Top 10 Productivity Killers

Are you struggling to get things done everyday and still remain busy? Surprisingly, the reason for this busyness is not just about the work itself. It’s also about a large number of internal and external factors that kill our productivity.

Here are top ten productivity killers to watch out for:

  1. Surfing endlessly: The seductive nature of internet allowing people to click from one hyperlink to another is the biggest consumer of time and attention. The quest to find useful information on internet often lands up feeding our curiosity. Here is a handy solution for it.
  2. Checking e-mails often: Checking e-mails multiple times a day can suck away a lot of attention and productivity. Unless you are in a customer support type role, habit of checking e-mail frequently might easily turn into an obsessive compulsive behavior. Here is a solution to this problem.
  3. Meetings: Having too many meetings or long meetings can be very toxic and detrimental to getting anything worthwhile done. Try to keep meetings to minimum, shorten meeting times and do a lot of background work before meetings to save time and energy.
  4. Frequent distractions: Constantly ringing cellphones, messages in im’s and frequent interruptions from co-workers are most common types of distractions. These distractions can be avoided by getting a pair of headphone and putting them on (even if you are not listening to music), taking your instant messenger to invisible mode and turning off all alerts on you cellphone.
  5. Social networking sites: Apart from ‘shares’ and ‘likes’, games played on social networks have added a new dimension to amount of productive time lost. When you are spending time on social networks or playing games, someone else is making money at the cost of your time and energy.
  6. Disorganization: For many people, frequent source of procrastination comes from not being organized. An immediate impact of disorganization can be seen in the mental horsepower being lost in dealing with the uncertainties, surprises and urgencies.
  7. Lack of clarity and definition: In knowledge work, a big part of work is to define the work itself. If you don’t think and develop enough clarity on what needs to be done, it usually consumes much more time and effort than needed. A big productivity killer.
  8. Unrealistic expectations: This is an extension of previous point but deserves it’s own place. Since there is a lack of clarity about the tasks and activities at hand, we tend to make unrealistic commitments to ourselves and others. When the expectations are not met, they turn into failures resulting in unproductive behaviors.
  9. Multi-tasking: When you try to do everything, you end up accomplishing nothing. Multi-tasking is the surest recipe to not getting anything worthwhile done.
  10. Too many things on mind: Many people overly utilize their mind to remember and process everything at the same time. Usually there is a inverse relationship between how much is on your mind and how much it gets done.

Unless you do something about each of these productivity killers, they can become a way of life and pave the way towards chronic stress and never ending busyness.

Want to get rid of these productivity killers? Find out more .


The 5 Steps Method to Form a Good Habit

Your net worth in the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones – Benjamin Franklin

We all struggle to form good habits while we realize how vital they are to our success and fulfillment. No matter how good our intention is, we keep failing to wake up early, exercise, meditate and do things which can truly elevate our life.

I figured out a 5 steps approach to forming a good habit and how I became successful in creating many good habits.

You can do it too with the technique described below.

Each habit has two elements, the before “trigger” and the after “benefit”.

If you notice at workplaces, people go out to smoke. Before they go for smoking, something triggered them, it could be a thought, some stress or a particular event (e.g. lunch time). This is the before “trigger”.

The second aspect of a habit is the after “benefit”. Each habit brings a result or benefit after doing it. A smoker would experience a (fake) increase in energy levels after smoking.

Changing your habit is not about the habit itself. It’s about making conscious use of before “triggers” and the after “benefit”.

Equipped with this understanding, here are the 5 simple steps you can follow to form a new habit:

  1. Identify the habit you want to create. For example – waking up early, writing, reading book, exercising, meditating. Choose an easy one to begin with.
  2. Find the necessary motivation. Think about the benefits or results you will get of out this new habit and write it down on a piece of paper. The reason should be strong enough to get your butt off the chair.
  3. Identify the before “trigger”. Study your daily schedule and write down potential trigger points you can use to insert the new habit. Choose a before “trigger” based on your intuitive judgement.
  4. Take action. Now that you are clear about your before trigger, take action (associated with the new habit) right after it happens.
  5. Keep doing it. Don’t give up, if you fail for a few times. Keep trying and your mental energy will gradually align to your repeated efforts.

Here is a real life example of how I used this method to form my reading habit.

I was struggling to finish reading books.

I could identify the after “benefit” of reading book as “being able to add value to my blog readers and training course participants by bringing fresh knowledge”. This motivation was strong enough for me to get started with habit of reading books.

Next, I needed to find a “before” trigger which I can use to insert my new habit. I realized that during afternoon, after lunch, I had formed a default habit of watching TV for a few minutes. The default trigger of “TV after lunch” could be replaced by “Book after lunch”.

Now, as soon as lunch is over, I have my book lying on the table, ready to be picked up. In a few days, reading book after lunch became my default behavior, I no longer needed any conscious effort to do it.

Using this technique, I successfully replaced many old habit with the new one, such as:

  • Wake up early
  • Going for Exercise
  • Meditating regularly
  • Reading books
  • Weekly reviews

The key to a habit change is to focus on the process, not the result.

Small actions compounded (over time) reveal massive results (positive or negative)!

What small action you are going to take ?

7 Habits of Highly Productive People

7 habits of becoming remarkable

7 habits of highly productive and remarkable people

All men’s natures are alike – It’s their habit that carry them far apart – Confucius

That statement from Confucius says a lot about the power of habits. Good habit is the language of creation and achievement.

What are the key habits of success? What are the habits that separate remarkable people from the rest of us? 

In my study and observation over these year, I have found following habits that really stand apart:

Habit #1 : Solitude & Silence

The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.
― Aldous Huxley

Practicing solitude and silence allows you to get connected with your ‘self’ and reflect upon life. It allows you to be in company with the person who wants to be with you the most – “yourself”.  It is the fertile ground of great accomplishments and a fundamental habit to live an extraordinary life.

Habit #2: Mental Clarity

Mystification is simple; clarity is the hardest thing of all.
― Julian Barnes

Developing clarity is like weeding your mind of unnecessary and irrelevant to what really matters. All remarkable people have the habit of developing mental clarity by writing thoughts, ideas and experiences and reflecting upon them.

Habit #3: Deep Focus

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. – Alexander Graham Bell

Great ideas and inspirations are a result of deep focus. Once you start practicing the habit of deep focus, you will remain unfazed by any internal and external distractions. It’s the habit that has produced great inventions, original writings and innovation in every field.

Habit #4: Well-defined Goals

A goal is a dream with a deadline.
Napoleon Hill

A majority of remarkable people I have seen are clear about what they want to do with their life in next one year, two years or five years. All their personal and professional goals are well thought and they keep refining them as things morph.

Habit #5: Consistent Actions

Small actions compounded (over time) reveal massive results – Martin Grunburg

To reemphasize the power of habits – successful people take consistent Actions aligned to their Goals. Consistent actions have exponential effect and help achieve goals quickly and easily, while inconsistent actions can quickly turn into a set of wasted efforts.

Habit #6: Early Risers

I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning. – Jonathan Swift

Rising early when the world is sleeping and working your way through the freshness and silence of early morning is an unbeatable experience – something never to be missed. I owe to my early morning blogging to Darren Rowse after watching his inspiring video!

Habit #7: Balanced Diet

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art. – La Rochefoucauld

What you eat is what you become, says Deepak Chopra, the renowned spiritual guru and modern expert of eastern medicine. Mindful eating habits can impact your mind, body and spirit in profound ways. Eat fresh, eat healthy and let go your urges. The fruits of mindful eating are rewarding and fulfilling.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list and neither do they apply to everyone. There could be many more but the idea is universal – “great habits create a great life”.

A good way to start is to pick up one habit from the above and try practicing it daily at a fixed time.

Perhaps my favorite one is the one I practice based on inspiration from Darren Rowse – “The habit of writing early morning”.

Try doing it even for a week, reward yourself for doing it and the results will be magical!

What has been your experience with practicing a good habit?

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