1. Hitting the snooze button
It might feel as though pressing the snooze button in the morning gives you a little bit of extra rest to start your day, but the truth is that it does more harm than good.
That's because when you wake up, your endocrine system begins to release alertness hormones to get you ready for the day. By going back to sleep, you're slowing down this process. Plus, nine minutes doesn't give your body time to get the restorative, deep sleep it needs.
2. Prioritizing work over sleep
As Arianna Huffington discusses in her sleep manifesto, "The Sleep Revolution," a good night's sleep has the power to increase productivity and happiness, lead to smarter decision-making, and unlock bigger ideas.
The trick to getting enough sleep is planning ahead and powering down at a reasonable time.
3. Keeping your phone next to your bed
Another key to getting better sleep is not letting outside influencers impair your sleep.
The LED screens of our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, for example, give off what is called blue light, which studies have shown can damage vision and suppress production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle.
Research also suggests that people with lower melatonin levels are more prone to be depressed.
4. Skipping breakfast
As Lisa DeFazio, a healthy-lifestyle expert and registered dietitian, tells Business Insider, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
By the time you wake up, you likely haven't eaten for 10 or 12 hours, which is where breakfast got its name — it means "breaking the fast," DeFazio said.
Your first meal of the day is what kick-starts your metabolism and replenishes blood-sugar levels so you can focus and be productive throughout the day. When blood sugar levels are low, DeFazio says, it's much harder to focus and you're more likely to feel tired, irritable, and impatient.
5. Putting off your most important work until later in the day
People often start off their day by completing easy tasks to get themselves rolling, and leave their more difficult work for later. This is a bad idea, and one that frequently leads to the important work not getting done at all.
As researchers have found, people have a limited amount of willpower that decreases throughout the day, so it's best to get your hardest, most important tasks done at the beginning of the day.
6. Eating junk food for lunch
Maintaining energy levels requires eating a balanced lunch.
High-fat, high-sugar lunches make us sleepy and have low energy by 3 pm, DeFazio says, so it's important to go heavy on the protein and healthy fats and easy on the carbs when choosing what you eat for lunch.
Luckily, plenty of fast-food chains offer healthy meal options that won't make you pass out at your desk.
7. Failing to prioritize
Some people think having lots of goals is the best way to ensure success — if one idea fails, at least there are plenty more in reserve to turn to. Unfortunately, this sort of wavering can be extremely unproductive.
Warren Buffett has the perfect antidote. He saw that his personal pilot was not accomplishing his life goals, so Buffett asked him to make a list of 25 things he wanted to get done before he died. But rather than advising him to take little steps toward completing every one of them, Buffett told the pilot to pick five things he thought were most important and ignore the rest.
8. Skipping your workout
Studies have shown that morning and afternoon workouts can increase a person's amount and quality of sleep — one study found that exercise adds around 45 minutes of extra sleep — and better sleep leads to a more productive day.
While many people believe they're great at doing two things at once, scientific research has found that only about 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking.
For the rest of us, multitasking is a bad habit that decreases our attention spans and makes us less productive in the long run.
More often than laziness, the root of procrastination is the fear of not doing a good job.
The only way to overcome procrastination is to abandon perfectionism and not fuss over details as you move forward. Pretending the task doesn't matter and that it's OK to mess up could help you get started faster.
Many ambitious and organized people try to maximize their productivity by meticulously planning out every hour of their day. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned, and a sick child or unexpected assignment can throw a wrench into a person's entire day.
Instead, you might want to try planning just four or five hours of real work each day. That way, you can be flexible later on.