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Nine bad habits you must break to be more productive

https://qz.com/work/1629479/nine-bad-habits-you-must-break-to-be-more-productive/

qz.com

Nine bad habits you must break to be more productive
Nothing sabotages your productivity quite like bad habits. They are insidious, creeping up on you slowly until you don't even notice the damage they're causing. Bad habits slow you down, decrease your accuracy, make you less creative, and stifle your performance. Getting control of your bad habits is critical, and not just for productivity's sake.

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Bad habits

Bad habits

Nothing sabotages your productivity quite like bad habits.

They slow you down, decrease your accuracy, make you less creative, and stifle your performance.

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Impulsively surfing the internet

It takes you 15 consecutive minutes of focus before you can fully engage in a task. Once you do, you fall into flow, a state of increased productivity.

Click in and out of your work enough times to check the news of social media, and you can go through an entire day without experiencing flow.

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Perfectionism

We freeze up when it’s time to get started because we know that our ideas aren’t perfect and what we produce might not be any good.

But you can never produce something great if you don't get started and give your ideas time to evolve.

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Meetings

Meetings

Ultra-productive people avoid meetings as much as humanly possible. 

A meeting could drag on forever, so when you must attend a meeting, inform everyone that you want to stick to the intended schedule. This sets a clear limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient.

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Responding to e-mails as they arrive

Don't allow e-mail to be a constant interruption:

  • Check your e-mail on a schedule (set specific time slots in a day for that).
  • Prioritize messages by senders.
  • Set up an autoresponder that lets senders know when you’ll be checking their e-mail again.

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Hitting the snooze button

Hitting the snooze button

No matter how tired you think you are when your alarm clock goes off, force yourself out of bed if you want to have a productive morning.

When you hit the snooze button and fall back asleep, you lose the alertness you'd get by respecting your sleep cycles and end up waking up later, tired and groggy. 

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Multitasking

People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. 

When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

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Putting off tough tasks

Putting off tough tasks

When you put off tough tasks till late in the day because they’re intimidating, you save them for when you’re at your worst. 

Because that's when we drain our limited energy and decision fatigue creeps in.

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Using your phone in bed

By the evening, your brain doesn’t expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it. And most of our favorite evening devices emit short-wavelength blue light.

This exposure impairs melatonin production and interferes with your ability to fall asleep as well as with the quality of your sleep.

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Eating too much sugar

Eating too much sugar

Donuts, soda, and other forms of refined sugar lead to an energy boost that lasts a mere 20 minutes, while oatmeal, brown rice, and other foods containing complex carbohydrates release their energy slowly, which enables you to sustain your focus.

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Step Away from the Spreadsheet

Shut off your brain and stop working. The tasks will still be there tomorrow—plus some more, because work can, and should, wait.

Look Back, Look Ahead

Review what you accomplished today, then make a to-do list for tomorrow. 

Don’t make these lists too close to bedtime.

Cool It

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for shut-eye is around 65 degrees. 

The cooler you are, the sleepier you become, so turn down the thermostat.

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Morning routines

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective:

  • It gets you started and sets the tone for the upcoming day;
  • ...

Sleep and productivity

When it comes to productivity, getting enough sleep is essential. Any morning routine you develop needs to accommodate your sleeping rhythms.

And research indicates that 7-8 hours per day is a nearly universal requirement.

Different goals, different routines

There isn’t one perfect routine that will make you rich and happy overnight. Instead, there’s different routines for different purposes: if you're focusing on health and fitness, starting with exercise or eating a healthy breakfast might go first. If you're working like crazy, getting straight to work on your most important tasks may be better than cluttering up my morning with different tasks.

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle

  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;

Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.