Break These 8 Bad Habits to Boost Your Productivity

boost productivity

Being productive is the best thing that can happen to anyone.

Employers love productive people and in return they get higher pay packages and awesome perks.

In the words of Shawn Achor, “Happiness inspires productivity”.

Are you happy at work? Or do you find yourself engaged in some bad habits that are spoiling your productivity?

Have a look at the top 8 habits that you must shun today in order to be more productive in future.

1- You Do Not Follow a Work Routine

The biggest mistake that people make is that they do not follow a proper work routine.

Remember during our school days, our teachers planned a time table for us to study? We all followed a strict time table when we were younger but sadly enough, we fail to follow that time table when we are grown ups and join office.

Maintaining a work time table is a great way to become productive at work.

Here is what Twitter cofounder, Jack Dorsey does while following his weekly time table:

Jack Dorsey

Monday: Management and running the company

Tuesday: Product

Wednesday: Marketing and communications, growth

Thursday: Developers and partnerships

Friday: Company culture and recruiting

Here are some ways to make this happen:

  • Prepare a time-table for all the work that you need to be completed on a daily basis or weekly basis. Schedule time for breaks in between.
  • Be realistic towards achievement of your goals.
  • Remain flexible and don’t go in too much detail.

Hence, following a proper work routine is critical to raise up the productivity. The above suggestions can give a great head-start to your goals and pump up the desired output.

2- You Try to Be a Perfectionist

A perfectionist is a person who is not easily satisfied at anything. He/she wants everything to be perfect.

Being a perfectionist at times is not bad but being a perfectionist always can simply ruin your productivity.

the perfectionist scale

If you always have a feeling of temporary satisfaction after achieving your goals and when things go slightly wrong, you think you have failed miserably. This is the feeling of a perfectionist system. This system prevents us from being our best.

Here are some disadvantages of being a perfectionist:

Less Efficient – You constantly spend more time on doing things that might improve a particular task. This increases the overall time of task completion even if the task can be completed at a less time. Continuously spending time on unnecessary things, make us less efficient.

Less Effective – A butter toast should contain just bread and better. If we add spinach, potatoes, chicken, lime, ketchup in it, then it isn’t a butter toast? This is what happens when perfectionist try to do a presentation. They jam pack stuffs to a level that they become less effective.

Missed Deadlines – A perfectionist is so busy perfecting the details that they constantly miss deadlines because they think the work can still be improved.

Over Planning of Non Existent Problems – Problems are a part of life and every problem has a solution for it. However, when it comes to a perfectionist then they become over cautious that problems shouldn’t arise in the first place and if they do arise then they must have more than one solution ready for it. This over planning of non existent problems make them unproductive.

It is recommended to stop being a perfectionist and accept yourself the way you are. Your main focus should be on the task completion deadline. Clients remain happy if you complete the task on time even though they are not perfect.

3- You Are not a Big Fan of Automating Processes

If you are someone who do not wants to get out of your comfort zone then you need to change this habit today!

Process automation is an integral part of any organization as it helps to make better use of technology to complete tasks in an easier manner.

work process automation

Here are some great tools and resources to automate your work:

Time Doctor 

Staying productive is all about getting maximum work done is less time. Time Doctor helps you to keep a track of your time and you can easily identify how much time is spent on which projects so that you can improve your work style accordingly.

For managers, this tool is extremely important because you can easily analyze the efficiency of your team members by looking at how much time they consume on particular projects. Moreover, it silently records all web and applications usage during work time so that you can strictly monitor the activities of your staff.


Productivity is automatically improved if you consume less time to do a particular task. ClickMeeting allows you to run custom branded webinars with people who are far away from your location but are important for your business. You have the power to run business meetings with lots of potential prospects all at once. This saves time and raises productivity.


Email remains one of the top channels for generating online conversions. You can raise the productivity of yourself and your team if you are able to automate this process of sending emails daily.GetResponse is a great tool that not only serves as an effective email marketing platform but also provides features to work as a full fledged marketing automation tool.


It lets you manage your finances like never before. The Mint dashboard allows you to see your balances, bills, credit score, create budgets, track investments, discover new ways to save and more. You can see how much you owe and what are your liabilities.. Productivity is linked to happiness. The happier you are, the better will be your productivity. FInances are something that can settle or ruin our lives. Keeping a track of your finances through Mint is all you need to pump up your productivity.


This tool allows you to write, collect, discuss, and present, all from one workspace. You can capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device. Productivity is dramatically enhanced because Evernote allows you to create a project to-do list or simply jot down a reminder. You can easily creates notes and guess what? Those notes are accessible wherever you go, forever.


It is a great savior to effectively manage your team’s performance. The idea is to “move work forward”. It lets you keep a track of your projects from start to finish. Your teams can collaborate with each other, manage the to-do list, prioritize the reporting across all projects.


A customer is what makes or breaks any company. Productivity is often measured in terms of revenue and money that is generated from the customer. Hence, it is important to keep the customer happy in all stages of life. Zendesk is a customer support software that helps to strengthen the customer relationship. Products offered are live chat, proactive campaigns, social messaging apps, shared team inbox, integrated call center software and reporting.


A Marketing Automation Service for ecommerce that helps you to manage multichannel messaging campaigns and automate them easily. You can create 100% automated campaigns without programmers from IT Department. It’s made to embody the toughest ideas of enterprise level solutions in very clear way for everyone.

Automating processes is the best thing that you can do to instantly raise your productivity. Automation is necessary as it helps to save precious time that can be put to use somewhere else.

4- You Are Always Available for Others

Are you the person who is always available?

Although, it is good to help your colleagues and juniors when they are overburdened but to always remain available for them might be bad for you.

You can’t be serious with anyone if you can’t take your own work seriously. Shun that habit of spoonfeeding everything to your juniors and you will be amazed to see that you have actually improved the productivity of your juniors as well as yourself.

Sometimes too many yes’s can backfire and drain you. You shouldn’t say yes to complete your colleague’s work if you already have lots of work to be completed yourself. A polite NO is all you need to preserve your energy and complete the things that matters to you the most.

The bigger part of the story is “you are allowed to say NO to others and YES to yourself”. Apply this in your life and you will instantly notice the benefits you are getting. Starting to say NO is difficult because you have been saying YES most of the time in your life. But, you have to give it a start and slowly you will master the art of saying NO to others and saying YES to yourself.

5- You Do not Delegate Work to Others OR You Delegate Incorrectly

You and your team cannot be productive if you don’t delegate work in a proper manner to your juniors.

Work delegation is an important part of productivity hierarchy and one should follow it in order to reach the zenith of their respective fields.

Work delegation helps to raise the output of both yourself and your employees. The average person today works at just 50% of his/her capacity. It is the responsibility of the leader to raise this level by adopting enhanced work techniques and smart delegation strategies.

Delegation is the means through which you bring out the best in every people. Your method of delegation should change as per the experience of the employees. Here are some methods to do that:

Low Experience – Employees who are new and hold little experience in the field should be given detailed instructions as to what they should do and what is the output that is expected. This is known as the “directive delegation style”.

Medium Experience – Employees who have more than a year of experience in the field should be told what is the output that is expected. You must give them a free hand to complete the task and should not direct them what to do. This is known as the “management by objectives delegation method”.

High Experience – Employees who have ample experience doing a job should be dealt with easily. A simple easy interaction is what you need to get the task done.

Managers often make the mistake of saying the same story right from A to Z to every category of employees and this is what kills time. For every category of employees the amount of information needed to deliver differs. Master this habit of work delegation and productivity will be improved automatically.

6- You Don’t Sharpen Your Skills

You need 4 things to work in your favor in order to become productive. These are knowledge, skill, attitude and character. The first 2 are easy to change while the last 2 aren’t.

Skills play an important role into making you an expert in your field. If you don’t give ample time to sharpen your skills and widen your knowledge then someday your juniors might reach a position superior to yours and you will have nothing but repent.

There are some skills that are important at workplace as explained below:

Communication skills – Effective communication is the key to better productivity. You must know the art of communicating with your boss, your junior, your seniors, the office boy and most importantly the clients.

If you are following the same style of communication with each one of them then you are making a big mistake. You must learn to change the pitch of your voice and clarity while talking to the person based on the information that is to be delivered and the position of that employee.

For example, your juniors might need a more clarified response from you as compared to experienced employees. However, when it comes to your dealing with your seniors, you should not argue with them but instead be polite when explaining your point. If we learn the basics of smart communication then it becomes really easier for us to raise our productivity levels.

Time management skills – You must know when to start and when to end. Most of the times, starting is the most difficult part of the strategy. You should have an idea as to when to start your working day, how much time to spend on important projects, how much time to devote for meetings etc. The difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful person is effective management of time. Here are some essential time management skills one should possess:

  • Set goals and try to achieve them within the stipulated period of time.
  • Prioritize tasks and avoid tasks which you should not be performing.
  • Remain motivated always. This will help you to keep away from stress and pressure of work.
  • Focus on one task at a time and avoid distractions if any.
  • Take effective clear decisions at the right time.
  • Make a habit of record keeping, regardless of your subject area.
  • Have patience and follow the art of forgiveness.

Research and analysis skills – Every great work demands research and analysis. If you are not putting your efforts to research on the work before getting the final product then you might hamper the end result. An unproductive employee often does not cares about doing any research and just copy pastes ideas of their seniors. The harsh reality is, it won’t work! Never!

You must have the capability to do great research as and when needed. Also, raising productivity means comparing the ROI and output of your work from current vs past. This can be done only if you have good analytical skills.

Creativity – Many people say creativity is born not created but I don’t believe in it. You can be creative if you want to do so.

Creativity is required in order to create your own USP (Unique Selling Point). The more creative you are, the better opportunities you will get thereby improving your overall productivity.

When was the last time you showed some creativity in your work? If you are having a hard time then start becoming creative from today.

Leadership skills – Managing a team is one of the most difficult tasks that you will have to face in your professional career. It is easy to get output from yourself but hard to get output from your team.

A great leader should know how to communicate effectively with the team, should have a proper plan in place and most importantly, the implementation of the plan should not be delayed.

7- You Don’t Learn From Your Mistakes

I am a big fan of Sundar Pichai’s Cockroach Theory which states that “more than the problem, it is one’s reaction to the problem that creates chaos in life”.

We must always RESPOND and not REACT.

When your boss scolds at you, you react! Similarly, when your client disagrees with you, you react! Reaction is nothing but frustration. If we all start learning from the mistakes we make in our lives and start responding to it then all will be good.

Humans have a tendency to make a mistake. So, committing a mistake is not a problem, but repeating the same mistake again and again is the problem.

mistakes open your mind

Every mistake that we did in our lives have all helped to make us what we are today. They have strengthened our character and ability.

It is important to admit your mistakes and be at peace at it. You must ask questions to yourself like:

  • What made me do this mistake?
  • What was that I wanted to achieve?
  • What did I learnt from it?
  • What is the opportunity here?
  • How has this mistake changed me?
  • How can I get started again?

Learning from your own mistakes and regularly improving yourself is the key to success. Don’t be afraid to what people say when you commit a mistake, simply learn the lesson and move forward.

8- You Resist Innovation

There are some people who resist change and if you are one of them then you will need to drop this habit of yours as soon as possible.

You must ask yourself, why am I resisting the change? Then, note down all the possible reasons for it. Thereafter, find a solution for all the reasons you just wrote down.

The number reason of people resisting change in the workplace is “loss of job”. Oh, come on! Change is all about increasing the productivity of the entire organization and if the company grows, you will automatically grow. So, there is no need to be terrified of your job loss unless you go to the workplace to have just leisure and no work.

Innovation is simply a state of mind where a positive mind sees an opportunity while a negative mind sees no growth.

innovation is a state of mind

Change is the need to grow.

Innovation is important or else organizations will perish and you will lose your job.

Hence, you must always support innovation and be a part of it whenever required.

Innovation is all about setting brighter ideas to work in order to improve productivity. Suppose, X is able to complete a particular task in 5 hours before innovation. However, after innovation is applied, X finishes the particular task in 3 hours. This is a real time savior.

The same thing happens when innovation is applied at organizational levels. Output is simply measured by dollars earned per hour and this can be achieved by working ‘SMARTER’ and not ‘HARDER’.

Last but not the least, here are some great ways through which you can raise your productivity:

  • Take regular breaks as this will improve your concentration levels.
  • Become a regular practitioner of imposing deadlines on yourself. If your boss says, it should be done in a week, you say to yourself, it should be done in 3 days.
  • Follow the “2 minutes rule” that says, a task as small as 2 minute long should be completed right away instead of postponing it for the future.
  • Don’t have meetings face to face, opt for web meetings instead. Also, don’t meet unless it’s very necessary as most of our meetings often result as time killing and unproductive. I personally feel there is no need for regular scheduled meetings every week or every month. You should have meetings only when required.
  • Do not multitask! “Jack of all trades but master of none” will not lead you towards productivity.
  • Turn off all your notifications when you are working. It helps.
  • Identify the time when you are most productive and adjust your work schedule accordingly.
  • Take a short walk during lunch time. This will change the atmosphere and raise up your productivity.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts,increase your typing speed and improve your skills.

If you want the best results from your life then stop making the top 8 habits. Stay positive, stay focused, improve your skills and you will get more valuable work completed in less time.

About the Author
Joydeep Bhattacharya is a passionate digital marketing evangelist and author of SEO Sandwitch Blog. He has over a decade of experience in online marketing and has helped several clients increase their presence online.

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  • Pavlos Navrakis

    Nice list. Here is one more that is a bit more practical - prioritize with Kanban. In general, using Kanban can improve your productivity drastically because it helps focus on finishing work, but on starting multiple tasks. By using a Kanban board you can simply order your tasks by putting the ones of highest priority on top of your "requested" column and then pull them in progress one by one. Pretty simple. Isn't it? Keep up the good work.
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes