7 Surprising Reasons Why You Fail To Be Productive

Another day soars by and you’re finding it hard to relax.

Your to-do list never shrinks and you’re constantly finding new things to add to it. You wish you could’ve reconnected with that friend you’ve been meaning to grab coffee with for weeks, but you’re always behind on your tasks.

You can’t help but wonder if you’ll ever be capable of organizing your life. Maybe one day, you think.

We’ve all been there. The good news is you can get more done without this hopeless struggle in your mind.

But you’ll need to stop these 7 bad habits first.

  1. You Write All Your Tasks Down On A To-Do List

Of course you write everything you have to do on a list. You need to prioritize your tasks, right?

Consider this: In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen recommends using the “2 Minute Rule” to simplify our lives. He says that if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete you should do it now instead of waiting to do it later, no matter what the task is. This reduces the possibility of getting sidetracked and forgetting about the task later.

Sometimes we’re so focused on prioritizing our tasks that we forget what we could do now to check off our list, even if that means doing the dishes before calling the bank.

  1. You Don’t Respect Your Current Task

If you’re trying to finish a project on your to-do list, are you really giving it the attention it deserves?

Imagine writing an email to a prospective client. It’s for an important business deal for your company, and you’re trying to improve PR for your business.

You don’t want to blow it, but the words won’t come.

So you check Facebook and put on distracting music. You may even give up on something and swear you’ll come back to it later.

Big mistake. The reason you have an unwieldy to-do list isn’t because you lack the proper ‘pump or song’ or because you have tons to do – no, the reason you can’t complete your tasks is because you’re not giving your tasks that attention they deserve. And as a result you’re crippling the progress you could be making by giving in to distractions.

  1. You Don’t Practice Mindfulness

It’s surprising how many people don’t practice daily mindfulness and then complain how the day flew by.

But is this really surprising?

If you aren’t in tune with your mind you’ll find your thoughts constantly wandering and you’ll struggle to focus on your tasks.

You only need to grab a pen and paper right now to be mindful (no meditation required). What’s stopping you from taking action? Weigh your goals against your frustrations in opposite columns and fill it in.

Then use the data to develop a strategy to ascend over your mental blocks and crush your goals.

  1. You Don’t Batch Tasks

Batching tasks is crucial to capitalizing on your ability to focus – here’s why.

If you write an email, you activate that specific part of your brain. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to break through a mental block and get focused on a task, and once you get “in the zone” of writing emails you’ll make more and more progress.

However, if you constantly switch between tasks your brain will struggle to focus and distract itself – and you’ll get distracted much easier. And instead of one completed task you’ll have two half-finished ones.

Why not batch all your email-related tasks together and then free up your mind to do other chores? Your mind will thank you later as you wind-down with time you didn’t even know you had.

  1. You Don’t Take Time Out To Exercise

If we don’t move around enough we lose energy – and without proper blood flow from our body our mind loses focus and becomes less efficient, which impacts our capability to get things done.

Take this moment to stand up and shake out the tense bones in your body, and give yourself a quick break.

You can use this exercise to recharge even when your list becomes unbearable, and it’s great for regaining your focus throughout the day.

  1. You Take Too Many Breaks

Breaks can be detrimental to your focus levels if you keep bringing yourself out of the “zone” too often, although they can definitely recharge you after longer sessions of work.

Always remember to find a balance between work and rest, and adjust as you go – because in the end your goals are your goals, and only you know what works for you.

  1. You Don’t Use Your Own System

It’s fine to rely on expert opinion, but only if it works for you.

Here’s the truth: there’s no “cure-all” to productivity. To be efficient you have to devise your own system from your experiences – because if you don’t use a system that works just for you then you’ll inevitably fall prey to distraction.

And are you willing to let distraction steal your time away?

Meeting Your Goals Isn’t Easy

Imagine how you’ll feel after completing your to-do list in full every day.

While it won’t be easy to meet your goals, it’s possible to regain your focus and get more things done in life.

And if you implement these 7 tips in your life, you’ll find that time isn’t your worst enemy when it comes to productivity.

No, you might find that time was on your side all along.


Blake helps writers overcome the stumbling blocks that prevent them from releasing their gifts into the world. Download his free guide “The Bulletproof Writer’s Handbook: A Proven Guide to Conquer the Blank Page Forever” to discover how to supercharge your writing today.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.