Five Productivity Mistakes I Make

Photo of a laptop on a table with the text 5 productivity mistakes-common pieces of productivity advice that don't work for my lifestyle

Productivity systems are only useful if they fit your lifestyle.  I’m guilty of going down the productivity rabbit hole and becoming obsessed with the newest system or app that will make me more efficient.  If you become too in love with trying out the newest app, soon all you will be doing is setting up productivity apps.   Don’t feel guilty if you can’t get an app or system to work for you lifestyle.   Productivity is about being…productive.  Shocking, right?  In the spirit of honesty, here are some of the productivity mistakes that I make and systems that I can’t get to work for me.

1.  I keep a paper and a digital planner

It’s horribly un-minimalist and inefficient of me.  I write faster than I type so handwritten notes are still the fastest input method for me.  I tried to go smartphone only. Because of the difficulty in adding information quickly, I wouldn’t add entries to my smartphone.  I ended up with a bunch of loose sticky notes in my purse that got lost.  I finally accepted that I still need a paper agenda as my primary input method when I am out on the go.

2.  I don’t exercise in the morning

Morning exercise is another productivity hack that I can’t get to work for me.  I get up at 5:45 AM.  My dog is a diabetic and she needs to go outside, get her insulin shot, and be fed before I can leave for work.  I have a one hour commute in the best of conditions.  Rather than get up at 4:30, I made the decision to exercise at night.

I do fit in a daily walk at lunchtime which helps reset my productivity for the afternoon.  My advice is to fit in exercise when and where you can in your lifestyle.

3.  I sleep in on the weekends

Granted I don’t get to sleep in that much, but I let my dog set the schedule for the weekend.  She does have to get up and get me off to work every weekday morning.

4.  I check my email first thing in the morning

Taming the email monster is an ongoing process for me.  Checking email first in the morning can very easily become a productivity mistake if you aren’t careful.  When I start work in the morning, I do a quick headline scan and delete any promotional emails that aren’t relevant.  After I tackle my most important task of the day, I go back and start processing my emails.

By checking my email twice in the morning, I am not following the one touch principle.  However, a quick email scan lets me know of anything urgent that I need to fit into my morning schedule.

5.  I love reading newspapers

Information overload is real.  Dealing with too much information can cause you to feel overwhelmed and stressed.  Cutting out non-emergency notifications has helped me stop reacting and start being productive.  Still, I am not a person who is comfortable with cutting the news out of my life completely.   If I find an interesting article during the week, I will save it to Pocket.  One of my Saturday morning luxuries is to read several long-form news articles. I use a combination of Pocket and Flipboard as well as a few email newsletters to keep me updated on what’s going on in the world.

Your Turn

What productivity mistakes do you make?  Are there any productivity systems, apps or hacks that you haven’t been able to make work in your life?  Let me know in the comments!


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5 productivity mistakes I make: productivity tips that don't work for me


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