When you think about a lack of productivity, think of its opposites. What connotes with them? Of course, organization, clarity, can-do attitude and a few others. Unproductive thinking habits are their alter egos.
Lack of productivity starts in your mind, so if you can target those nasty thinking habits that are coming your way, you can do something about them and improve your productivity.
It’s not an accident this habit took the ‘honorable’ #1 spot. I’m not talking about idleness per se, but about idleness in thinking. If you are a lazy thinker, nothing can help you.
You cannot analyze what’s wrong, you cannot come up with better solution, because you don’t think at all. You let your life be led on autopilot.
The rule of thumb is this: if you consume more than you create, laziness in thinking creeps in. So, all of the modern, so-called entertainment – TV, video games, YT, social media – rob you of your productivity.
When you consume content, especially with close to no reflection about it (mindless browsing on YT, sitcoms and soap operas, arcane games) autopilot takes over your mind’s steering.
The magnificent organ you have between your ears is of no more use than your liver or anus. It’s as passive as those other organs.
2. I can’t
This is easily the #2 enemy of productivity. His cousins – “It’s too difficult,” “I don’t know” and “I will not” are not far behind.
When you think you can’t do something, you abort productivity before it has even a chance to be born. If you can’t or you won’t, well, how can anything happen?
Listen to the wise grandma:
If anyone else has done it, you can do it, and if someone else hasn’t done it, you can do it first. — Jeremy Frandsen’s grandma
This unproductive thinking habit often comes from habit #1, laziness. It’s so much easier to say to yourself “I can’t” than to try doing anything.
When you run amok, don’t know your priorities nor tasks and let a back pile grow too much, it’s hard to be productive. You are overwhelmed, and in the end you do nothing.
I let my inbox grow once again and, as a result, I’ve been avoiding my email altogether. It’s not the best course of action to get things done, don’t you think?
Create plans, schedules, and frameworks. If they don’t work for you, tweak them and improve, but don’t try to run your life by the seat of your pants.
4. Wrong questions
If you ask yourself “Why does it always happen to me?” or “Why can I never be on time?” your brain will be busy finding answers to those questions, instead of being busy with the stuff you want to get done.
The human brain is a search engine. This is its primary function. Whenever you throw a question at your brain, it happily chases it. It loves it, this is what it was created for. And it always provides you answers.
If you give the wrong questions, you will not be happy with the answers. But the worst damage is done by occupying your brain with something totally not constructive. It’s like asking a Senior IT Engineer in your company to clean a toilet with a toothbrush. The guy is totally capable of doing this job, but you’d have so much more value if he got busy with your IT stuff instead.
Change your questions into “How” questions:
- how did others do that?
- how I can learn this?
- where can I find resources?
- how can I amend my ways to achieve what I want?
Your brain will chase those questions, and it will bring you the answers. This time, however, the answers will be encouraging, not demotivating.
There are a whole lot more of unproductive thinking habits, but if you deal with the four above, you will get rid of 80% of the obstacles. Watch yourself especially for #1 (laziness). Stop mindlessly consuming, start creating.