What keeps you from being productive?

I’ve written before about motivation. But I’ve never spent much (or any) time thinking about what habits I have that keep me from being productive. And it’s really something I should probably spend some time doing.

Anyway, thinking it over (and examining my morning and early afternoon), here are some thoughts I’ve come up with:

  1. Email. I check it constantly. Every time the little number changes or I forget what the number was last time, so I think the number has changed. Every time I think I hear it chime. Or just because I’m bored, and maybe I missed a chime, and lots of my mail gets sorted into various subcategories and those unread messages aren’t counted in the normal total I see. I’ve tried closing the program, but I find it just doesn’t stay closed for long.
  2. News. I usually start my day by checking out a few blogs I follow as well as a few newspaper (local, national, and US). Then, I repeatedly check them out throughout the day incase there’s breaking news. On the plus side, I’m generally mostly up-to-date with what’s going on in the world.
  3. Reading. I’m a huge reader. News, Books, anything. But since I’ve started university, oh so many years ago, reading has been less about pleasure and more about necessity. Recently I’ve gone back to making sure I take time to read for fun. However, that can mean that an hour here, or an evening there quickly disappear.
  4. Random internet browsing. I’ve always been interested in so many things. And reading was always a way to learn about new things. The internet just makes it easier. And I can quickly find that a random train of thought leads to a lot of searching and reading. And, of course, as you search on one topic, you inevitably find something interesting about another topic, and next thing two hours have passed.
  5. Getting caught up in a new show. I’m actually really good at being productive while re-watching shows I’ve seen before. They’re like a nice distraction/companion while I work. However, if it’s a new show, I want to pay attention to it, and I’m not great at holding out. While watching an hour tv show on dvd may only take 44 minutes, it’s really easy to end up watching 2, 3 or more episodes instead of just one. Of course, this also ends up leading to more random internet browsing as I look up guest stars and cast members. It’s a vicious circle.
I’m sure I have other habits, like deciding to clean as it’s a distraction from work and I do benefit from it. Do you have any particular bad productivity habits?

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