Identify your Bad Habits

“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau

Do you know what bad productivity habits you have that are keeping you from getting more done? Identifying bad productivity habits is key in the process of changing how productive you are. You most likely already know you have some or you wouldn’t be here, right. You just need to determine which ones are causing you to be unproductive.

Bad habits are one of three types: emotional, mindset habits or action habits. Mindset habits consist of your thoughts and beliefs about yourself or others. It’s the phrases you repeat to yourself consistently. Bad mindset habits affect how you see yourself and how you act.

Action habits are those things you do repeatedly without noticing. Starting your day with a sweet, checking your social media repeatedly, procrastinating on projects until the last minute are all types of action habits.

Emotional bad habits are formed from how you feel about something. It can be stress based, fear-based or something as simple as boredom. Emotional bad habits are often seen when you procrastinate, feel overwhelmed or don’t make decisions instead of being productive.

Keep track of how you spend your time. Begin by writing down what you do each day. Be specific and honest. Look at what you do at work, at home, in your free time. Also consider the things that stress you and affect your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Ask others. If you aren’t sure what bad productivity habits are keeping you from accomplishing more, you can ask other people you work with, live with or who know you well what they are.

Identify the behavior or routine that’s causing the bad habit. Perhaps you aren’t getting stuff done because you are grabbing your phone and scrolling social media instead of doing what needs to be done.

More examples of bad habits you might be harboring:

  • You take too much time to complete a simple task.
  • You’re too hard on yourself when you don’t finish your work.
  • You spend your entire day planning.
  • You sit at your desk for hours on end.
  • You sit around waiting for the perfect moment to begin something.
  • You wait until the very last minute to start something.
  • You refuse to learn new skills.

Once you’ve identified the routine or behavior then you need to identify what reward you are getting from that routine. Learn the cues that triggers you to do the bad habit. Is it a certain place, time, emotion, activity, or person that triggers it? Track your activity for at least three days until you see a pattern.

What is the trigger? Is it emotional or a person? Is it a certain time of day or a certain place that triggers the habit?

Once you identify the trigger behind the habit, you can begin brainstorming activities to replace the habit. For example, you have friends who always want you to go to events while you are working. They beg, plead and somehow guilt you into going. Instead limit your contact with people or events that cause the bad habit, learning to say no, especially during times when you need to be productive when working toward your goal.

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