So to continue the theme from yesterday, today’s book review centers on the second volume of the 30-Day Productivity Plan: 30 more bad habits that are sabotaging your time management and how to overcome them one day at a time by Damon Zahariades.

The second volume continues in the same light as the first volume, it talks about another thirty bad habits that people may (or may not have), and then gives several tips on how to slowly start over coming the bad habits. The additional 30 bad habits that are included in this book are:

  1. Letting Clutter Accumulate in Your Life
  2. Being receptive to others’ negativity
  3. Allowing negative self talk to kill your momentum
  4. Overlooking weekly reviews
  5. Neglecting to unplug for extended periods of time
  6. Waking up late
  7. Responding immediately to email, texts, and voice mails
  8. Allowing yourself to be easily distracted
  9. Being emotionally dependent on others
  10.  Letting money stress consume you
  11.  Spending time with toxic people
  12.  Being satisfied with mediocre performances
  13.  Fearing failure
  14.  Fearing success
  15.  Neglecting to prioritize tasks, projects, and relationships
  16.  Taking too long to make a decision
  17.  Quitting bad habits cold turkey
  18.  Trying to make too many changes at once
  19.  Letting a lack of motivation prevent you from taking action
  20.  Refusing to commit to your goals
  21.  Seeking instant gratification
  22.  Constantly switching between tasks
  23.  Drowning yourself in information
  24.  Working without clearly defined goals
  25.  Waiting for the perfect time to act
  26.  Using unnecessary productivity apps
  27.  Trying to keep everything in your head
  28.  Letting nonessential tasks creep onto your daily to-do lists
  29.  Assigning too much gravity to email
  30.  Allowing yourself to get derailed from your goals

So if I had to list the number of bad habits from this book that I have, I would have to say that I’m guilty of the following: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9 (to a slight extent), 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, and 30. So it would seem that I have more of these bad habits (25 out of 30) compared to the first book, which was 21 out 30. So in total of basically 60 different habits that can limit one’s productivity I would say that I’m more or less guilty of 46 out of 60. Not good, but at least there are a few that I’m not guilty of doing.

So in terms of the twenty-five bad habits from book two, what in theory is my issue with each of the habits?

I will admit that I have way too much stuff (bad habit number one), but I am trying to slowly get rid of some of it. I am trying to go through and par down on things that I don’t need. This will take time, since most of my stuff is still in storage, but I’m going to try to par down what I have at my parents so that I’m not adding a large number of additional boxes to what is already in my storage unit.

In terms of negative energy, negative self talk, and being around toxic people—these are all things that I am trying to work on. I’m trying to limit the interactions with people who either have negative energy or are toxic—but it’s difficult when it’s people you work with. The negative self talk will take longer to deal with, as those thoughts are the extremely quiet ones that you don’t really hear and have to work harder at identifying so that you can start to correct them.

I am trying to do weekly reviews, but at the same time I will admit that I not really prioritizing tasks, projects, or relationships that well right now. These are two things that go hand in hand, if I can get better at doing one, I will probably get better at doing the second.

I do respond immediately to emails (at least work wise), but that is part of my job so it required, but at the same time I only get a small number of emails that requires an almost immediate response. Other emails I may respond too within a few hours. I respond to text messages as soon as I can (but if I’m busy it may be twenty or thirty minutes before I respond). In terms of voice mails, that is really only again at work, and I get only a few that I need to do that with.

I will admit that I allow myself to get distracted from certain tasks (and that is because I really haven’t developed a liking for that task or I consider to be a repetitive one). Mainly this is with cleaning, and at times working out, or trying to sit down and write.

I don’t consider myself to be overly emotionally dependent on other people. Everyone wants people to like them, and we also want to make sure that at times we have family support for certain things (such as career changes, moves, and so forth). So I have more or less reached a point, where if people don’t like me fine—I’m not rude, but at the same time I’m no longer hiding who I am (liberal, wicca/pagan/atheist, firm believer in science, and so forth). People can either take me for who I am or not, but I’m no longer going to lose sleep over it. Family approval is something we all strive for, and I think since I had to move back in with my parents, I’m probably striving for it a little more than normal just so that hopefully when I make the next move I don’t have to worry about moving back in with them.

Currently money is only a stress issue in terms of the following: 1) making sure that I have enough to cover a move to wherever my new job is, 2) making sure that I have enough to cover getting a lease on an apartment; and 3) making sure that I have that 6-12 month emergency fund saved up. At the same time I want to make sure that I also have money that I can travel if I want (and travel, especially international travel isn’t cheap). 

In terms of being satisfied with mediocre performances, fearing failure, and fearing success—yes I have issues with all of them. I’ve already had one job end on a bad note, which has made me probably a little too cautious in job searching (but it’s that once burned, twice shy attitude). Therefore I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat complacent and being satisfied with the status quo of my current situation (even though I’m not happy in my current position). In terms of fearing success—I think that is one reason why my weight loss journey has been so up and down, and why it has been hard for me at times to commit to a program—I know that I can be successful in it, but at the same time I’m worried about what close friends and family will say and act.

In terms of neglecting to prioritize tasks, projects, and relationships; taking too long to make a decision, and trying to make too many changes at once—yep, again.  I know that I’ve been taking too long in terms of trying to figure out the next job direction, and that I’ve also been neglecting to prioritize the tasks within job searching to make it a little easier to handle on the day to day basis. In terms of prioritizing projects—I have so many personal projects that I would like to start doing, that I usually look at everything and go “there is always tomorrow”. I’m trying to spend more time with friends, and getting in touch with ones that I haven’ talked to in awhile. Then in terms of trying to make too many changes at once—I’m guilty of this as well (namely in terms of fitness and nutrition). I will ideas of things that I would like to get better at (or start learning more on in terms of the business side of industry) that I get overwhelmed and I then neglect everything.

So, one thing that probably is hard for anyone to admit to is refusing to commit to your goals. The human mind is a wondrous thing, and there are parts of it that fear change, and if they can convince us that the path is foolish—we change directions and leave the goal. Also there is the problem of setting too many goals at once, and the problem of making goals that really aren’t for us, but we make them based on societal ideals and standards. For example, I had it as a goal over the years to take up jogging and then run a 5K—the only problem is that 1) I’ve never really been a jogger or a runner; and 2) it isn’t something that I’m not sure I’d enjoy (mainly because I’ve never tried to)—but I made it a goal, as it’s stated that jogging or running is one of the better ways of losing weight. Also the fear of committing to one’s goals can also be linked to the fear of both failure and success. So at times it’s easier to stay with the status quo than it is to try to do something that you may or may not be good at or enjoy.

Switching between tasks is another problem with today’s society—we’re expected to juggle everything all the time and that is the only way to get ahead in the world. I do try to limit doing that at work when ever possible (as I’ve learned that it’s better to wait until something is in a “waiting stage” (i.e. the reaction is going for a specific time period) before trying to do something else. Though at home I will admit to switching between things on a fairly regular basis. This is especially true when it comes to try to write something for the blog, or working on a book review. My mind will think of something else, and then I’ll put what I’m currently doing on hold and try to start something new.

We are in a world of massive information. As technology advances, and more and more information is available at the click of a button it can become easy to get swept away with all the information. Currently I only find it a problem in terms of job searching and trying to narrow down exactly what it is I possibly want to do within industry. I will admit that I am a very curious person by nature (I think that is one of the many reasons why I went into a science field for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees), so I can usually navigate the massive amounts of information fairly easily. Though when trying to figure out what it is I want to do life—that is where I find myself cast adrift in the massive amounts of information.

So to go along with some of the above issues—there is also the problem of working without clearly defined goals. I know that I want to transition into industry—but until I have at least one or two basic titles (or companies) chosen it will be difficult to figure out the best course of action. So this is something that I’ve been slowly trying to work on getting better at.

I’ve also realized that at times I have been trying to “wait for the perfect time” before doing something. While it is basic common sense to realize that the perfect time will really never fully materialize—it doesn’t stop the human race from waiting for it. This along with other issues is something that I’m going to be addressing this year, especially in terms of my industry transition.

So as far as the last three items (trying to keep everything in your head; letting nonessential tasks creep onto your daily to-do list & allowing yourself to get derailed from your goals), I’d have to say I’m guilty from time to time of trying to keep things in my head (especially when I was tracking what I was eating) and not writing it down right away. I do try to write things down as soon as possible for certain areas, but I need to work on trying to do that for everything. In terms of letting nonessential tasks to creep onto my daily to-do list, this is again occasionally (and only because at times I’ve forgotten to write a to-do for the next day before I leave). The biggest thing that I think I need to work on this year, is not allowing myself to get derailed from my goals. In that aspect, I know that I need to have a short list of goals, and an equal list of anti-goals (see my previous book review on Anti-goals: Find Success by Knowing what to Avoid by Kevin Wagonfoot).

Over all these are both extremely good books to read, if for no other reason to see how simple things that we do on a daily basis can impact your productivity both in your personal and professional life. The more we aim at being conscious of how we spend our days, and focusing on things that truly matter to us, we can find more enjoyment and pleasure in life. Work is a necessity, but at the same time so is enjoying life—because if we don’t enjoy it, we just struggle to get by. It’s time that each of us figures out what is best for ourselves (and family if necessary), and realize that we can only live life for ourselves and not for others. I highly recommend both books, as they have made me realize that there are still numerous things that I can strive to be better at, and that by working on certain things, it will also help me achieve my goals and dreams.