10 Habits that Kill an Engineer’s Productivity

Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs, according to businessdictionary.com. As such when engineers are unproductive, it means their efforts are inefficient and their output low or of an inferior quality. No one likes producing inferior work, least of all an engineer. However, sometimes it is an engineer’s own habits that causes this unproductivity. What are you doing that is causing you to be unproductive?

Here are ten (10) habits that could be killing your productivity:

1. Multitasking

Multitasking is doing more than one task almost simultaneously by switching between them. Although it gives an illusion of better performance, it is in fact causing a loss of focus and creativity. The reality is that you are wasting energy in switching tasks, which decreases productivity. So even though you may complete the tasks, you would have spent less time and be more efficient had you engaged in single tasking, rather than multitasking.

The best way to understand this situation is to think of your brain as a computer with a limited amount of RAM. When you push more than one type of work, RAM slows down and productivity reduces. The same thing happens in your brain.

So the cure is to be a completionist and do not switch to other tasks until you finish the one at hand. Batch similar tasks, and do not be afraid to say “no.” I.e., “No more projects,” if you can’t handle them. Programmers at Livecoding.tv shows how single-tasking is more efficient than multitasking.

2. Not Having a System in Place

Organization is very important for productivity. When everything you need is unorganized, it makes it difficult for you to find anything. When you do not have a system in place, everything you need is scattered. Your laptop, printer, scanner, mouse and other accessories are not at their place. Your calendar in PC or smartphone is not organized, making it harder to track incoming items when you don’t have a system in place.


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Having a system in place makes you more productive. Don’t you feel better when you are able to reach for your mouse and find it exactly where it should be? Look for videos at Livecoding.tv, where programmers do live coding with everything organized.

3. Not Having a Work Routine

Our mind and body cannot evolve fully with the lack of work routine. It adds stress in our lives, which leads to inconsistent quality, increase of errors and mistakes, work process instability, decreased employee safety, and lack of visual management. Learn from people at Livecoding.tv. Join our website  and subscribe to any Streamer to watch his routine. You can chat with him as well.

4. Using Too Many Tools

Tools are extremely helpful. But while using a few tools can increase your productivity, using too many can do the opposite. So, it is good to find tools that sync easily with others, and at the same time cover multiple bases. Streamers on our website use few tools, and excel in their work.

5. Not Tracking Your Results

Tracking gives a clear picture of what you are up to, where you are heading, reduces stress, and improves an engineer’s performance. Tracking alerts you to problems ahead of time so that you can correct them sooner, rather than wait for days or weeks when the problem finally shows, resulting in poor productivity. Without tracking you will never know your true potential.

Streamers at livecoding.tv streams their work in parts. If you’ve subscribed to several Streamers you will notice how well they track their previous work and stream the next.

6. Lack Quick Decision-Making Ability

Taking too much time in decision-making draws a lot of energy, which could be utilized in increasing productivity. These are some of the reasons that make you late and a poor decision maker:

  • Laziness
  • Not anticipating unexpected events
  • Remaining locked in the past
  • Having no strategy
  • Over-dependence
  • Isolation
  • Lack of technical depth
  • Failure to communicate the what, where, when, and how associated with their decisions

If you want to learn skills like quick decision-making and strategy building at work, Livecoding.tv Streamers can help you on Skype (if available on Skype) or chat.

7. Making the Same Mistake Again and Again

There is a beautiful saying, “Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.” Lack of focus causes you to make the same mistakes over and over again. When you are at beginner level of anything, especially programming language, you are prone to make mistakes. This also happens when you fear failure and believe that you can’t avoid to make mistakes.

You must therefore learn to focus. But changing old habits can be difficult and takes time. Practice every day and you will eventually learn to avoid making the same mistakes. You can also consult with our Streamers, hire them, and make teams.

8. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep

Your productivity will drop if you are not getting enough sleep. Beware, if these signs show up: You’re pretty moody, your productivity and performance are slipping, you’re gaining weight, you’re not looking your best, your judgment is faltering, your libido’s flagging, and/or you’re getting drowsy during the day.

Research by the American Psychological Association shows “failing to get enough sleep dramatically impairs memory and concentration while increasing levels of stress hormones and disrupting the body’s normal metabolism.”

9. Working Continuously Without a Break

If you are a workaholic and do work continuously without a break, time increases as the recall percentage gets lower. As the work involves concentration of the mind, it is advised to take a short break after every 30 to 45 minutes. Absent-mindedness automatically happens during long hours of work. Streamers and users at Livecoding.tv work with appropriate breaks.

10. Checking Your Smartphone Too Often

Checking your smartphone too often

If you’re aiming to cut down on smartphone checking, try leaving your phone in another room or putting it in a drawer. Keeping your phone out of reach will help you wean yourself from the instinctive habit of reaching for it when you’re bored. Join us at Livecoding.tv. It’s very interesting, and will help you forget using your smartphone. At least for an hour.

Well there you have it. How many of these are you guilty of? What are your habits to foster or optimize productivity? Share your views in the Comments box below.

You can also check out Rachel Gillett’s article, 13 Bad Habits You Should Break in 2016 to Be More Productive, at BusinessInsider.com.

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  • Andreas Jirenius

    Actually, livecoding.tv itself contributes to the Multitasking issue itself. I found myself being less effective on Lctv as I am starting chattering about everything. I enjoy explaining stuff to people and also gets easily distracted by questions in the chat. Still, not saying LCTV is a bad thing. But if it’s efficiency you’re after you should actually also consider wether you should stream or not.

    • Yes indeed, I’ve just changed my strategy to turn my mic off and have some simple chill music playing in the background.

      If I get to the point of becoming a regular streamer, I would perhaps change to the “Paid Subscriber” option.

  • Jack White

    Good points actually, I have to admit of suffering from more than one.
    Although I have to say I would have preferred this article without the “what our streamers do” comments. A little less self-advertisement wouldnt hurt…

  • r0dric

    Nice point there! I’ll notice this as my weakness, and try to improve them. Thanks

  • fxms

    Tried this way a long time ago, turns out it keeps you in a routine and that’s the best way to loose your motivation and be too confident about your skills which stops to think like other people and create issues in your code.
    Also, I went through a deep depression for 2 years just because I was stuck in a way of thinking that told me that I shouldn’t code for 22h a single script because I had to sleep or follow a work routine. I killed my passion because of this kind of article.
    Maybe some people find it good to do it that way, I’m just here to tell you that is not the only way to do it.
    Give it a try, sure, why not ? But if you are not comfortable with this, stop it.

    • Muse

      Thanks for the advice, it is really about finding what’s best for you. I work in the creative industry and would work assiduously to meet deadlines, through the night, over the weekends too. I love what I do but missing sleep but missing sleep actually showed in my quality of work.

  • Neophyte

    There seems to be two schools of thought relating to #1, Multitasking. Many people claim to be able to multitask. There are some streamers here who say they multitask. I get what you are saying. However, when you say “batch similar tasks” aren’t you advocating multitasking, I.e. “doing more than one task almost simultaneously by switching between them”?

    • Katy

      It’s ironic that tools are there because most people sign up to services to keep organized and increase their output but instead end up wasting their time juggling. Been there!

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