Unproductive Habits

First you make your habits, then your habits make you. This is a saying that I love and that I remind myself of often. It takes dedicated time and effort upfront, but once you create a habit you have a long-term benefit of continuing to do that habit over and over again with ease. The key thing is, you want to make sure that the habits you create are successful habits. However, you and I both know that a lot of the habits that we have in life are unproductive.

This is why I’m excited to bring in Steve from Develop Good Habits to share with us 10 unproductive habits that might be sabotaging your success.

Take it away, Steve!


Unproductive Habits


Enter Steve

It’s human nature to want to be successful in life and the term success will mean something different to everyone. You may think success is living on a beachfront home and driving a Ferrari while another may consider success to be teaching 3rd grade and having their summer’s off.

Being productive goes hand in hand with becoming successful and part of this process involves improving ourselves a little each day. This is done by developing good habits and removing bad ones.

And while you may think you’re doing the best you can to be a productive person, you may secretly be sabotaging yourself with unproductive and/or negative habits.

Take a look to see if you are guilty of any of the following 10 unproductive habits.



While it’s much more common these days for people not to get enough sleep, it can be equally damaging to oversleep. Not only do you have less time to be productive but research shows that oversleeping has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.


Not exercising.

It’s a fact that more than 65% of the U.S. is overweight and only 14% of the population belongs to a gym. It’s a well-known fact that daily exercise has multiple physical and mental benefits including boosting creativity and sharpening memory.


Information overload.

People are obsessed with information. We consume to the point of overindulgence. And while continued learning is a critical to personal growth and progress, too much can have negative consequences, including killing your productivity.


Getting caught up in drama.

Everyone has some form of drama in their lives. Maybe it’s a recent break up or perhaps it’s last night’s PTA meeting that has you up in arms. By dramatizing these types of events and giving attention to them, it takes away from the important things

Why do you think reality television is the most popular form of entertainment? It’s because people can take their minds off of their own lives and focus on someone else’s. And while we all need a reprieve from daily life, keeping your mind on what’s truly important will keep you focused and productive.


Watching the news.

When was the last time you heard something actually good on the news? Chances are you have can’t remember. Not only does the news saturate our minds with all the negativity and problems that fills our world, but it can lead to a whole host of other social problems  as well.


Aggressive driving.

Excluding the fact that aggressive driving and speeding accounts for more than one third of fatal car accidents in the U.S., it can also significantly affect your mindset, attitude, and productivity

Being an aggressive driver elicits negative emotions such as anger and stress and can alter your mindset to think negatively. Obviously being negative is not conducive to being productive and inhibits personal growth.


Not drinking enough water.

Most of us walk around in a constant state of dehydration. Our bodies require upwards of a gallon of water per day to sustain our daily life functions

Being dehydrated causes a reduction in mental performance as well as making you more lethargic. To help avoid dehydration and be as productive as possible, drink no less than 64 ounces of water each day

Drinking ample water and being fully hydrated will have the following benefits:

  • Improved blood flow to your brain
  • Improved concentration
  • Helps regulate emotions and moods


Having a to-do list that’s too long.

Having a to-do list is important for a couple of reasons:

  • It can help relieve stress by itemizing and prioritizing tasks and giving them a place in your life.
  • To help you strategize. It helps you think about your tasks, as well as what resources, strategies and options for completing them.         

The problem arises when our lists become overwhelming due to the sheer volume of tasks. When this happens, paralysis sets in and you will usually end up doing nothing at all. The key is to keep your list manageable and work on it every day.

  1. Overspending. Not only is this habit a very quick way to put you behind on your bills and possibly deep into debt, but it associated with avoidance, which is not wanting to confront or deal with something you find confusing or upsetting.

    To see progress in your life, you must be willing to confront your fears and worries. Avoiding emotional issues will hold you back 

  2. Goal Liberation. Seeing progress is good, right? Well it can also backfire on you because of something called goal liberation. Progress can cause you to abandon your goal because it shifts the power of balance between two competing goals. In essence, your attention ends up diverting to a new goal that you have not yet made any progress on.


Changing Your Habits Is Simple..

If you found yourself identifying with some or all of these habits, don’t worry. These are all things that you can change relatively easily.

Understanding that you actually have these habits is a critical step. Many people fail to recognize them and therefore are never able to correct them.

Begin by working on just one habit at a time. Instead of spending your entire paycheck on DVD’s and video games, put half of it in the bank and spend the rest. The next time you’re on the road, instead of tailgating that slow driver, take a few deep breaths and realize that life isn’t a race.

It’s simply making a small adjustment each day that will help you create more progress in your life and after all, without progress you will never reach what you define as success.


Steve is a contributing writer for DevelopGoodHabits.com, a site dedicated to helping you eliminate bad habits, creating better ones and making major life changes. To learn more, check out the free report 77 Good Habits to Live a Better Life


About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. It’s amazing to pay a quick visit this site and reading the views of all mates concerning this post, while I am also zealous
    of getting experience.

  2. Hey Steve! Interesting post, and thank you Brendan for featuring him.

    I think watching the news sucks out a lot of your time. It’s not simply the act of watching, but what happens after you watch them — the thinking, analysing, further researching… I do that. I have to consciously tell myself to quit watching the news sometimes.

    A little surprised to see aggressive driving up on the list. Wouldn’t that link to more of a behavioural factor which triggers more of an attitude problem?

    Nonetheless, good stuff. Thanks again. 🙂

    1. Hey Aqilah,
      Thanks for the comment. The news is a big one because it is SO negative. Not only does it suck up your time, but fills your head with all the bad shit that’s going on in the world. It’s really depressing.

      As far as the driving, I think it’s unproductive because it puts you in a closed minded thought process. I know because I do it all the time (bad habit!) and it’s very difficult to be creative or produce good work because I am seething from my drive home.

      1. Hey Steve,

        Great post! I love the point about information overload too. This is something that I’m working on. I often catch myself spending too much time researching and browsing instead of creating and producing.

        I just finished reading the 4 Hour Work Week which I’m sure you’ve read. The point about having a low-information diet really hit home with me! Something I’m working on.


        1. Brendan,
          I actually have read the 4HWW and found much of it to be very inspiring. I really struggle with keeping my info overload in check. I also tend to spend far too much time thinking, planning, and researching when I should be just doing!!

  3. Hey Steve and Brendan,

    interesting points! I definitely agree with them.

    Oversleeping definitely is unproductive, yet sleeping is crucial to perform on a high level. I try to get around 7 hours of sleep each night to stay healthy and focused during the day. I went with 4 hours for several months when I was employed and building my business on the side, but that definitely wasn’t beneficial for my body.

    A long to-do list also was one of my issues when I started out in online business. I tried everything and wanted to learn everything at the same time (who doesn’t?). Thanks to Getting Things Done by David Allen I’m actually getting things done.

    Great list, I’d also be interested in the most productive habits – not just the counterparts of these unproductive habits, I bet there’s more 😉


    1. Hey Jan,
      Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is critical for your health and although I was guilty of this when I worked nights, oversleeping is definitely a problem. I actually read GTD as well but wasn’t crazy about it. I’ll admit that time management is a big issue for me and I’ve tried quite a few things to help me.

      I chose not to write a productive habits list because it has been soooo overdone. Maybe it’s just the pessimist in me but I would rather talk about the unproductive ones..

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts..

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