9 Reasons Why It Is So Hard To Be Productive


Do you feel the dread of being unproductive? Do you feel like you are wasting time, letting it fly by, but somehow have absolutely no desire or will power to get up and do something about it?

Not being productive at some point in our lives is inevitable, especially in our world now with constant outside noise and endless distractions.

It’s hard to be productive because we live in a fast-moving world with everyone having a handheld device that constantly signals notifications and distractions, additionally an endless list of things to do, along with work responsibilities, social obligations, and our well-being to take care of.

If you’re finding yourself unable to balance all the overwhelming responsibilities and your productivity levels are disappearing, then keep on reading to see if you are experiencing any of the reasons below.

Main Reasons You Are Having a Hard Time Being Productive

First off, you are not alone, this is such a common problem and not being productive does not make you lazy. The key is setting yourself up for success, but first, we have to understand where the problem is coming from.

1. No Meaningful Goals

You might have heard this once or twice, but goals give you direction and purpose, and there’s a reason this is repeated over and over. The act of pursuing a goal at all is already an achievement to be proud of.

Meaningful goals especially, because you’re more likely to get up and work towards something you care about or is important to you.

Here are two other helpful articles you can check out, about why the secret to success is setting the right goal and the common obstacles in achieving goals.

2. No Plan of Action

When you just don’t know what to do with life, your productivity will be low. Your day-to-day is the same routine over and over and you’re bored and uninspired and tired of living the same way, but you don’t know what to do to change it.

Start on paper. Start writing what you are unhappy with and what you would be happy with. Write what your ideal day and life would be, what would you need to do to make it happen? Then set goals for yourself to get there, and then write down every step it takes to get to that goal. Make a plan and take action.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done”

Bruce Lee

3. Worrying Too Much About Things Out of Your Control

One of the skills to success is knowing what’s important, differentiating one thing more important than the other, and then honing in all your time and energy into that thing.

You can’t focus on what you can’t control, what’s the point? It’s going to happen anyway. Let it take its course while you focus on the things you do have control of. The more we stress about the things we can’t control, the more we will procrastinate on what’s really important.

Ultimately, it ends up being an excuse to not do something.

4. Not Measuring/Tracking Progress – Need Instant Results

The problem with the fast-paced world today is that we get a quick reward. Scrolling on social media gives us instant gratification right at our fingertips.

When you don’t have a way to measure your progress then you can’t see all the work that you’ve already put in. For example, many people have the goal to lose weight, but after only a few workouts, they quit because they don’t see any results. We all know that’s now how it works, it may take a few weeks of being consistent before you even see a small change.

One day of being productive may not show any results, but a little bit of work every day will add up. Taking one step at a time is better than standing still. Celebrate every little win and reward yourself often to give yourself an incentive and make the process more fun.

Be patient, and understand that it is a new journey for you so it will take time. Be proud of yourself that you are even embarking on the journey, success doesn’t happen overnight.

5. Task is Out of Comfort Zone – Not Fun or Is Too Hard

Believe it or not, if it’s not fun, or if you’re not good at it, you will be less likely to do it…shocker I know.

When you have to be productive, oftentimes you are taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Doing your tasks is way harder than lying on the couch watching TV. You have to understand, that success only happens outside your comfort zone. You have to recognize these moments and convince yourself to do it when they come up.

  • Do you find it hard to learn a new hobby? It’s because now you have to apply brain power to something new that you haven’t done before. You’re entering a new and different territory and it’s scary. I believe this is why many people start new hobbies and quit. Every session is a learning experience and usually, it’s just too much effort. People don’t stick around when it gets hard.
  • Are you not feeling productive at work? Are you intentionally avoiding something because of your skills towards that task or do you simply just find the job dreadful? If you’re finding that everything about your job is dreadful, maybe you should consider another job. If it’s only one area of your job you are avoiding, then learn more about it, do a deep dive, and learn how to overcome your fears, maybe take courses on how to improve in that area. Strengthen your skills so you are more confident to tackle the task.
  • Is your goal to lose weight? I hope this one is really obvious, putting your body through exercise is not easy, that is a very uncomfortable zone. This is why so many people struggle with weight loss, it’s a daily mental battle to get yourself up and put your body through that stress. Especially in the beginning when exercise is new to you. It’s going to be hard, and it’s going to suck.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort”

Paul J. Meyer

6. Relying On Motivation

If you’re only going to do it when you “feel like it” then you’re never going to do it. What many people don’t realize is that motivation comes after productivity. When you start seeing results after taking consistent action, it will motivate you to keep going.

You don’t wake up every day and ask yourself “Do I feel motivated today?” and then decide how your day goes from there. You get up and you just do it, no matter how you feel.

Here is a helpful article about when motivation runs out.

7. Your Environment

Is your environment set up for success? Working in a dedicated space that is comfortable for you will help you be more productive. Get rid of the clutter and all the distractions.

Do you find yourself grabbing your phone a lot? Individuals check their phones on average 58 times each day. If you’re guilty of this, put it in another room, or delete the app that you keep getting on, at least for a while until you get out of the habit. Detox yourself from your common distractions, and find a way to remove them while you are working.

8. Focusing on Too Much

Once your to-do list adds up, it becomes a snowball effect of stress. The longer you put it off, the more tasks add up, and the more stressed you’ll be, when you’re stressed you keep putting it off, and eventually, nothing gets done and now you’re more stressed about it.

The 80/20 Pareto rule states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. In other words, if you have a list of 10 things to do, then only 2 of those things will make the biggest difference. This means worrying about the other 8 is useless so don’t even think about them, only focus on what matters.

“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves”

Dale Carnegie

The truth is, you’re not going to get to do everything you want done. Being busy is not being productive, being productive is making progress on the things that matter most. Low-value tasks can be completed only after the high-value tasks are done. When you plan your day, don’t make a long list of things to do, only focus on one thing that is the most impactful, the max you should add is 3, that’s it.

You can check out this article here about how many tasks to do for maximum efficiency.

9. No Thought for Future Consequences

People are more successful when they think about how their actions today affect the future. Action conquers fear. If you are always anxious because you are worried about your future, then here is the answer, TAKE ACTION NOW. Action conquers fear, if you do nothing, then nothing changes and it will make you more worried. Your actions today can change your future.

“A year from now you’ll wish you had started today”

Karen Lamb

Hong Singer

I'm the creator of Ambition Forward. I keep things simple by focusing on the goal and being consistent in my actions to get the results I want, and I'm here to help you do the same. I encourage you to look for the things that bring you joy and go for it!

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