How to Break Bad Work Habits to Become More Productive

Productivity in the workplace is an important thing – any successful business understands this. Productivity utilises the capacity of human resource, the basis of all organisations.

Think of productivity as an economic measure of output per unit of input. Labour and capital is the input, while output is the revenue. Labour and capital are both scarce resources, therefore maximising their impact should be of core concern to business managers.

Maximised impact will look different for every company, but in general it means a fruitful, high-yielding day that’s capable of producing large amounts of goods, crops or other commodities. If a day is productive, a lot of ‘useful stuff’ is done.

Methods of productivity vary, but many methods revolve around the streamlining of work to save time. One might focus on the right things and the right time, invest in IT to simplify processes, or divide projects into small goals. Different techniques work for different people, but the result of productivity always remains the same…better business.

Blockages of productivity

Despite understanding the power of productivity, it is and continues to be one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, executives, and the workforce in general. Mostly, it’s because people rarely slow down enough to evaluate their work and prioritise. The idea of “pausing” seems counterintuitive, but taking the time to evaluate time really can save you time. Crazy, right?

When you don’t pause to take stock, you get stressed. Stress is never a good thing and the more stress you experience the less productive you become.

Stress is no stranger to most people, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Stress can be managed when you slow things down and carefully plan your time. When you slow things down you suddenly realise there is time for a career, a social life, family, a relationship, and hobbies.

If you feel your productivity is being stalled, look to see what’s causing it. Common reasons include:

Not getting enough sleep

When you try to cram in a few more hours of work or “you time” before bed, you’re likely taking this time away from sleep. You might be able to function this way short-term, but in the end those few extra hours will come back to bite you.

The solution: Stick to the same nightly routine and bedtime whenever possible. It helps to say goodbye to night time technology too. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t pick up a device at least 1 hour before bed, and aim to get a full eight hours every night.

Not exercising

When you exercise in the morning, you increase blood flow to the brain, sharpening your awareness and preparing you to take on the next big project. Exercise gives you energy, and having more energy means you’ll feel more awake at work. Even if you choose to exercise after work, increased fitness will fuel your working days.

The solution: If you don’t have time for a full workout in the mornings, aim to include a number of small steps in your day instead. Park a little further away from work than normal and take the stairs to your office instead of the lift. Mid morning, leave your desk and go for a quick walk around the block.

Skipping meals

Successful CEOs know that a productive day starts with a good breakfast. Never skip breakfast. Also, don’t skip a morning snack, or lunch, or an afternoon snack – regular eating is the key to productivity! Your body needs fuel and water to keep going and when you deprive your body of fuel and water, it cannot function at its best. Eat appropriately, hydrate often and your focus will remain strong throughout the day.

The solution: Start your day with a good breakfast such as a soft boiled egg, avocado and wholemeal English muffin. Keep in your desk a range of healthy snacks like nuts or seeds and when it comes to lunch, ensure you eat it outside and away from your desk.

Failing to disconnect from technology

Technology is a part of life these days and there is no denying this. Whether working, checking emails, browsing the web, online shopping, or checking your favourite social media apps, your face is buried in a screen most of the day. When you don’t disconnect from this, at least for a little while, your health and focus can be damaged.

The solution: Allow yourself to disconnect from technology by giving yourself a screen break every hour. At best, try to spend at least three hours of every day with no technology at all.

Bringing work home leads to burnout

Bringing work home each day can lead you to feel overworked and exhausted. It’s okay to give up some of your “own time” on occasions, but every night – no way! Bringing work home makes you feel like you’re never getting a break, and breaks are important for recharging.

The solution: Keep access to your email on your work phone and computer only. If you get notifications on your personal devices, you’ll never switch off. When you clock out of the office, realise it’s your time.

Social media

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand it makes promoting a business easy, but on the other it can be enormously distracting. You might think checking social media for a few minutes every hour is okay, but time can quickly get away from you and time adds up.

The solution: Instead of trawling through your newsfeed wondering if anything exciting has happened to the people you care most about, set a designated time to check your feed. Turn off your notifications to eliminate distractions too.

Using the Scrum method to become more productive

For those wanting to ensure blockages of productivity don’t affect their working day, they use Scrum, an agile framework for completing complex projects. Scrum was originally formalised for software development projects, but today it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. Deceptively simple, the possibilities are endless.

With Scrum, productivity is made easy. Scrum has the power to transform project management across every industry, every business, and even in everyday life. Scrum helps you react more quickly, respond more accurately, stay focused, collaborate and communicate, allowing you to accomplish exactly what it is that needs doing.

Whether you’re designing a new app, managing a new health project or planning an event, Scrum can help. It’s a proven framework used by Microsoft, Adobe and Google and supports you to stay on top of all your tasks. Become a Professional Scrum Master with ALC Training and not only can you help yourself, you can help others in your team stay on top too. The course provides cutting-edge instruction for anyone coaching a development team toward increased efficiency and effectiveness.

If you’re already using the Scrum framework or you’re a product manager, program manager, designer or developer, take the next step by becoming a Professional Scrum Master. Call ALC Training on 1300 767 592 today.