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3 Unproductive Habits Worth Breaking

Posted on August 17, 2016 by Phyllis Gillman in Customer Service

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The funny thing about habits (especially bad habits) is that some of them feel so natural we don’t even know that we have them.

Bad habits at work can be especially damaging if you don’t notice them, as they can negatively affect your productivity, reputation and health (both mental and physical).

That’s why it’s helpful to take some time to identify the patterns and practices that make up your work routine and decide whether they are helpful or harmful.

I thought about this for a while and came up with 3 unproductive habits worth breaking that you may not even know you have!

Not Prioritizing

One mistake we make on a daily basis is not planning out what we want to accomplish, and in what order we want to accomplish our goals. On some days, this means determining what 2 tasks you need to complete before starting something else. On other days, this may mean focusing all of your energy on one project.

A great way to help you decide what is important is to remind yourself what your overarching goals are and then plan out your tasks accordingly. You may find that doing a lot of the “easy” things first isn’t always the most productive use of your time! Here's some step-by-step advice from Tatyana Sussex for prioritizing your day:

1. Collect a list of all your tasks
2.  Identify what's urgent vs. what's important 
3. Assess the value of those tasks (Is it more important to work on something urgent?) 
4. Order your task by estimated effort (how much effort will this task require?)
5. Be flexible - priorities can change at a moment's notice
6. Know when to cut - you will not always get everything accomplished in one day, that's okay!

Sitting Idly

If you’ve been sitting at your desk just staring at your computer screen with nothing to show or resorted to looking at your phone screen for a distraction, it's time to get outside, take a breath of fresh air, or even go grab a drink of water!

Taking a break away from your screens isn’t always a waste a time. Breaks can help you refocus, retain information, and re-evaluate your goals so you can make the best use of your time at a desk. If you don't believe me, you can read about the science behind breaks!

Grouping your Meetings at Random

According to a 2007 Microsoft study, it can take up to 25 minutes to get focused on a task again after being interrupted by other online applications and notifications. If you have multiple meetings scattered throughout the day, you are not only being interrupted by notifications for those meetings but you are also being taken away from your desk altogether. This can make it hard to concentrate and even harder to deliver on tasks that require a lot of time and thought.

To ensure you give yourself enough time to do quality work, try grouping your meetings in blocks so you don’t have to waste time jumping between different tasks.

These are only 3 habits that may be harming your productivity. What other habits in your routine are worth re-evaluating?

*In case you didn’t know, it takes around 21 days to break a habit. Make today Day 1!

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As a 29-year customer service veteran in the insurance industry, Phyllis Gillman has spent more than her fair share of time helping clients and customers. In her long stint in the industry, she’s answered over 702,000 phone calls.


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