8 Horrible Habits That Are Ruining Your Productivity (and What You Can Do to Fix Them) Nicolas Cole

Some people confuse being busy with productivity. Productivity doesn’t just happen, it requires focused effort and commitment. Whatever affects your productivity will most likely have an impact on your success or otherwise.

Humans are creatures of habit, and the quality of your habits affects your ability to live up to your full potential. Productivity expert Nicolas Cole has compiled a list of eight common habits that sabotage people’s ability to perform at their best and explains how to break them. You probably already know which habits are hurting your efficiency, but getAbstract recommends Cole’s compilation as a useful reminder to everyone who wants to boost productivity by adopting better habits.

Success is the result of good habits. If you feel you aren’t reaching your full potential, examine your work routines. Eight common habits can sabotage your productivity:

1. “Constantly checking your phone”  

When you are stuck, reaching for the phone seems like an easy way out – except that refreshing your email won’t help. The phone is a premier distraction tool. Learn to resist the impulse to check it all the time.

2. “Not really listening”

Practice good listening skills. Don’t think in advance about how you are going to reply after the other person finishes talking. Instead, stay in the moment and focus on following the other person’s train of thought so you can build on the conversation.

3. “Multitasking”

The human brain is incapable of doing two things simultaneously. If you keep switching between two tasks, you won’t be able to do either of them well. Instead of letting small tasks – such as answering email – interrupt you throughout the day, group similar tasks together and block out time on your schedule to take care of them in one go.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

4. “Working with the TV on”

Background noise and visual distractions prevent you from working with full focus. To get into a state of flow, keep your work space quiet.

5. “Working in unproductive environments”

Don’t try to work and socialize at the same time. Pick a quiet spot to get your work done, and be social afterward.

6. “Working with unproductive people”

Working with other people can go well if you need to brainstorm or try to accomplish something that you can’t do by yourself. But you will be able to complete most other tasks faster and more efficiently if you do them on your own.

7. “Lack of preparation”

You can only be truly productive if you are well-prepared. For example, if you take up a project you haven’t worked on for a while, you may have to invest quite a bit of time to get back into the groove. Maximize the time you spend on a project by setting aside time every day to sharpen project-relevant skills and keep up with pertinent information.

8. “Notifications…off!”

None of the points above will make you any more productive if you work on a computer or next to a smartphone that constantly alerts you to incoming messages and reminders. Eliminate distractions by disabling all notifications.


  • Success is the result of good habits.
  • Resist the impulse to check your phone constantly, and turn off phone and computer notifications to keep electronic distractions to a minimum.
  • Create a quiet workplace environment, and avoid mixing work with socializing.
  • Don’t multitask. Carve out time blocks to take care of small tasks that are similar instead of letting them distract you throughout the day.
  • Maximize the time you spend on a project by setting aside time every day to sharpen relevant skills and keep up with pertinent information.

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