5 Common Habits That Are Bottlenecking Your Productivity (And How to Avoid Them)
Have you ever felt like you’re working a lot, but not really moving forward? If so, you might have a habit that is bottlenecking your productivity.
It’s like when you’re pouring a drink from a bottle that has a tiny neck, and congestion builds up at the opening, making it flow out slowly.
Even if you have the ability to focus your attention and get into The Zone in a quick minute, you’ll be swimming against the tide if you have these 5 common habits which are bottlenecking your productivity. So, let’s get to it…
1. Taking action on every random thought
“An addiction to distraction is the death of your creative production.”
— Robin Sharma
Let’s say you’re working on a presentation, but then you remember that you need to send an email. What do you do? Do you keep working, or do your interrupt your workflow and start working on the other task?
Of course, this depends based on the importance of the task. But, generally, working like this can be a huge bottleneck for your productivity. I had this bad habit for quite a long time. To get rid of it, I started maintaining a distractions list.
Here’s how to do it: whenever you start working on a task, keep a writing device next to you. Whenever a distracting thought, reminder, or to-do list task pops into your mind, just jot it down, and then refocus your attention on your task. When you’re done with your task, review the list you created. Either tackle all those thoughts (whether they be ideas, reminders, or pending tasks) right then and there, bump them to the next day, or add them to your long-term to-do list.
This is a very powerful and effective concept, as I can say from personal experience. If you want to learn more about it, I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book Plus Habits.
2. Trying to multitask
“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
— Russian proverb
Multitasking is like an illusion. At first, it seems to promise great results. But, when you apply it to your life, you just tend to worsen your results.
A book that describes multitasking in the most accurate way is The ONE Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan. After declaring, “Multitasking is a lie,” they go forward to say this, “When you try to do two things at once, you either can’t or won’t do either well. If you think multitasking is an effective way to get more done, you’ve got it backward. It’s an effective way to get less done.”
As they go on to say, the antidote to this is to embrace single-tasking. Just work on one task at a time. Moreover, batch multiple similar tasks together and block out a few hours to get them done. This ensures the highest level of focus and least resistance.
3. Not fueling like a winner
“Hey, if you wanna win, you gotta fuel like a winner.”
— Dwight Schrute, The Office
Imagine a pill that boosts your productivity, that makes you feel better, and improves your health. Plus, it’s free too.
Unfortunately, such a pill doesn’t exist as of yet. But, an alternative does: sleep.
The truth is, even if you have the spirit and determination to get things done, not having the energy to follow through can be a huge bottleneck. You need fuel to start the fire. So, to be more productive, it’s important to take care of yourself in the right way. This isn’t only limited to getting enough sleep, but also eating well.
4. Making the same decisions every day
“It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
— Roy Disney
Have you ever experienced this: you start your day with a great amount of willpower and make powerful choices in the morning. But, as the day wears on, the quality of your choices degreased further. You become more viable to getting distracting and walking on the wrong path.
This is known as decision fatigue, and it’s a huge productivity bottleneck for most people. There are a number of habits you can adopt to lower it:
-Having a work shutdown ritual
-Wearing a predetermined go-to outfit every day
-Time-blocking or task-batching
-Weekly meal prep
-Following a solid morning routine every day
Everybody experiences decision fatigue to some degree, but each has their own unique way of dealing with it. You don’t need to do all of these things, just start with one or two. Once you see the results and are able to make positive choices for longer, you’ll love it.
5. Letting FOMO overtake your day
“If more information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”
— Derek Sivers
The truth about the Internet is that it functions on content. Everything that you see has one purpose: to hook you and to keep bringing you back again and again. When you’re online for several hours a day, there is a lot of content that you are feeding your brain. And if that continues all day long, without break, your mind tends to hit a block. By the time you recognize what has happened, a lot of damage has already been done.
The solution to this is: set limits to how much time you spend online daily, follow a limited number of people on social media, and prioritize content that adds value to your field of interest and creativity.
Plus, whenever you are on the verge of another binge session, just ask yourself: How will this help me? Does this require me to be creative and use my concentration? How will this affect my mood and mindset? Over time, your habits associated with content consumption should change dramatically.
It’s Inefficient to Work Inefficiently (Duh!)
We’re all looking for ways to increase our productivity, and usually, we achieve it by working longer hours. But, what most people don’t understand is that knowing where your time is wasted is just as important as knowing how to maximize the value of the time that you already have.
When it comes to productivity, simple is always better. Get rid of these bottlenecks — minimize, streamline, consolidate — and you’ll be able to slay your to-do list every day.
Have you found some other productivity bottlenecks that aren’t on this list? Comment below and let me know!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out 5 Common Timesinks That Are Destroying your Productivity (And How to Avoid Them!)