durable so that you can preserve the behavior which supplies you the house to switch these unfavorable actions with constructive ones.

4. Restrict alternatives to try dangerous habits.

The environments we spend essentially the most time in can affect each good and dangerous habits. To mitigate advert habits, it is vital to restrict the alternatives the place we may have interaction in them. This may increasingly imply altering your environment extra typically or limiting contact with individuals who encourage dangerous habits.

And this tip goes for each distant staff and in-office people. Unhealthy habits can develop in each environments, so it is your duty to be sincere with your self about when and the place dangerous habits usually happen with a view to enhance your productiveness.

5. Ask for help.

Nipping dangerous habits within the bud is tough sufficient, however going by means of it alone could make it rather more tough. Teaming up with a help community or an accountability accomplice may also help you ease into the change with out judgment or grand expectations.

Fairly than relying by yourself willpower, you may lean in your community for help as you get used to the adjustments you are making in your worklife to be extra productive. And whereas all of us try to be on our A-game, everybody has a foul behavior or two to interrupt, so make sure to return the favor to them when the time comes.

6. Implement a rewards system.

Breaking dangerous habits does not imply we should not be rewarded for our progress. In actual fact, utilizing rewards may also help you keep on the great behavior wagon for much longer than for those who relied on sheer willpower alone.

Make be aware of small niceties that you simply take pleasure in (and which can be applicable in relation to the behavior you are breaking) to deal with your self whenever you surpass a milestone. Simply make sure that you do not develop new dangerous habits within the means of breaking an outdated one, like spending outdoors of your price range, creating unhealthy wellness habits, or imposing in your family and friends that will help you have a good time too-frequent milestones.

7. Be affected person.

Final however not least, be affected person with your self. Since dangerous habits can have an effect on productiveness, it is sensible that productiveness might not improve instantly and even after you have hit your first milestones towards creating good habits. Improved productiveness comes with time, repetition, and incorporating a number of good habits persistently at scale.

Relating to ending advert habits and starting good ones, benefit from the journey. You will probably study loads about your self, your work ethic, and the setting round you to be able to stop dangerous habits earlier than they kind sooner or later.

This submit was initially revealed in March 2016 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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