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10 Truths About Why You’re So Unproductive

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve reached the end of the day only to wonder what on earth I achieved. On assessing these days over time, I’ve noticed a pattern, a pattern that might be similar to yours.

truths about why you're unproductive

Reasons you’re so unproductive

1. You check social media too often

Do you know that a study found that the average Australian over 14 years of age spends a total of 6 hours a week on social media? Just imagine what you can get done in six hours!

If you want to get serious about a digital detox and cracking down on our social media use, brutal even, here are some apps that help.

Moment – not as brutal as apps that cut your access to social altogether, Moment tracks the time you spend on social media and notifies you when you go over your limit.

Space – A little more confronting that moment, Space tracks the time you spend on social media but gives you an addiction score for a big fat reality check.

App Block for Android – Although this one doesn’t track your usage, it does what it is intended to do and blocks distracting apps on your phone at the times you have set.

Offtime for Android (iOS coming soon) – Offtime allows you to block social media, games and text messages. It also allows you to select what you can and can’t access at specific times, perfect for those who are still trying to find that elusive work-life balance. This app also tracks the usage of specific apps.

If you want to be really brutal and claim back six hours a week, delete your social media apps, I dare you!

2. You have a to-do list that’s too long

A to-do list that is way too long is a recipe for lots of procrastination so do an audit of your to-do list to cut it down.

Remember, a to-do list should only include tasks, not goals or projects. A goal is something you want to achieve that is made up by various tasks and actions like decluttering your entire kitchen. A project is way too big to be on a to-do list.

Make tasks small, manageable and specific. Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting a goal to finish a 50 page report, instead, break it down into small bites for example, braintorming or coming up with five ideas.

why you're unproductive

3. You don’t prioritise

Now that you have perfected your to-do list, it’s time to work out priorities. Without priorities you’ll always find yourself behind, missing deadlines and stressing out! I’ve always found setting priorities difficult because I’ve always been a person who wants to do everything NOW.

But, I’ve improved somewhat and always try to determine which tasks are urgent and which are just important. As a business owner I also identify client task as taking priority as non-client tasks as well as tasks that are making my business money versus those that aren’t. In saying this, I have also learnt to consider how far I can stretch when prioritising tasks and making promises.

4. Your office or workspace is messy and cluttered

I don’t know about you but I cannot function well in a cluttered and messy house let alone my office. The Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University performed a study which concluded that ”Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.” Translated, this means that if your desk has pieces of paper, pens and books lying over it, they’re competing with your vision and make it hard for you to focus.

Take a few moments before you start work to declutter your workspace or home and then you’ll notice the difference.

unproductive tips

5. You don’t plan

Have you ever noticed how much time you waste when you’re standing in your kitchen, looking through the pantry and the fridge, not knowing what to make for dinner? Or, starting a project without a plan and wasting time addressing the things you forgot along the way? Planning is a time saver. Not only will ilt save you time, it will also save you money and loads of stress.

I can highly recommend The Time Creator diary for daily, purposeful planning, a day to a page planner created by Tash Guthrie. I just purchased it and am in love. You can purchase it here.

6. You’re always checking email

I used to be in the habit of checking emails whenever I got a notification or at least every 20 minutes. The problem with this is that it’s an easy way to get sidetracked and you’ll find you won’t complete the tasks you had set on your to-do list. Consider only checking and replying to emails at certain times of the day. Add this to your planner.

7. You multi-task too much instead of single-tasking

Personally, I find multi-tasking fine when you’re doing menial tasks like vacuuming while babywearing or talking on the phone will feeding toddler, that’s why my blog name came about,but, I am also a big believer that multi-tasking does not work when doing things like work. The same as stopping to check your email every ten minutes, trying to work on multiple tasks at once leaves you side tracked and unfocused.  

stop being unproductive

8. You get sidetracked

If you find you’re unproductive because you keep getting sidetracked, try these tips:

  • Block social media
  • Don’t take personal phone calls
  • Minimise checking of emails
  • Focus on 2-3 important tasks a day
  • Use calendar reminders e.g. Google Calendar
  • Improve your focus on task with relaxation music
  • Turn off your notfications

9. You receive too many notifications

When you have a notification popping up on your computer screen for everything from a new email, a Facebook comment, an Instagram post or a message from your friend, it’s extremely hard to maintain focus and not get sidetracked. So how do you stop these distracting notifications? Well, there are a few easy options.

  • Turn off notifications on your computer
  • Turn off notifications on your phone
  • Put your phone in your bag

10. You forget self-care

When we get tired and stressed, we don’t function at our best; I don’t need any research to prove that. Give yourself a little bit of time out, have a mini break and rejuvenate. Need some ideas for self-care? Click here.

The great thing about being so unproductive is that it doesn’t need to last forever. Tweak to how you approach things, change up your surroundings and spend some time on yourself and hopefully, you’ll turn into a little Energizer bunny!

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10 Truths about why you're so unproductive
10 Truths about why you're so unproductive
Eva Lewis

1 Comment

  1. February 4, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    Thank you Eva for these timely reminders. It’s great advice to separate tasks from goals; and to not only plan but also prioritise. I find that the biggest productivity block for me with some of my projects is just making a start. Not sure why this applies to some tasks or projects and not others??? This is something I’m working on. Any tips you can offer on this topic in a future post would be appreciated. With best wishes, Jo (from near Roadvale, not far from you!)