The opportunities that science and technology have brought in our lives are immense. From making work easy to more entertainment, there exists a pool of great things that have emanated from technological innovations, inventions, and advancements.
However, unpleasant consequences that impact negatively on our social connections and plans have increased with the advancement of technologies and days. Most of the time, we spend time on distractions that use our time productively.
While we cannot exhaust the list of time wasters, you might like to know the most prevalent distractions. A bonus of useful productivity hacks will accompany each of the barely noticeable but common distractions listed.
#8- Social Media
While some might not notice, human beings spend a lot of time glued on their devices in social media more than we would account for. The average time spent on social media differs from one nation to another. For example, the Philippines spend an average of three hours and fifty-three minutes on social media platforms. Americans on the other hand use an average of two hours on social media alone.
While some nations might record lower averages, the trend of social media networks for all nations can tell more of how much time is wasted on social media platforms. According to Statistica.com, the average time human beings spend on social media in 2019 was about 1.6 times more than the time consumed by the same seven years from then.
However, it doesn’t mean that social media is all a time waster. Some people such as online marketers, social media managers, alongside other professionals use social media for corporate needs. Unluckily, the larger percentage of social media users are people who use it not in the most productive ways.
All is not lost when it comes to the use of social media. For social media users driven by fun and entertainment, one can track the time they spend on the platforms, setting a limit that they should not exceed for some given time. In case the use of social media is essential for your work schedule, it is advisable to set your work goals right. This is to avoid getting caught up in time-wasting doing things not aligned to your profession.
#7- Sleep Deprivation
We all wish for optimal productivity with meeting deadlines being important in every task especially for freelancers. However, many of us get it wrong having our desire for productivity affects the quality of our rest and sleep. What many don’t understand is that burning that midnight oil and spending more time to force optimal productivity might in a real sense make you less productive.
While you may achieve your productivity goal for a given period of time, you will in the long run suffer from sleep sacrifice. Notably, periodical sleep deprivation might also lower your creativity and even lead to mental health problems. So, how should one improve the quality of their sleep to avoid the predicament that comes with sacrificing sleep?
· You need to maintain some balance between your work and life to avoid excess stress
· It is recommendable to avoid working some hours before sleeping to reduce the stress levels before you lay on your bed for some rest.
· Regular exercises are also effective in helping you maintain a healthy quality of sleep. Try to include some yoga, walking, jogging, gym, or any game in your schedule from time to time.
· Finally, you might need to ensure that to gain the habit of sleeping for adequate hours. An average of seven hours in a day of sleep will definitely help you achieve optimal productivity.
One of the greatest trends that people assume to be a productivity hack is the idea of multitasking. Well, some have seen it work and still advocate for it. This has gone to the extent of having lots of books sold and even workshops held in advocacy for the idea. However, while many think of multitasking as the remedy to their bulky and long to-do-list, it actually offers less or negligible aid.
According to Crenshaw’s findings in “The Myths of Multitasking. How ‘Doing It All’ Gets Nothing Done,” there is a less positive impact that comes with multitasking. In fact, multitasking affects creativity and productivity negatively. In the book, it is highlighted that multitasking is not for everyone with only a very few numbers of us able to do it. For many, the idea is to focus on one task at a go and do something else when we are done with the previous.
In the book “The Multitasking Myth” one can get informed about the results of a myriad of studies concerning multitasking. Some of the results compare the mind of a multitasker to that of a child, who can easily be distracted. And true to the word, people will be penalized for texting while driving on the highways. Focusing on two or more things at the same time will in most cases leave one in jeopardy.
To avoid multitasking, you might need to understand the true value of multitasking in that there is less to gain from the productivity hack as some might refer it to. As Bruce Lee uttered, a thousand kicks practiced once are not worth fearing compared to a single kick practiced a thousand times. From this, we can derive that it’s all about what you focus on and not the myriad of things you can do at a time. That’s how you will perfect a certain art you possess since you will allocate adequate time for it.
#5- Delegation Avoidance
Many of us wish to believe that there is no one better than them in almost everything they know hence won't delegate some tasks to others. Well, while this might have boosted the esteem of some towards achieving great levels of success, watch out since it might be a distraction in life. There are other reasons that might have us avoid delegating tasks. Some of them include lack of trust and confidence in others, inability to control and manage others, and unwillingness to risk it at all.
Notably, the lack of trust in other people may also lead to a series of negative consequences such as micromanagement and overly monitoring of one’s task force. This implies that being a manager, one would barely have anything done without having a hawk’s eye on the subordinate’s proceedings at the task. Whether you’re in the corporate world or doing freelancing, the delegation of duties is essential. From the findings of Neil Patel, co-founder of NP Digital, the delegation of tasks can save you up to $2000 a week if you learn the art of delegation.
One thing that one should be open-minded about is the possibility of delegation to be effective or frustrating. However, the upside of delegating is that you remain in charge of the influencing process. The following are notable productivity hacks that can help improve your delegation skills for more productivity in your art.
· Outsource the perfect people for the given task. Otherwise, the whole process will be a sham.
· Offer clear instructions for the people you outsource. Here, you need to observe transparency with these people offering them more information on what they should do to improve the results.
· You might need to explain the reason for delegating. Some people wish that they know the reason as to why you delegate the tasks. After all, everyone wishes to know the real value and importance they would play part in while handling some delegated tasks.
#4- Being a Perfectionist
The last thing you might need to be is a perfectionist while aiming at optimal productivity levels. In fact, many mistake perfection as the ultimate result of productivity. A 2017 research study of perfectionism amongst college students in Canada, the UK, and the USA has the results compared to a similar study dating back to 1989. The conclusion reached was that three types of perfectionism had taken an upwards surge since 1989.
From the study, many in the sample population used the idea of perfectionism as a major excuse for their missed deadlines and lateness. The fact is that you might spend your entire life searching for absolute perfection and never even get close to that. After all, done is better than perfect. In some cases, extreme perfectionism might not even offer great quality having it improve some negligible traits in a given art.
Spending excess time trying to improve every detail might be the greatest time robber in your life hence reducing your productivity. To get rid of being a perfectionist, you might need to avoid some of the following.
· Avoid comparing yourself to other people
· Develop enough confidence
· Learn to accept and forgive imperfection in your life
· You might need to measure your work progress too
· Accept failure as a component of progress
· Avoid overestimating yourself through setting unrealistic goals
#3- Lack of Ergonomics and Convenience
One of the reasons you might be less productive is the lack of comfort. With lack of comfort comes poor concentration, hence resulting in loads of valuable time wasted. Therefore, ergonomic principles of having your office and home stuff arranged is a noticeable productivity hack to practice. Notably, the lack of ergonomics will for many people lead to irritation and stress.
Not only will this lead to decreased productivity but it also has an impact on your general health. With a pleasant and comfortable workplace, there are few distractions that can draw your attention. Get to a routine of giving yourself breaks after every one and a half hours of working. You can take some drinks, especially water then or do some physical activity.
#2- Lack of Automation
Other than equipping your workplace with some ergonomics, you might also require some automation as a perfect productivity hack. You might have noticed that office work processes have become obsolete and most employees have the desire to change all that. Even for freelancers, there are old habits of poor automation that might be bringing your productivity to a hitch.
The following are some ways through which you might fix some of the problems with lack of automation.
· Delete and get rid of all unnecessary stuff in your workplace
· Learn to manage your time by following some schedule
· Organize your workspace
· Split and organize your data into folders on your computer
#1- Poor Online Communication
We all know that nothing moves the world like communication. With many processes nowadays moving to the online space, there is a need to use online communication in the most optimal way and to your advantage. There is a need to be polite and efficient when holding discussions on technical specifications or elaborating any details of a given project.
The following are some of the most neglected cues of online communication.
· Failure to check grammar before delivering information
· Failure to make use of paragraphing
· Sending of one sentence in a message. There is a need to send the whole idea and not a sentence in a message
· Use of all caps in communications was not necessary
· Failure to mention sources of information presented in form of statistics
From the above, it is evident that petty matters might be robbing our time and productivity without our consent even when we are all eyes. Notably, we are almost affected by one or several of the issues stated above. Consider fixing most of the above time-wasters with the mentioned productivity hacks for each to improve your efficiency and productivity at large.
About the Contributor
Georgi Todorov is the founder of ThriveMyWay, a place for online entrepreneurs, bloggers, SEO specialists, and freelancers to find success in their own way.