When procrastination strikes, it leaves us out of whack – and most importantly without focus. In my very first post I already touched on this infamous topic. But what are the main factors that shut down our productivity? Today I’d like to share my 5 personal productivity killers, and how to get rid of those pesky buggers. Hang in there, because we’re about to hit rough surface. [Did you also just imagine an airplane? Because I totally did. Okay let’s end the nonsense, onwards we go!]
Number one of my productivity killers: my phone
Surprise! Well not really. It is actually quite alarming that my phone is number one on this list of productivity killers. Wherever I am, my phone is always within reach – tempting me to check my texts, social media and stats. This is proving to be a huge problem for my concentration. Still, I love using my phone and prefer to have it with me. So what’s to be done about ‘that which cannot be avoided’? The solution is challenging – but nevertheless worth giving a try.
Some of my personal tips:
- Turn off notifications for Facebook, Instagram and other social apps
- Download apps that keep track of your smartphone usage – or prevent you from using it within a certain timeframe: Forest is my personal favorite
- Is your phone on your desk? Turn the screen around. It might surprise you how effective this can be. If you don’t see your notifications, you are less likely to grab your phone all the time
Number two: Social media (in general)
I already mentioned social apps – but I’d like to continue about social media in general. Because even when I don’t use my phone, I can still go to Facebook or Instagram on my computer. Avoiding social media can be tricky – I mean, the term ‘social media addiction’ is there for a reason – but I have some advice for those without fear. After all, a life without social media is but a fleshwound.
How to keep social media at bay:
- Do not keep social media platforms as pinned tabs in your browser. It’s like walking into Mordor without a plan. Stay away from the eye, my hobbits – or it will see right through you
- Create fixed times when it’s okay to check your social media, like during lunch or any other break
- Unfollow accounts that don’t serve you (anymore). Every month I unfollow the most annoying/useless accounts in my feed. No more wasting time on crappy content. Gosh, that sounds kinda harsh. I hope you get the point though
Number three: Email
Even though I’m not much of an ’emailer’ myself, I couldn’t leave this one out. Especially at work, email is the main source of distraction and procrastination. As a new message pops into your screen, you can almost feel it absorbing your focus – like some kind of productivity vampire. So before you open your inbox, you might want to follow up on the tips I’m about to give you.
Welcome to the (email) jungle – here’s what you gotta do
- Turn off email popups or notifications and plan a couple of hours a day for answering your email
- Subscribe to Unroll.me and declutter your inbox – trust me, it will save you tons of time deleting emails
- Stop seeing emails as a priority – and don’t let one email change your daily goal (also a note to self)
number four: not having a plan
Speaking of daily goals: one of my biggest productivity killer is not having a plan for each (working) day. This might sound like I’m on the autistic spectrum, but I love being in control of my daily activities. When I know what’s mainly going to happen, I feel secure and confident. If I do not – well, let’s not discuss that here shall we? Let’s just say that it makes me veeeery cranky. Also, in order to be productive, I need to have a plan for a particular day (or week). If you have a plan, it’s easier to follow through and track your goals.
So how do I make my daily plan?
- First of all I grab my bullet journal – which is kind of my holy grail when it comes to productivity
- Then, during my morning cuppa tea I write down the things I need to do that day
- During the day I add small goals that pop into my head, and at the end of the day I cross the finished tasks off my list – or I migrate them to the next day or week
number five: noise!
Oh yes. This might be the most annoying contributor on this list of productivity killers. Noise. It’s unpredictable, uncontrollable and undeniably there. It fries my brain and makes my blood boil. Sometimes it even gives me one of those stunning veins on my forehead. The point is: if there is anything I cannot stand, it is a noisy environment. So, move away then! That’s probably the first thing that comes to mind, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Sometimes it’s simply not possible to move away from a loud environment.
Let me help you out:
- First of all, may I present to you: headphones. They are portable, mostly noise-cancelling and they make you look fancy. Point made, eh? My personal favorites are my headphones from Urban Ears
- Create a playlist of music that boosts your productivity. I know for a fact that there are many awesome focus playlists on Spotify
I hope these productivity killers resonate with you – and that you found a way to get along with them! Anything to add to the list? Hit me up in the comments. Oh and by the way, you might like my free Procrastination Workbook to identify your main sources of distraction. You can download it in my Free Resources Library. You can sign up below to get full access.