5 Time-Sucking Distractions & Habits That Destroy Productivity

5 Time-Sucking Distractions & Habits That Destroy Productivity (And How to Overcome Them) - The Palmetto Peaches- palmsinatl.com

Sometimes I feel like I can wear the crown of time-sucking habits and other times I’m the multitasking princess. Neither are great. Raise your hand if you’re a juggler of everything! The unrealistic pressure to be able to do it all can actually be counterproductive to accomplishing goals and finishing tasks. I’ve identified some of the things that destroy my productivity and maybe they will resonate with you as well.

5 Time-Sucking Distractions and Habits That Destroy Productivity And How to Overcome Them

5 Time-Sucking Distractions & Habits That Destroy Productivity (And How to Overcome Them) - The Palmetto Peaches- palmsinatl.com

1. Your phone

Now you had to know this one would be first on the list. I checked Facebook, Instagram, and looked up the NBA playoff schedule after writing the opening paragraph of this post. Now think about how much you impulsively check your phone during one of  your day – then think about an entire day. Your phone usage is probably your #1 distraction. 

What you can do:

  • You know the saying: Out of sight, out of mind. When you really need to focus on your work, consider turning on airplane mode.
  • I have been known to get up on time and mess around on my phone until I’m late. Take it from me and don’t get stuck looking through your phone first thing in the morning.

 2. Interruptions

Whether you work in an office setting and you have a favorite co-worker you love to chat with or you work from home and your friends constantly ask you to come out to lunch/coffee/ something, we all have to deal with people interrupting.  Sometimes it is work-related, but can still take you off-track from what you were working on. My go to is wearing headphones. When my headphones are on, my coworkers know that I don’t want to be disturbed. However, there are other options.

What you can do:

  • Do what your professors did: have set “office hours”. By dedicating time to being available for others, people know when they can interrupt and you can schedule your day around those periods.
  • Schedule your social interruptions. If you know you and your work BFF have to talk about the latest episode of  Game of Thrones or 90 Day Fiance, schedule time to chat by grabbing coffee and then get back to work. So when they show up at your door say: “I know, I can’t believe Robert Pattison is going to be the new Batman. Let’s run to Starbucks at 2 and talk about it.”

3. Workspace Arrangement

Where you sit and objects around you could be a major distraction. If we’re being real, you can’t maximize productivity in a cluttered environment. Now I’m not saying that your home office needs to look like one of those perfect Pinterest pictures or your desk at work shouldn’t have any papers on it. I am currently looking at a stack of journal articles that I need to read and can barely see the wood. However, make sure you know the level of chaos and clutter that distracts you and make sure you don’t reach it. The place you work in should inspire you and allow you to work efficiently and effectively.  

What you can do:

  • Declutter. It’s easy to accumulate things. For me it’s paper. I like to be able to highlight and hold a physical copy of a document. Then I realized I had three years of meeting agendas stacked up….yeah true story. Make sure you get rid of things you don’t need or use. Set up regular time whether it’s at the end of the week or end of the day to spruce things up a bit and get rid of items you don’t need.
  • Buy or repurpose cute storage containers to keep things in order and maintain a cute and inviting space.
  • Decorate.

4. Thinking You’re a Superhero

You are human and you can’t do everything. Let me say it again. You are human and you can’t do everything. I stopped posting on the blog for almost two months because I was feeling overwhelmed. I was trying to get 4-5 kickboxing classes in week, 15 hours of volunteering at the animal shelter, and somehow balance that with my 9-5 and life.  It’s okay to say no. Set boundaries and stick to them. You’re not an Avenger. Even if you were *spoiler alert* it took them two whole movies and the sacrifice of one of our favorite Avengers to take down Thanos. When you overload yourself something gets dropped and you become less productive. Additionally, if you don’t have a detailed plan of action to conquer your workload you may never find that perfect sweet spot of productivity. Make a to-do list, but also schedule the time for each task so you don’t end up endlessly working on the same thing.

‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!’

What you can do:

  • Prioritize self-care.
  • Whether you’re a planner girl like me make sure you’re checking your schedule before agreeing to anything new.
  • Be honest with yourself about what else you can realistically handle and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Don’t feel bad or guilty for having to say no.
  • Schedule tasks by priority, importance, and due date
  • Reward yourself as you check things off your list

Check out some additional productivity tips I’ve blogged about here.

5. Refusing to Take Breaks

I know what you’re thinking. I just told you to take breaks when you’re trying to be productive. How does that even make sense? Taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity. It gives you an opportunity to re-energize and refocus on the tasks you need to complete. The secret is making sure you’re using those breaks in the best ways to encourage productivity. That may look different for everyone, but don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that the two hour lunch break and stroll around Target is actually helping your productivity.

What you can do:

  • Take a walk. When I have trouble concentrating I go outside and walk around for 10 or 20 minutes. When I return, I’m like a new person.
  • Schedule breaks.  Make sure you plan a definite ending time.

What are some habits or distractions that make you unproductive? Have you figured out how to overcome them? Let me know if the comments below.

4 Replies to “5 Time-Sucking Distractions & Habits That Destroy Productivity”

  1. I work from home, and I find home tasks to be the biggest destroyer of my productivity. During work time, I can always think of a million things that I can do around the house. There’s a lot of great advice here for minimizing all types of distractions!

  2. This roundup is SO accurate! I love the idea of putting your phone into airplane mode – great tip for home and office! Scheduling breaks is great advice as well; it’s easy to think that you’re being more productive by powering through, but that’s definitely not the case.

  3. This is a really useful post. Interruptions were a big issue for me in the first year or so of my business. I set office hours and even put do not disturb signs on the door. I also found that working from home I had different places in the house where I got more distracted.

  4. I totally struggle with all of these! Whether I’m working on my blog or my 9-5, I can get easily distracted. It definitely helps for me to to breaks and walk away from my workspace for a moment, then I can jump back in and concentrate for a period of time (before I have to repeat the process lol).

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