It doesn’t matter whether you work for someone else or work for yourself, it can be easy to slip into bad work habits. Here are 7 to avoid for better productivity and more work satisfaction.
Unfortunately the big fat report you have been dreading working on is not going to write itself.
Putting it off won’t make it go away, though the same cannot be said for your job or career if you continue to procrastinate.
All of the time management books say the same thing. Do the hard, awful thing first. In theory this makes perfect sense, so why isn’t it easier to do that hard thing? I think changing our language is a good start. If we stop thinking of our task as hard or boring (or whatever word we are using in our head to describe it) we would be more inspired to get started.
I wish I had all the answers on this one but the reasons why we put things off are complicated.
Best tactic – make yourself start anyway.
Break the task into smaller chunks of work to help you get through it.
Related post – How to Overcome Procrastination
Doing too many things at once
Years ago I had a performance review with one of my managers. It was the most unusual review of my career because my Manager had laryngitis at the time. The review was more a game of charades. Despite the charades, he got his point across.
At that point in my career, most of my time was spent jumping from one task to another. Whilst I was getting a lot of work done and he was happy with my general performance, what he wasn’t happy about was the odd task that was falling between the cracks. This is an unfortunate side effect of doing 10 things at once. Some small detail is bound to get overlooked.
With lots of hand signals and gesturing I got his message – Do one thing at a time.
More to the point, focus on one thing at a time.
Interruptions are often unavoidable. Either deal with the interruption or tell them to come back to you at a set time, and then go back to the task you were working on and complete it. Then you can move onto the next one. The important thing is to see the task completed to the end.
Related post – The Truth About Multi-Tasking
Working on unimportant tasks
It is possible to work consistently but get to the end of the day and feel like you have achieved nothing.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this yourself.
The fact is you probably completed several things throughout your day but they were tasks of no significant importance.
Make sure you are working on the correct projects. Know your key priorities and make sure that is where you spend the majority of your time
Spending too much time on social media
If you get paid to spend your time on social media that’s one thing but if you are a business analyst and you spend half your day between Facebook and Instagram, your boss could be scheduling you in for an unpleasant meeting.
Whether you are a blogger or an office worker social media can be very enticing. Your company however may take another view. More companies are choosing to ban social media sites from being accessed at work.
Other companies are monitoring how much time you spend on social media.
If you chose to use social media at work, make sure it is within company policy. Most importantly watch your time. Whether you work for a company or yourself, keep your usage within acceptable time limits.
Related post – Don’t Compare Yourself to People on Social Media
Spending too much time on the Internet
Perhaps you like to surf the net at lunch time. Again watch your time usage.
As more companies limit the types of websites that are allowable, be very careful about your web surfing chooses. Viewing undesirable or offensive sites can see you not only having to explain yourself to management but can get you fired.
Spending too long rewriting
In writing there are generally 4 steps to consider. Planning or brainstorming the idea, putting together your draft, getting the piece into shape with a rewrite and finally editing for spelling errors, correct punctuation and the like.
The place it can be easy to ‘tinker’ is the rewriting stage.
Whether you are writing a business report, blog post or article, keep the rewriting under control. Work out how long it will take you to complete the rewrite, put yourself on a set timer and get the work finished.
While setting a high standard for your work is commendable, wanting every last word to be perfect to the point that it’s holding you back from submitting work or meeting your deadline is not.
As I mentioned rewriting is an important part of the overall writing process. If your urge to make everything ‘perfect’ is paralysing you, you need to find a suitable middle ground where you can function.
Perhaps start by having a trusted friend or colleague read through your work. Obviously this isn’t a permanent solution but getting someone else’s positive feedback might help you work through your need for perfection. Once you are as happy as you can be with the work, send it off.
When you avoid these 7 bad habits you increase your productivity and work satisfaction.
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Great post! The one that stands out as having the greatest potential danger for newbies is spending too much time on social media. I schedule certain tweets using Buffer (a free app), but I think it’s vital to spend real face-time on Twitter and other social media platforms as well. I set my timer on my phone for 15 minutes four times a day with the last one around 9:00 pm or 9:30. On Fridays, I don’t use a timer and I don’t stress about how much time I spend on social media as long as it’s work/networking related and not personal.