Productivity Don’ts: Things To Stop Doing

Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.

Back in 2007, Mark Shead over at Productivity501 ran an article: 17 Things you Should Stop Doing. I come back to this list frequently.

As I think about what I have learned about productivity, I came up with a list of my own: things I had to stop doing to be more productive.

  1. Don’t multitask. Multitasking actually robs us of our productivity. Focus on what you are doing, one thing at a time, and you will find yourself getting more done, faster and better.
  2. Don’t manually process if you can help it. Our technological age offers many advantages. Use them to your advantage.
  3. Don’t be a slave to technology. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it.
  4. Don’t leave details out. When noting something, give details. Nothing is more frustrating than coming across an item in your to-do list that has incomplete information. “Call John.” John Who? Why call?
  5. Don’t tweak constantly. Fiddling with the system is a great way to not actually get any work done. And the worst part is it feels productive, because you are working on your system.
  6. Don’t leave things to memory. Writing things down frees our brains up. Trying to remember something often leads to forgetting altogether, or to remembering at a time where either you can’t do anything about it, or it’s too late.
  7. Don’t leave things everywhere. Have designated places for things, and you won’t have to look for them.
  8. Don’t do things that aren’t worth your time. You may not be the best person to do the job. And some things are just not worth doing. Just because my mother irons her dishtowels doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to as well. (I don’t).
  9. Don’t say yes out of emotion. Just because someone asks doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Say no.
  10. Don’t lose sight of the important stuff. Never put your loved ones on your to do list.
  11. Don’t forget to live. The point of being productive is so we can lead full lives. But if all we are doing is cranking widgets, it’s time to reassess.