7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Finding there’s not enough time in the day to get your work done? Wondering why your inbox is still full at the end of the day? You might be developing bad habits. These are adapted (and added on to) from a post by Chris Wake on Quora.

1. You respond to emails as they come in. This is a surefire way to never get any work done, except in the wee hours of the morning. Try to set aside time for email checking (if you’re on the Spartan email diet of Tim Ferriss you’d only check it twice a day) so that you have time to work on other things. We tend to want to respond to things as we get them, but it’s perfectly okay to wait a few hours or days to respond most of the time.

2. You push up against deadlines. If you’re like me, when things get busy, it can be hard to remember what’s due when. And I hate procrastinating, though Highly Ineffective people claim they love it. Try scheduling what you have to work on for blocks of time so that you can devote an hour or two to a single task. Give yourself space to review the project before it’s due.

3. You love checking your metrics. Google Analytics. Klout. Followers. Likes. PageViews. If it can be measured, you want to know your stats. But you waste a lot of time paying attention to arbitrary numbers. Wake says, “Ineffective people tend to feed on these popularity metrics, whereas effective people recognize that these are shallow indicators.” Focus instead on your interactions online, and providing value to your followers.

4. You’re a content vampire. Sure, we all read what’s online and use it for inspiration (like I did Wake’s post), but if you’re constantly regurgitating someone else’s content, you’re not creating your own value. Have confidence in your own opinions and create content that’s original.

5. You work in your business a lot. As opposed to working on your business. Don’t get bogged down with the day-to-day and neglect the bigger picture. Plan for your company’s growth rather than worrying about recycling the office printer paper.

6. You buy into the “multi-tasking is a good thing” mantra. It’s not. Multi-tasking just means you do more than one thing at the same time poorly. No one can effectively type a blog post, close a sale over the phone and read emails. It’s just not humanly possible. Focus on one thing and do it well. Then move on.

7. You live in your bubble. When’s the last time you read an industry blog or magazine? Went to a conference to learn something? Talked to other professionals in your field? If it’s been a while, then you’re stagnant, and need updating. Trends happen. News breaks. If you’re subsisting on last year’s goodies, your company will quickly become passe.

Never fear! These habits are completely breakable. And remember: we’re here for you through the process of change!

Photo: Flickr user brendan-c. Creative Commons 2.0.

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One response to “7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

  1. I think a lot of business owners, even successful ones, will be trapped with #5 where they are a slave to their own business. Although they might be their own boss and work in an area they love, being a slave to their own business is only a bit better than working for someone else. The ultimate goal (or one of them) should be eventually building up a system so that one does not need to be a slave to their own business. The business will still run even if the owner takes a vacation since other reliable people will be running it.

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