9 Unintentional Ways You Sabotage Your Productivity

Take action now to stop wasting time.

Woman taking on too many tasks, crunching time Dean Drobot | Canva 

Action is everything. Especially consistent action. We can plan till the cows come home, but nothing happens until we act. I know how easy it is to feel the numbing pain of inaction. I know what I want to do, but I just can’t seem to move and do it. It is paralyzing, and it is frustrating. This thread is here to help. Here’s why we don’t act and how we can find action effortless again.

Here are 9 unintentional ways you sabotage your productivity:

1. You try to do too many things at once

We can only ever do one thing at a time. But if we’re holding several things at the same time in our minds — as we are prone to do — we make it impossible to act. Instead, we need to narrow our focus to the next thing. This will make it obvious, appear simple, and make action effortless. Thomas Carlyle once said: "Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."


RELATED: The One Thing To Give Up To Be Smarter, More Productive & A Better Friend

2. You think your self-esteem is at risk

There is no link between failure and our self-worth. Thinking there is stops us in our tracks. Realizing self-esteem is an illusion we create sets us free and makes action effortless.

3. You're waiting to be motivated

Motivation will come once you are in action. Try it for yourself. Even starting something badly will motivate you because you are doing it. Don’t wait any longer, because it ain’t coming. Motivation always comes from doing — not preparing — so act.




RELATED: 11 Tiny Habits Of The Most Motivated People On Earth

4. Your dopamine receptors are fried

When we consistently take big artificial hits of dopamine, such as through watching lots of television, porn, and even eating sugary treats, we produce less dopamine naturally in the brain. This means that things that should energize us, like writing or enjoying nature, no longer do. No wonder we can’t take action. We’re dead inside. Take a break from heavy dopamine stimulations and allow your natural dopamine to return and fire you up.

5. You don’t want to make a mistake

We avoid mistakes for good reasons. We want to do it right. But this creates insecurity in our every move. We’re thinking too hard about getting it wrong. Because we don’t want the pain of making a mistake, we avoid action. Instead, be willing to make a mistake. Purposefully do it wrong, like writing crap before you write the real thing.


6. You believe that ‘too many others have done the ‘same’ thing’

It’s easy to hold back when we see our talented and prolific competition. "It’s been done before, so why bother?" It’s been done, but not by you. The world needs your take, with your unique filter. Don’t let what others are doing stop you.

7. You're trying to adopt the right ‘mindset’

Adopting various "mindsets," like "think positive," or "just act confident" are good at the macro, but terrible at the micro — in the moment — level. Mindsets don’t matter when we’re trying to take action because they take away from the moment. Instead, let go, and just be. You don’t need to do anything. Float in the beauty of the action.

8. You have ‘imposter syndrome’

This, like any other story we tell about ourselves, is a self-imposed limit. To perform, we need to be free of these stories. This requires us to turn our attention away from the story towards the task at hand. See it as a good sign you’re pushing against your edges and having very human thoughts. But we need not act on these thoughts. They just hold us back. Take a breath, get present, and act in defiance of these thoughts.

RELATED: 7 Horrible Lies Imposter Syndrome Makes You Believe


9. You think you need to ‘believe in yourself’ first

We do not. This holds us back because we are waiting for a feeling that doesn’t come. We must put our attention off ourselves if we want to more effortlessly take action. The way to do that is to focus on the action. Focus on the step. Focus on the system. That’s all there is. When your focus is here, you can’t help but be driven to move.

RELATED: How To Believe In Yourself & Stop The Self-Sabotaging Effects Of Negative Self-Talk

Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.