8 unproductive habits

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5 min read

I wrote about habits that help us improve. It is also important to be aware of unproductive habits we have.

These often disguise themselves as our personality and character, but they are actually bad habits that we acquired over time.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”

Charles C. Nobel

Since they are bad habits, they can be eliminated. You just need to do the opposite regularly so they become good habits.

1. Over-thinking

Stop worrying. Start doing. Worrying won’t make the problems go away. Taking action brings you closer to completing tasks.

Don’t mentally paralyse yourself by over-thinking. Don’t think “what if”, adopt the mantra “what will be, will be.” Be positive.

This is not to say you should take action without thinking. You need to make the necessary analyses and considerations, but don’t over do it.

2. Not keeping a record

There are people who think they have good memory, and those who are acutely aware of how fleeting the human mind is.

I found myself in many occasions where I had a wonderful epiphany or idea and told myself I will write it down later, or that I will remember it because it is so awesome. And I end up not remembering what I thought of a minute later.

Nowadays, I put down thoughts in my Bear app to track where my mind wanders. I find having a record of a meeting, even a casual dinner with a friend, is a great way to help me remember the time spent better.

Keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of your days and what you have been thinking about each day. So when you look back, you can see how you have progressed or grown.

3. Be your worst enemy

We often give ourselves less credit than we deserve. Our inner voice tells us that we are not good enough.

Learn to love yourself. You are better than you think, and you will be in a much better place if you allow yourself to be proud of how far you have come.

4. Stop learning

Many of us stop learning when we finish school. Or just learn when we have training at work.

“Learning isn’t a way of reaching one’s potential but rather a way of developing it.”

Karl Anders Ericsson

Learning is a lifelong process. You are never too old to learn something new. And there is always something out there that you can learn.

Look at the world with an inquisitive mind and you might just pick up something that changes your life.

5. Being stubborn

All of us are stubborn in one way or another, over a spectrum of stubbornness. There are times when we should be stubborn and stick to what we believe.

When it comes to getting things done, you create more problems by refusing to work with or listen to others.

Be aware that we all are stubborn. Recognise it and make sure you reign in your stubbornness.

6. Checking and consuming

Our smartphones are such horrible black holes. They give you instant access to and endless list of things to check – messages, emails, your favourite social media, your next favourite social media, news, sports results and various other time sinks.

Notifications remind us to check our phones, and we end up being sucked into all the different apps. You are consuming content created by others instead of creating content or working on your to-do list.

7. Escaping problems

We all have tasks that comfort us and allows us to escape from the issues we might have. Some people dive into cooking. Others find things to learn. They are all ways we distract ourselves and keep us from having to face our problems.

Not dealing with problems doesn’t make them go away. They might just simmer into bigger problems. Deal with them so you can enjoy doing the things that you love without a nagging worry.

8. Not having rules

Rules are important to define a boundary. Having a constraint doesn’t inhibit creativity. In fact, constrains encourage us to find creative ways to do things.

Having no rules just makes us wander around aimlessly and we end up wasting time.

Create a set of rules for yourself. These become principles you live by and eventually define who you are.

Eliminating unproductive habits

Now that you know what unproductive habits to look out for, you can identify them and work towards eliminating them.

Habits form when we do things in a certain way regularly or all the time. They are good habits when they are beneficial to us, and bad habits when they affect us in a negative way.

You might find it hard to get rid of a bad habit. It is not as hard as you think. You just need to do the opposite of how you usually go about a bad habit. In most cases, it will let you turn the bad habit into a good one.