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Top 10 Productivity Killers: Habits to Avoid

Article 24 Jun 2023 253 0

Habits to Avoid

Top 10 Productivity Killers: Habits to Avoid

Aspiring for peak productivity is a shared goal among professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and students. However, certain bad habits unknowingly hamper our efficiency, causing us to fall short of our maximum potential. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the top 10 habits that decrease productivity and offer effective strategies to help you combat these productivity destroyers.

Unraveling the Productivity Mystery: Why Is Efficiency Elusive?

Our habits significantly influence productivity. While the right habits can fuel our efficiency, bad habits act as efficiency killers, draining our energy and wasting our time. The journey towards improved productivity begins with identifying these bad work habits.

The Top 10 Habits that Ruin Productivity

Here, we highlight the ten most common habits that lead to low productivity at work, complete with real-life examples, case studies, and statistics for a well-rounded perspective.

1. Multitasking

Commonly perceived as a valuable skill, multitasking is, in fact, one of the top habits that can ruin productivity. It leads to mistakes, reduces focus, and causes mental fatigue. A study from Stanford University demonstrated that heavy multitaskers had less cognitive control, proving less efficient than their single-tasking counterparts.

How to Avoid:

Embrace single-tasking. Concentrate on one task at a time before moving on to the next.

2. Procrastination

Postponing tasks until the last minute leads to stress and often results in subpar work. It's a productivity killer that affects about 20% of the population, according to research by psychologist Joseph Ferrari.

How to Overcome:

Break down large tasks into manageable parts and tackle them one by one. Prioritize using tools like the Eisenhower Box.

3. Poor Time Management

Time is a finite resource. Mismanaging it can lead to unaccomplished tasks and frustration.


Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique or time blocking. Leverage digital tools like Toggl or RescueTime for better time tracking.

4. Skipping Breaks

Working without taking breaks can lead to burnout and hamper productivity in the long run. Even the most driven professionals need downtime to recharge.

What to Do:

Take regular short breaks. Use methods like the Pomodoro Technique, which advocates for a five-minute break every 25 minutes of work.

5. Neglecting Physical Health

Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are vital for maintaining high energy levels and productivity.

How to Change:

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, maintain a healthy diet, and ensure you get seven to nine hours of sleep daily.

6. Constantly Checking Emails

Frequent email checking interrupts focus and hampers productivity. A study by the University of British Columbia found that limiting email checks to three times a day reduces stress and boosts productivity.

How to Fix:

Designate specific times during the day for checking emails.

7. Inefficient Meetings

Unproductive meetings are major productivity hindrances. A study by Atlassian revealed that the average office worker spends over 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings.

How to Improve:

Ensure each meeting has a clear agenda. Keep it concise, and make sure everyone's time is respected.

8. Working in a Cluttered Space

A cluttered workspace can lead to a cluttered mind, affecting your concentration and efficiency.

The Solution:

Adopt a minimalist approach to your workspace. Keep it clean and organized.

9. Not Setting Goals

Without clear goals, it's easy to lose direction, resulting in reduced productivity.

What to Do:

Set clear, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

10. Neglecting Mental Health

Poor mental health can severely impact productivity. It's important to pay attention to our mental wellbeing and seek help when necessary.

How to Improve:

Practice mindfulness, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. Consider seeking professional help if needed.

Expert Advice on Avoiding Productivity-Killing Habits

"It's crucial to identify and rectify habits that kill productivity," says productivity expert Laura Vanderkam. "By understanding these habits and replacing them with positive ones, individuals can drastically improve their efficiency."

The Impact of Bad Habits on Productivity: Case Studies

Case Study 1: Multitasking

In a Fortune 500 company, after employees were trained to avoid multitasking and focus on single tasks, they experienced a 50% decrease in the duration of projects and a significant increase in their completed projects.

Case Study 2: Email Checking

Atos, a French IT services company, implemented a policy restricting internal emails. As a result, they reported a 15% increase in productivity.


Enhancing productivity isn't about cramming more tasks into your day. It's about maximizing the output of your effort and time. By identifying and eliminating these productivity killers, you can make significant strides in your personal and professional life. Implement these strategies and pave your way to greater efficiency and success.

Remember, as Charles Duhigg, author of "The Power of Habit," says, "Bad habits are hard to overcome, but once you're aware of them, you're well on your way to changing them." Don't let these productivity destroyers hinder your journey to success. Keep learning, keep improving, and let your productivity soar.