As the year continues and despite the recent setbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown of many parts of our work and social lives, most people are still looking for ways to build a more productive lifestyle.

Although many hope to achieve a more productive 2020, most will not achieve their goals. The unfortunate reality is the change is difficult and following through on goals is just very hard for many people. However, it is not impossible to have a productive year and reach your goals!

How to Kill Your Productivity

Avoid the following habits to improve your overall productivity. Try to avoid things that tank your productivity consistently. You know yourself best and can determine which tactics will work best for you.

1. Try to do it all at once.

It is challenging to accomplish all of your goals at one time. You should create a game plan and work towards your goals consistently but do not try to finish everything in one day. Good things take time to build.

2. Say yes to everything.

People will ask for more and more of your time and attention. If you choose to give time to tasks for others, then you will be less likely to accomplish your own goals. Do not say yes to everything. Instead, be realistic about what you have time for and just say no.

3. Forget to make time.

It is easy to assume that you will get something done on “X day.” However, you need to set aside the time, or it is less likely to happen. Many of us (including me) tend to push things back until we have time. That time may never come unless you create it on your schedule.

4. Multitask.

Instead of trying to do many things at once, focus on one task at a time. Accomplish each task to the best of your ability and then move on to the next thing. Multitasking is typically not a productive use of time. It takes time to switch between different activities which is time lost.

5.  Take on too much.

It is easy to overwhelm yourself with an impossible workload in the pursuit of being more productive. However, it is better to create a manageable schedule that you can work through. Otherwise, you may give up before you even start because you know you cannot possibly finish everything.

6. Leave the difficult tasks for later.

Instead of pushing off your least favorite task until the end of the day, try to accomplish the most significant tasks before lunch. By getting things out of the way early, you are more likely actually to do the difficult jobs.

7. Roll out of bed.

It is tempting to roll straight out of bed and rush to work. It is more beneficial to create a morning routine with which to start your day. The routine does not have to be complicated, just something that works for you. The right start to the morning can help to improve your overall productivity throughout the day.

8. Keep things to yourself.

Accountability is one way to improve your productivity. Find someone with similar goals that can help to hold you accountable to meet your goals and deadlines. It is more enjoyable to work towards goals with a friend cheering you forward. Choose someone that is a cheerleader and not a hypercritical presence in your life.

9. Maintain the status quo.

By doing the same things each day, you will likely earn similar results. If you want to boost your productivity, then you will need to change your habits for the better. Make adjustments to your habits that will allow you to improve your overall productivity.

10. Ignore your Calendar.

Sometimes it is easy to forget to maintain your Calendar. However, it is a good idea to have your entire schedule readily available to you. Otherwise, it is likely you may forget important tasks and deadlines that should be visible to you on your Calendar.

11. Set unrealistic goals.

Dreaming big is important. However, you need to keep your goals realistic to motivate yourself appropriately. For example, if your goal is to make $10,000,000,000 then do not attempt to make that in one year if you are starting from zero. Set more manageable goals that will lead you to your larger goal.

12. Never delegate.

It is tempting to try and do every single task by yourself, but it is unrealistic if you have plans to grow your business. Sometimes you need to delegate tasks to reliable employees and allow yourself to focus on the bigger picture.

13. Never outsource.

In the same line of reasoning, you need to be willing to outsource tasks that are huge time wasters for you. Instead of accomplishing small functions that can be outsourced, you may want to focus your energy on more long-term goals.

14. Ignore your body.

Your body is your most important asset. Unless you take care of it, it may be difficult to accomplish all of your goals. Remember to make time for self-care, exercise, and sleep. A happy mind and a healthy body can achieve more.

15. Work at all hours of the day and night.

You cannot work all day every day; it is just physically impossible. Instead of attempting to work 24/7, try to work at the times you have more natural energy. You should be able to increase your overall productivity by working during the times you are naturally more alert.

16. Keep an untidy workspace.

You do not need to create a Pinterest worthy workspace, but you should have enough space to accomplish your work. Try to keep things relatively neat and organized so that you can focus on your work instead of the clutter piled up around you.

17. Leave no room for downtime.

Everyone needs time to unwind. If you never truly relax, then it is difficult to start tasks with a fresh feeling. It is essential to take the time to wind down. Remember, you can always start fresh after a short break.

18. Waste time planning meetings.

It can be challenging to find a good time for a team to meet, but an insanely long string of emails is not the solution. Use Calendar to find a good time for everyone without the hassle of an endless email chain.

19. Attend countless unproductive meetings.

Meetings are a necessary part of many projects, but unproductive meetings should not hold a place in your schedule. You have too much to do to attend unproductive meetings.

20. Never ask for help.

No one knows the answer to everything. Instead of stressing out about asking for help, just ask as soon as you realize you have a problem. Do not waste time agonizing over a question that you cannot fix by yourself, ask a more knowledgable coworker to assist you.

21. Become a vampire.

Do not ignore the sunlight for too long and end up like Count Dracula. Sunshine and time outside can help you to boost your productivity. Take the time you need to absorb some vitamin D and the motivation to accomplish your goals.

22. Check your email constantly.

Answering emails throughout the day can be a time draining activity. Although you should attempt to answer emails in the morning and the evening. Avoid checking your email too many times. It is easy to get sucked into a problem that can wait until your current task is complete.

23.  Wait for the perfect moment.

Finished is better than perfect. If you are struggling to finish things because it is just not quite perfect, you need to let go of that habit. Do not waste time on tasks that are already completed believing you the work could be slightly better. Take pride in your work, but continue to work on new responsibilities.

24. Watch more TV.

Avoiding TV is an excellent way to increase your productivity. Indeed, Americans watch an alarming amount of TV. Instead, use that time to work on accomplishing your goals.

25. Wake up late every day.

Although you do not necessarily need to get up at the crack of dawn to be productive, it is helpful to wake up early. The more time you have each day, the more you can potentially accomplish.

Updated April 2020