No one can operate at peak efficiency at all times. Humans are not robots, after all. On the other hand, though, lots of professionals don’t do themselves justice during regular work hours. Indeed, even dedicated pros sometimes fall victim to unproductive habits. With that in mind, today we’re going to highlight six damaging habits that derail productivity and prevent pros from achieving their best. Check them out here so you can prevent and address them when necessary:


Your daily schedule should, ideally, be detailed enough to let you know how you should proceed every morning. However, you shouldn’t spend hours just planning your activities for later on. There is such a thing as being “too prepared.” Don’t waste valuable time prepping for issues that don’t matter all that much, and instead prioritize things that really count, like your financial plan or your most pressing career goals.

Over extension

Is it okay to help others while at work? Of course it is. Still, there’s a big difference between lending a helping hand when your coworker needs you, and overextending yourself for a project that isn’t your responsibility. Remember, you don’t have to do other people’s jobs for them. So be willing to turn down a request every once in a while.

Flying Solo

Conversely, capable pros shouldn’t feel bad about asking for help when they need it. Trying in vain to figure out an assignment will cost you –– and everyone at your company –– valuable time. As such, if you’re feeling lost, speak up and talk to someone who can help ASAP. There’s no shame in asking for a clarification!


Routines help people focus. If you’re constantly forgetting to do things in your personal or professional life, you may benefit from adopting a more meticulous approach.

Burning the Midnight Oil

Sometimes, professionals may need to go the extra mile to finish off a big project. Burning the midnight oil should be a rare occurrence, though. Working long hours will lead to fatigue and reduced effectiveness –– regardless of your industry or experience level. Plus, lack of sleep will negatively affect your mood and cognitive capabilities.


Rome wasn’t built in a day. While you may feel strongly about a project or idea, it’s important to recognize that nothing will ever be truly “perfect.” No, that doesn’t mean you should settle for unsatisfactory work, but it’s not productive or healthy to fret over minor problems that you may not even be able to fix. Learn to take a step back every now and again and appreciate what you’ve accomplished.

The Bottom Line

Whether you work in a lab with 8 Strip PCR tubes with caps, or you’re starting a small business of your own, these tips will help you perform at your best on a consistent basis.