7 Habits of Highly Unproductive People

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Photo by mikebaird

We’ve all heard about the habits of productive people. But productivity is as much about what you don’t do as what you do. Here are 7 Habits of Highly Unproductive People. Do any sound familiar?

1. Procrastination

Why do it today if you can put it off? Procrastination takes its toll in the stress to complete things under deadline, plus the lack of time to do quality work. If procrastination is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. 29 Ways to Beat Procrastination Once and For All (Stepcase Lifehack)
  2. Dead Simple Guide to Beating Procrastination :zenhabits
  3. 5 Ways To Beat Procrastination – Business Insider

2. Disorganization

If you can’t find the things you need, you are going to waste time looking for them. It may not seem like much, but consider the math: if you spend 2 minutes every day looking for your keys, you would spend over 12 hours every year just looking for your keys! Now add in all the things you routinely look for every day or two. Not knowing where things are can take away major chunks of productive time. If disorganization is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. How to Get Oragnized – 100 Organizing Tips – Woman’s Day
  2. How to Be Organized (WikiHow)
  3. Organizing 101: Where to Start (SimpleProductivityBlog.com)

3. Distractability

I saw a funny t-shirt once that said, “I don’t have a short attention span, I just… Hey look! A squirrel!” It isn’t limited to those people with ADD, either, all of us are pulled in so many directions so often that our attention spans suffer. Distractability is a major productivity sapper. Every time your focus changes, you must spend time when you come back to it to figure out where you were. These time shifts add up. If distractability is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. How to Focus: Five Levels of Mental Focus You Might Not Be Aware of (Life Optimizer)
  2. How to Rebuild Your Attention Span and Focus (Lifehacker)
  3. How to Get Things Done and Stay Focused — Inc. 5000

4. No Plan

If you were to embark on a cross-country journey, you have to have some idea of where you are going and how you are going to be there. Without any sort of a plan, you could head off in the wrong direction, or wander aimlessly in circles. Even if you choose your destination and pick your roads as you go, you will still be in better shape than having no plan at all. Even with that analogy in mind, people still start projects without knowing what they are trying to accomplish, or even the vaguest noting of how to start. You have to have at least a plan for the next step if you are going to be productive. If planning is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. How to Plan Your Day the Time Management Way — eHow.com
  2. An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day – Peter Bregman – Harvard Business Review
  3. Why You Should Plan Your Day the Night Before (Lifehacker)

5. Keeping Everything In Your Head

Some people are arrogant enough to think they can remember everything. Very few are the people who actually have the memory to pull this off. Keeping things in your mind is like keeping water in your hands. Things will leak out, and then you will scramble to recapture what you have lost. All this can be solved by writing things down. Having evening in a “trusted system” as David Allen outs it, gets it out of your head, decreases the likelihood you will forget something, and gives your brain a break to think about really important stuff. If writing things down is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. 7 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Write Things Down (The Positivity Blog)
  2. The Power of Writing Things Down (Dumb Little Man)
  3. The Whys of Productivity: Writing Things Down (SimpleProductivityBlog.com)

6. Scattering

Scattered materials are not necessarily disorganized, but they are all over the place. That means that you don’t have the tools on hand to do the job before you. Having to scurry to fetch the right tools while you’re working means that you lose time. It is better to use the French concept of mise en place and collect everything you need ahead of time. This enables you to do the job without having to stop and restart. If scattering is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. Mise en place – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. How to Be Prepared (Top Success Site)

7. Reacting

Even if you have a plan, reacting to those things around you can derail you quickly. It is always better to come from a place of action rather than by going with the reaction to events going around you. If reacting is a problem for you, check these resources:

  1. Action versus Reaction — Dragos Roua
  2. Do You React Consciously and Responsibly? (Stepcase Lifehack)
  3. 5 Reasons To Choose To Act Instead Of To React — Choosing Reality – Attract Abundance Through LOA

How many of these 7 Habits do you have? Which one (remember, I said ONE) will you tackle first? :)

Photo by mikebaird



    • LJ Earnest says

      I think that all of us, no matter how productive we are at peak, can sometimes fall back on these. Mine? Right now it is overwhelming *stuff*. I need to work on organization.