People are always finding ways to be more productive — thousands of online articles and self-help books about various productivity hacks are a testament to that. These tips and techniques can be extremely useful, especially for remote workers who need a bit more self-discipline and control. However, if these techniques don’t seem to be working for you, then you might just be making some of the following counter intuitive productivity mistakes.
Starting with easy tasks
Mornings can set the mood for your entire day, so it’s crucial to use them right. A common mistake made by even the most productive people is wasting their mornings by starting out with the easiest tasks of the day. According to behavioral scientist Dan Ariely, the two most productive hours of your day are in the morning after you’re fully awake. This window is when you have the most energy and brainpower to get things done, so it’s best to get those difficult tasks out of the way during this time.
Science has proven that you get less done when you multitask. Although it may seem like you’re seamlessly switching from one task to another, you’re only taking away time and energy from each activity. To combat your inclination towards multitasking, we recommend getting into the habit of creating a “Getting Things Done List” or a daily to-do list. This will give your day more structure and allow you to confidently focus on a single task at a time.
Checking social media
If the first thing you do when you wake up is scroll through your social media accounts, then you have to re-evaluate your relationship with your phone. You can lose hours on productivity traps like social media sites and mobile games without you even realizing it — precisely because they are designed to be addictive. Special Counsel stress the importance of identifying these productivity traps and learning how to avoid them to make the most out of your time. The next time you catch yourself scrolling, look through the applications on your phone and think about which ones you really need.
Sitting down all day
Standing desks aren’t just a hot trend, as sitting down all day has been proven to have detrimental effects on your physical and mental well being. Using a standing desk or at least taking breaks to walk around will lessen the risk of back pain or spinal injuries. Additionally, researchers from Columbia University found that standing actually helps you feel more powerful and in control, which can positively affect the way you handle situations.
Not taking enough breaks
Attention spans have gotten a lot shorter thanks to the internet, and this can affect how long you can stay focused on work as well. A study published on Inc recommends taking breaks every 50 to 90 minutes, depending on how often you need them throughout the day. These breaks can be as short as getting a glass of water, or squeezing in a 30-minute workout if your schedule allows for it. The movement allows your mind to reset and relax, so that it can be prepared and energized to get back to the task at hand.
Keep the above mistakes in mind the next time you’re thinking of trying out a new productivity technique so you can maximize its benefits. Knowing that you have all the common obstacles out of the way will help you feel more confident and prepared when going through future daily tasks, allowing you to get more things done with less time and effort.