Today you’re going to learn what productive habits are a waste of time. If you’re constantly busy but you feel like you’re running in place getting nowhere, the cause may be the productivity habits that you are practicing on the daily basis.
Yep, the very habits that are supposed to be beneficial to you could actually be wasting your time. There are many habits that are obviously detrimental like scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, saying yes to invitations that you don’t care for. Those are obviously wasting your time.
Then there are some habits that appear to be productive on the surface but they really aren’t and those are the habits that we’re going to be talking about today.
So let’s get right into it.
What Productive Habits Are a Waste Of Time?
1. The „What if” habit.
I am convinced that procrastination is simply a fear coping mechanism. We knowingly and sometimes willingly waste our time on filler activities because we are afraid to fail. Think about it. Really think about this.
If you knew that your next business endeavor would succeed 100%, if you knew that your next project would make a global impact, if you knew that the book you’re writing is going to be an instant bestseller, you would not be afraid of taking action.
You wouldn’t be reading this article right now. You would be working on your next business idea, writing your next book, working on your new project but since life isn’t certain, unfortunately that’s not the way it works. Our „What If” look a lot different.
Instead of focusing on empowering „What if”, we focus on fearful ones. We let those take over our mind and hold us back. What if I fail? What if people judge me? What if people leave a bad review? What if no one reads my book? What if people comment negative things on my project?
When you waste your time thinking on what could go wrong, you don’t see what could go right. So make sure that every single time you start a sentence with „what if”, that sentence ends with empowering words that are gonna move you forward, not words that are going to scare your potential away.
2. Planning too much.
I am a big advocate for planning. I never start my year without goals. I don’t start my weeks without a plan and every single day, I make sure that I have a schedule that I’m going to follow that’s going to help me get things done but I can’t plan for obstacles.
They are unexpected. I don’t know what will happen. So I try not to spend too much time strategizing and overthinking things because there are unforeseen detours that I can’t see right now and I’m not gonna be able to get to them until I put the planner down and execute.
Planning is important because it gives you this sense of clarity and a sense of direction. In the long run, a plan is better than no plan at all. It will save you time but too much planning can stall your progress and keep you stuck. So instead of trying to put all your ducks in a row and come up with this definitive blueprint before you take action, just make a simple guideline and test it as soon as you can.
Once you test it and you get back the results, you can adjust this guideline and take another shot and that’s how you get ahead.
Time-wasting habit number three is…
3. Overcomplicating things.
If you’re constantly working, constantly busy but your business isn’t growing, you aren’t hitting your goals, it could be that you are overcomplicating things. Many times when people start a business, when they’re starting an online business, they get caught up in all these minute details like branding colors and taglines and logos, all of these things that are important but they’re further down the line and it’s the same thing with many other aspects in life even cooking a recipe, writing a book, making a video.
We can overcomplicate many things and overcomplicators are experts at turning this small hill into a big mountain and I know this because I’m one of them. I tend to overcomplicate things.
It’s like if it’s too simple, it’s not good enough. The more complicated, the better. It has happened to me many times before where I’m working on this project for a long time,
writing a chapter or making this graphic design and in the end, I end up removing all the extra bells and whistles that I just spent hours perfecting because I realize that I like the simple version better.
Thankfully though, I ran across this philosophy named Occam’s razor, that’s what it’s called and this philosophy states that usually, the simplest solution, the one with the fewer number of steps is the answer to any problem.
I have a Post-it note stuck on my computer that says keep it simple and any time that I’m starting to feel frustrated or stressed out because a project is not coming together the way I’d like it to or it’s taking way too long and I’m not seeing any progress, this note reminds me to opt for the simple solution.
I can always improve things later but for now, simple is best.
4. Thinking all tasks are one and the same.
Not all tasks are of equal value.
Some of ’em just keep you busy and others produce results like what we’ve been talking about throughout this whole post, the overplanning, overcomplicating things, doing too much research, scrolling through social media, all of these tasks will keep you busy all day long and working on projects, writing a book, learning new skills, all of these things will produce results.
And it’s so easy to get caught up in the activities that keep you busy because they’re easier to do but if you really want to see results, if you don’t wanna waste your time doing things that don’t move the needle forward then you need to focus the majority of your time on the result producing activities.
This became so evident to me when I started doing weekly reviews before jumping into a new week. When you’re done reading this article, do yourself a favor and think about start doing weekly reviews because it’s gonna show you how you can assess your activities that you do throughout the week so that you can know which ones are working and which ones are just keeping you stuck and keeping you busy.
The final time-wasting habit that I wanna discuss today is…
5. Trying to do it all.
If you have $100 and you spend those on the newest Jordans or a brand new TV or whatever it may be, you can’t use those same $100 to spend or invest in your business. You have to take your wallet out and use a different $100 bill and it’s the same thing with your time.
If you spend an hour of your day scrolling through Instagram, double tapping pictures, you cannot use that same hour to work on your business. You made a trade-off. You decided to forego your dreams and goals for a snapshot of someone else’s life, some of which you may not even know and unlike money, time is limited.
You can’t keep taking hours out of your time bank. You only have 24 hours in your day and if you sleep seven hours a day then that leaves you with 17 hours. At some point, you’ll run out. There’s only so many trade-offs you can do. I don’t wanna discourage you.
Of course, everything is possible. Whatever you want to do, you can do it just not all at once. Mathematically, it’s impossible. So it’s a waste of your time to try. You’ll keep falling short.
So instead, use the power of focus to master a few things at a time. Once you can handle what’s on your plate then you can start adding more.
Alright, that sums up the five time-wasting habits. Let me know which of these time-wasting habits are you struggling with the most right now? For me, it’s the overcomplicating things. I am so bad at that but I’m getting better. The Post-it note trick is helping me out a lot.