When we think about how productive we are, we think about things we aren’t doing. We should do more of this or more of that. But take a minute to stop and think about the things you actually are doing. Are they helping your productivity or hindering it? It may be surprising but a lot of the things you are doing day to day really aren’t helping you. In fact, if you stop doing them, you might actually become more productive. If not, you’ll at least save yourself some time.
Here are 5 things you should stop doing to be more productive:
Stop working so much
Work smarter, not harder. Spend your time more efficiently. Just because you are working more hours doesn’t mean you’re actually getting more done. In fact, people tend to slow down in productivity when they think that they have more hours to get something done. Going forward, set a schedule. You’ll find that you can actually get more done in a shorter period of time if you stick to a plan. Check out our post on “Living Life, Working Smarter, and the Window-Dressing of Long Office Hours.”
Procrastinating is productivity’s number one foe. When you procrastinate, you’re pushing things off into some far far away future. Hence, you’re not getting anything done. Stop procrastinating. You’re only making things worse because you’ll eventually have to confront it again. Instead, get it over with and move on to the next thing.
Stop saying “yes”
A lot of people have trouble saying “no”, even when they really should. This mean that we’re constantly saying “yes” and loading our plates up with more than we can handle. Why do we do this? Because we either want to be helpful or we don’t want to look bad. But in reality, it’s OK to say no. If you don’t have the time, you just don’t have the time. It’s better to reject a project than do a poor job at it. People will appreciate your honesty. Saying “no” is a skill every entrepreneur should master.
Stop watching T.V.
It’s amazing how much time we spend watching T.V. or surfing the web. We really don’t realize how much time we spend sitting on the couch watching mindless shows. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t watch any TV, because entertainment is necessary in our lives. The key is to watch it in moderation. Pick a show or two to watch every week, not ten. Check out Tim Ferris’ suggestions for going on a “low-information diet.”
Stop the small talk
Building relationships with your officemates is a good thing. But I know all too well that small talk can kill productivity. When you have a question for someone, do you always find yourself starting the conversation with “How’s everything going?”. Before you know it, you spend 20 minutes talking about how amazing someone’s weekend was. Small talk is nice and a necessary part of life. But be mindful of it. Don’t let conversations get off topic for too long because it can be difficult to get back on track.