How to avoid Unproductive Behavior?

Unproductive Behavior

We all know what unproductive behaviour looks like. Most of us engage in it: hours spent on websites not essential to our work, stopping by the break room every other hour to refill our water bottle, entertaining ourselves with imaginary conversations, gossiping etc. These things are easy to spot and avoiding them doesn’t take an extreme amount of self-discipline.

The definition of unproductive behaviour

For our purposes, unproductive behaviour can be defined as any human activity that does not produce a good or service for which there is a market. That this includes almost all the activities performed by individuals and corporations in the United States today is not an accident.

When we say that most of what people do for a living is unproductive, we don’t mean that it’s useless. The problem is just that the value it produces is not paid for by anyone. A doctor who works eighty hours a week to save lives is being produced because people will pay for his services. Someone who works eighty hours a week to make money for a private equity firm might be unproductive because the value he produces is not necessarily paid for by anyone. If you’re building a machine to make widgets and you don’t get paid, you’re being unproductive.

if you’re building a machine that makes more machines that make more widgets, you might well be productive even if no one pays you because the value of your output exceeds the value of your input. But this distinction between those who are productive and those who are not can’t be used to explain why some people are rich and others are poor. 

Why do we have to change our thinking about unproductive behaviour?

We all have a tendency to discount unproductive behaviour as a sign of fundamental laziness or weakness. When we see someone who behaves in an unproductive manner, our minds tend to jump straight to the conclusion that they are just lazy. We might think this way because it gives us a sense of control over our own lives. If we can simply label someone as “lazy,” then we know that we will never be like them. Their behaviour becomes something that is completely outside our control, and therefore something that could never happen to us.

This is a dangerous way of thinking because it prevents us from seeing how unproductive behaviour is actually caused, and what can be done about it. In fact, unproductive behaviour is rarely caused by laziness or weakness; it’s usually caused by much more subtle problems, such as procrastination or lack of focus. These problems can affect anyone, even the most motivated and talented people.

The key to overcoming unproductive behaviour is to understand the underlying causes. Once you know what’s causing you to behave in an unproductive manner, you can start taking action to change your behaviour and improve your productivity.

Unproductive behaviours are counterproductive

It is a common mistake to mix up two very different things that are unproductive behaviour and counter-productive behaviour. Unproductive behaviour is behaviour that doesn’t produce anything, like playing video games or taking drugs. Counter-productive behaviour is behaviour that prevents you from achieving your goals, like gambling away your tuition money or letting yourself get so out of shape that running a mile makes you throw up.

The thing about productive and counter-productive behaviours is that they don’t necessarily correlate with each other. Some people think they do, but if you look at their arguments closely you realize they only think this because it’s what they want to believe.

Also Read: How does money affect human behavior

The belief that unproductive and counterproductive are the same thing tends to be held by people who are good at being productive but bad at being happy, who have trouble enjoying themselves unless they think it’s somehow helping them achieve their goals. Sometimes they’re right; indeed, sometimes the best way to enjoy yourself is to set ambitious goals and work toward them. But sometimes there’s no connection between what you’re doing at the moment and some future goal of yours to learn new skills, except insofar as having fun now makes you happier overall, which in turn makes you more likely to achieve your goals later on. 

Common unproductive behaviours are Procrastination and perfectionism

Everyone knows people who are unproductive: they get less done than others, or less than they themselves used to. Often this is because of procrastination or perfectionism. Procrastination is easy to spot. A perfectionist says “I’ll work on it tomorrow” when what she really means is “I’ll work on it when I’m better qualified.” She’s waiting for perfection and will wait forever unless someone tells her that no one is ever good enough.

Most dangerous is the belief that you can build something great without getting your hands dirty. That kind of thinking leads to procrastination and perfectionism. These people believe themselves creative in some non-technical sense, but not technical in any sense, so they’re immune from the problem of needing to get their hands dirty on the way to building something great.

You don’t have to be good at anything technical to start a startup. But if you want your startup actually to make something, at some point you will have to have an idea that sounds crazy and then you will have to make it work in practice. That may require getting your hands dirty with some technical details or it may require hiring someone who’s willing to do that.

The cost of not knowing you are unproductive

When we are unproductive, it’s not because we don’t know what to do. It’s because we don’t like what we should be doing. Or, more precisely, because the pain of work exceeds the pleasure of the result. Many people waste their lives on unproductive things that make them feel good: drinking, drugs,  shopping, TV-watching, and so on. But these are trivial examples of a more general problem.

Many people spend their lives doing things they don’t enjoy jobs they hate, marriages they no longer feel anything for because they think that’s how life is supposed to be. Life is a prison where you have to do what other people tell you. Life is a game where the players make up the rules as they go along and the goal is to end up wealthy or famous or both. And so on.

If you think life is a game where the goal is wealth or fame or power, then unproductiveness will seem like a bad thing. And it will be bad if you want to get rich or famous or powerful by being productive at work. But if you’re not trying to do that, it doesn’t matter whether you’re productive or not.

Thoughts that can kill your productivity

It’s amazing how easily we can be distracted from the task at hand. We’re all guilty of getting stuck in a rut and wasting our potential by not getting the work done that we need to.

If you want to improve your productivity, then here are some tips on how you can do so. Think of what a productive person is, and what they do every day. They get things done, and they don’t waste time by doing unproductive activities. The first thing you should do is eliminate these unproductive activities from your life.

Below are some common unproductive thoughts:

1)I Want To Do It Later When I Feel More Motivated

2)I Need A Break

3)I’ll Do It With A Friend Instead

4)I’ve Failed Before So Why Try Again?

5)I Don’t Want To Do It Anymore

You need to focus your time on important things

A lot of productive people seem to work long hours. The most productive people I know all work about the same amount: on the order of 80 hours a week. What makes them different is not how hard they work, but how much they accomplish in that time. The secret is to focus your energy on things that are important and not on things that are not. It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people do it the other way around while wasting time.

The problem is that we’re often wrong about which things are important. One sign you’re doing this wrong is if you feel busy all the time. A more subtle sign is feeling busy but never finishing anything; being buried under stuff you need to do, and yet each day seeming no closer to finishing it than when you started. This happens because busyness is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guide for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.

Unproductive behaviour is a negative cycle

Unproductive behaviour is behaviour that tends to be hard to start and difficult to stop. This category includes drugs, gambling, promiscuous sex, video games, and the internet. Unproductive behaviours are not just fun and games. They are dangerous because they are self-reinforcing in a way that is ultimately unsupportable. They don’t just give you immediate pleasure; they alter your brain so that you will want to keep doing them even at the expense of everything else–even when they cease to give you pleasure.

For example, here is how teenage drug use can have a negative impact on your life:

Suppose you have some things you want to achieve in life. You might want to study science or history or literature; start a business; become a doctor; get into a good college; get a good job; make money; travel around the world; find true love. All these things require work, and most require more work than you can fit into a single day. So you need to prioritize: decide what’s important enough that you’re willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for it.

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