7 Bad Habits You Must Avoid To Be More Productive


We are all seeking the holy grail of total efficiency and being more productive, and our online and offline bookstores are laden with tips and strategies on how to reach that wonderful place. So much of it is so good!

You see habits and rituals are fundamental to success, and when you read the stories of the really successful, you will find they all have that in common – they have built those rituals into their lives and those rituals and habits have become the bedrock of their success.

I am all in favor of these habits and rituals!

However, I find in my work with clients that a lot of focus needs to be directed towards those habits that have “crept” surreptitiously into their lives – those habits that do not serve them well, and in fact, are significant barriers to their future success.

Here I want to share with you the 7 bad habits I mostly encounter – I encourage you to take steps to avoid these like the proverbial plague, and if they resonate with you and your behavior, then I implore you to do something about them – for your sake!!

My 7 Bad Habits are: 

  1. Stop multi tasking. I absolutely deplore how multi tasking is so often viewed as a virtue or a skill that should be developed. It is not! If you want to do something well, then give it your full attention – not just some of your attention. There are times when we have to multi task – minding children comes to mind – so only do it when you must. Otherwise focus, focus, focus!
  2. Checking emails. Email is wonderful and we could not live without it now. But we do not need to be welded to it! If you get into the habit of continuously checking it then you are running your life according to someone else’s agenda, not your own. Dedicate 3 times during the day to check your emails– and that’s it!
  3. Grazing junk at desk. So many desks I see look like confectionery shops! There are sweets, biscuits, chewing gum or other junk food all over them! This continuous “grazing” of junk food is so bad for you. It drains your energy, makes you feel sluggish and is also doing nothing for your waistline! If you must eat something at your desk, bring in some fruit.
  4. Complaining. Are you one of the many who, when you meet at the water cooler or canteen, you always find something to complain about? Give yourself a reality check – in last 24 hours, how many times did you participate in a conversation where complaining was taking place? It becomes habitual. If you have a complaint, then do something to remedy it.
  5. Too busy to exercise. I hear this a lot. “My schedule just does not allow any time for exercise – I really wish it did, but it simply doesn’t” That is self-delusion! It was said to me recently in a workshop and I asked the person if they watched television – and of course, they spent at least an hour every night doing so. “Just for relaxation, of course”, they said. Then give that time to exercise. Don’t make excuses that will damage your health.
  6. Watching TV, videos, engaging on social media etc. Nothing wrong with any of these – but if your productivity is not at the level it should be then you are giving time to pointless activity. Check yourself – how much time did you spend in the last 48 hours doing these activities? Could that time be used more valuably? Of course it could.
  7. Always on the go. Why is this a bad habit? Surely it is the sign of a busy person? Well, yes, it may be well be – but it is not about being busy, it is about being productive and effective. You need to take time out to reflect, to pause, to think about your life and what you want from it. You need to take the time to plan. You do not have a limitless amount of time, so you need to choose how you are going to spend it.

Now, the challenge to you is to take some time to reflect upon these 7 habits – and where they apply, and then develop new habits to replace them. Those new habits must be consistent with your goals and help you move towards achieving them.


What would you add to these 7 bad habits?


John Murphy



John Murphy has been running his own consultancy business, John Murphy International, for over 10 years.

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