You’re not alone if you get discouraged at how little you get done during your workday. We all tend to shoot ourselves in the foot in our relentless desire to become more productive. According to a study, only 26% of people leave the office having completed the tasks they set out to achieve. It’s natural to feel like you’ve been busy yet haven’t accomplished anything. Of course, life isn’t about being a productivity robot who makes the most of every second. However, most of us want to feel well-organized and efficient when it comes to achieving crucial objectives and resolving critical issues. Understanding the mental mistakes that keep us from focusing on and accomplishing meaningful work is a solid starting step.
Here are a few:
Table of contents
1. Saying ‘yes’ to everything and everyone 🔰
Do you have a tendency to say ‘yes’ to everyone? We always want to please people and be flexible, but we should never sacrifice our own productivity to do so. Remember that whenever you say yes to someone else, you’re also saying ‘no’ to yourself. While it’s difficult to say “no” when someone comes over to ask for a “quick favor,” scheduling to deal with it together at a later time will help you stay on track and focused.
Instead of saying “yes,” master the art of gently expressing “no.” Use sentences like, ‘I’d love to help you with whatever you’re telling me, but my plate is already full.’ I’m afraid I won’t be able to take it just now.’
2. You overestimate how much focused time you have in a typical day 😩
Long-term creative undertakings, strategic thinking, and the development of skills and relationships all necessitate large blocks of focused attention. It’s easy to believe you have all day or even several hours to complete that type of task and then structure your priorities around that notion. Meetings, email, Slack, phone calls, and “quick questions” take up a significant chunk of our time at the office for many of us. Without appropriate planning, the humdrum aspects of daily living will eat up more of those hours. Dinner, pets, children, and showering all require time. Aggregated data from the time-tracking app RescueTime suggests that people have as little as one hour and 12 minutes of uninterrupted time in their day.
Be honest with yourself if you want to be productive in the evening. You can more brutally select your absolute top priority and guard yourself against distractions for particular periods if you recognize the short time you’ll have for focused work. When you have 60 to 90 minutes to spare, try to concentrate on your long-term objectives (as tempting as it might be to focus on more time-sensitive routine work). Remember that even the most difficult and essential undertakings include some administrative activities (such as finding a reference when writing a book) that don’t require as much effort or creativity. Identify such to-dos and fit them into that extra 15 minutes you have between meetings or those lengthier free gaps during which you believe there will be interruptions as a workaround for having limited time for the harder tasks. Calculate how much time you’ll need to complete those daily tasks, and how much time you’ll have leftover for additional tasks.
3. Waking up early ⏰
Sounds bonkers we know but hear us out. You’ve probably heard that adding an hour to your day is as simple as this: Simply wake up 60 minutes earlier than usual.
Although “wake up early” is a popular piece of productivity advice, it won’t work if your new schedule causes you to sleep less. (Which, as you’ve probably heard, wreaks havoc on your short- and long-term memory, focus, decision-making ability, math processing, and cognitive speed.) Increasing your sleep will only make you more productive. Period.
Sure, you could get more sleep if you went to bed an hour earlier, but getting our body adjusted to a new habit is frequently easier said than done, and you wouldn’t be giving yourself any extra time. Everyone’s body clock is different, and they are most productive at different times of the day.
So, while staying up late or waking up early to finish a project is sometimes necessary, it’s not a viable plan for increasing your long-term productivity. Get adequate sleep and you’ll be able to accomplish more and better work in the long run.
4. Not taking breaks 💪
Taking breaks is like playing notes on a piano. Music will not make sense if there is no rest in between. However, if you pause too long, you will lose your audience.
When you’re incredibly busy, it may seem like the most logical thing to do is to keep working without taking a break – but it’s not. Taking sufficient breaks might have a significant negative impact on productivity. According to a study conducted by DeskTime, a time-tracking tool, being tethered to your work actually reduces your productivity. Julia Gifford, who helped run the study, says, “The most productive people work in ‘sprints’ for 52 minutes at a time, then break for 17 minutes,”. The secret, according to Gifford, is to stay totally focused during the sprint and then entirely turn off during the break. This rhythm allows you to get as much done as possible while reducing the risk of burning out.
We are not machines, and we require rest, relaxation, and ample time to recharge. Ignore your humanity at your risk; working long hours without taking adequate breaks can lead to stress, anxiety, insomnia, despair, and a slew of other serious health issues.
5. Multitasking 🧮
Have you heard anyone tell you that multitasking is beneficial? If you did, it would be prudent to disregard it. Why? Multitasking, while it may make you feel more productive, is actually a huge productivity killer. Flitting from job to job necessitates refocusing each time you restart a task, which can take up to 30 minutes according to a study.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your mind can only concentrate on one item at a time. If you can concentrate on that one item for a long period of time, you will acquire focus and, eventually, flow. But, if you’re continually switching from one work to the next, how will you know which one is completed? The solution is straightforward. None! Instead of attempting to accomplish too much in a short period of time, do less and focus on one task at a time. When you’re making phone calls, don’t think about what you’re going to do next.
Don’t worry about your work when we’re instructing your personnel; just instruct. This is a good habit to get into. If you practice one thing at a time, productivity at work will reach much higher than you ever imagine possible.
6. You think about change in an all-or-nothing way
We often suspect that changing a habit might improve our productivity, but we are psychologically averse to making the change. For example, you may believe that getting more sleep will help you be more productive, but you’re a night owl who scoffs at the suggestion of going to bed earlier. Rather than focusing on what you’re averse to, seek for changes you’re willing to do that aren’t too difficult. Using blue light filters on your gadgets, or spending the last 30 minutes of your workday preparing the next day (making a transition), you may be able to easily adjust the time you want to go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier.
You won’t make any changes if you believe you have to modify your bedtime by two hours or nothing, or if you’re mainly worried about not having to give up sleeping with your phone. Collect the small victories that don’t set off your psychological defenses. When you make a small adjustment that works, your willingness to make more changes will almost certainly grow.
How TimeTackle can help with these problems 🏁
Time tracking is indispensable to everyone, but it’s also monumentally time-consuming and frustrating. It feels inherently unproductive but is also very cognitively difficult. It is hard to keep track of what you are doing and where especially the small-time and energy leaks– no one can remember in precise detail what they did after lunch 3 days ago.
TimeTackle is a time tracker which allows you to measure your time spent on tasks in real-time and analyze whether you’ve achieved the goals you intend to. You can easily manage multiple calendars from one calendar directly. That way you will be able to track hours spent efficiently.
What makes TimeTackle even more special is that it uses TimeTackle’s automated Google Calendar to MS Excel, Google Sheets, or CVS exporter and generates custom reports that give you a detailed breakdown of where and how you are spending your time. This way you can eliminate small time-leaks and solve many of the problems stated above.
To know more about TimeTackle’s features and how you can get the most out of them visit the link: TimeTackle Features
Being productive is tricky and honestly, no one can achieve stardom productivity. We are human and mistakes are what make us human. Be kind to yourself when you make mistakes and give yourself a pat on the back when you avoid a mistake.