By Christina Attrah

Whether we mean to or not, our daily lives are filled with unproductive habits. Said habits make us feel less efficient when trying to achieve our business goals and can cause us to miss out on opportunities.

Running your own business is fantastic. You choose which clients you work with, and you can shape your business in a way that suits you. However – this also means you don’t have a boss looming over you and checking on your progress. It’s all on you, so you need to keep your productivity in tip top shape.

Managing time is a struggle, but there are things you can do and unproductive things you can avoid to increase your productivity levels – keep reading to find out how.

1. Not Setting Goals (or Setting Too Many Goals)

Not knowing what you want to achieve can make things appear hazy and create a lack of direction. On the flip side – setting too many goals can become overwhelming.

Really think about the main goals you wish to achieve over a set period without burning yourself out.

2. Not Tracking Finances

Utilities, office rent, supplies…sometimes our bills can get on top of us and bog us down.

Commit a certain time each day, or a day in the week, to really knuckle down on your finances and plan. Let’s face it, you’ll never “be in the mood” to work out your budgets for the month, but that’s even more of a reason to nip it in the bud and get on with it.

3. Not Writing Things Down

A spur of the moment idea can really help you get things set in motion, but what if you can’t recall that idea an hour later?

Write things down, no matter how ridiculous they might sound later, you never know when that thought could come in handy. Writing ideas down also helps rid you of the thoughts in your head and focus on the task at hand.

4. Not Taking Breaks

It’s tempting to bash out plans there and then, but when you have a lot on your plate this can lead to unproductive multitasking and you’ll begin to feel restless.

Take five and partake in something relaxing, such as going for a walk or mindfulness meditation.

5. Juggling Too Many Tasks

There are many articles on why dividing your time between numerous tasks is counter-productive. It can lead to low quality work and increased stress.

Download a time tracker tool and focus on one task at a time. It will also give you a better sense of achievement knowing you’ve completed a task to a high standard.

6. Saying Yes to Too Many Things

Showing keenness and generally being a helpful person can lead to saying yes too often, leading to too many responsibilities you must take care of. Don’t be afraid to say no so you have time to focus on your priorities.

7. Neglecting Physical and Mental Health

Not looking after your physical and mental health can have detrimental effects on your work, let alone your body. This can cause you to become lethargic at work and put off difficult tasks.

Ensure you’re focusing on creating healthy habits by getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals regularly and exercising as a part of your daily routine.

8. Not Automating Alerts

Do you really need to check your project management tools on the clock?

Set up alerts so that you receive a daily (or weekly) roundup. This way it’s a load off your mind and you won’t need to keep checking your emails. Speaking of…

9. Checking Email Non-Stop

You shouldn’t have to keep clicking the refresh button on your email. Email is a reactive task, so really, you should be focusing on the more important tasks and only reacting to email messages as they come in.

We get it, you’re probably signed up to lots of resources that are genuinely useful, but checking your inbox for these can hinder your productivity. Create a new folder and add the sender of these emails as a rule to only go through to an assigned inbox you can check later.

10. Avoiding Hard Tasks

It can become easy to think of excuses not to tackle a difficult task, such as working on a piece of copy about an industry you know nothing about. So instead you do every other possible task except the hardest of them all.

Productive people tackle the hardest tasks head on, so they don’t sweat the small stuff.

11. Not Using Time Wisely

If you want to take your business to the next level, but need your evenings to focus on up-skilling yourself, then you may need to learn to say no more than ever.

It’s important to pick and choose between recreational activities and ones that will progress your career. Dedicate one night a week to social activities and use the rest to work on your own endeavors.

12. Having Constant Self Doubt

There’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, however too much perfectionism can mean minor mistakes can seriously throw you off and you’ll feel less inclined to finish tasks because they aren’t your level of perfect.

Get second opinions and collaborate with others. This way you can get different viewpoints and make only the necessary changes to your work as opposed to beating yourself up on the small stuff.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos