Stop Believing These Productivity Myths!
Many people believe that productivity can be influenced by our mindsets. And that our attitudes while working can, in fact, change our pace and performance. But like creativity, you can’t just turn productivity on like a faucet. There’s no switch — no magic pill that can keep you in the zone all day long.
And what’s more, productivity strategies that are being shared by “productivity gurus” all over the internet may actually be doing more harm than good. Let’s debunk some of the most shared but dangerous productivity myths, shall we?
Myth #1 – You Get More Done By Multitasking
People who multi-task think they’re killing two birds with one stone. But as it turns out – multitasking is actually killing your brain. Not only do you have to split your attention when you move between tasks, but Multi-tasking is also drawing more of your energy when you work on different things instead of focusing on one individual item.
And since you’re trying to do everything at the same time, you’re slowing down your work pace, which makes the quality of your work suffer. This is potentially disastrous because you may have accomplished nothing by the end of the day. The best way to cross more things on your to-do list is to prioritize and then work through your tasks after you’ve determined what’s important.
Myth #2 – You Work Best Under Pressure
Doing tasks at the last minute may force you to focus and finish your work as quick as possible. But most of the time work done in the last minute doesn’t look good. Aside from increasing your stress levels and adding more pressure to your work day, working on crisis mode makes you less creative. Creativity is the key to enjoying what you do and getting a result you’re proud of.
Myth #3 – Keeping an Organized Desk Will Make You Productive
You may obsess about organizing your desk so much that you end up spending too much time on these menial tasks than doing real work.
But did you know that a messy environment actually makes you more creative? Also, the principle of temporal locality suggests “whatever item you’re likeliest to need next is one of the last things you touched.” So does this means that organizing your desk is nothing but a waste of time?
The problem with this mindset is that we’ve always associated clutter as bad. And we’re quick to praise those overly organized coworkers we have at the office. Yes, organization may look good but there’s not much point in keeping everything in its proper place if you’re going to need it again soon.
Spending too much time making your space perfect and organized doesn’t necessarily lead to more productivity.
Myth #4 – Breaks Disrupt Your Workflow
While it may seem counterproductive, taking frequently timed breaks are in fact very helpful in keeping you efficient while you work. Breaks are refreshments for your brain. Its best way to regain your energy, focus, and creativity. In fact, you can accomplish more by having a 10-minute break after an hour of work instead of forcing your exhausted mind to struggle with tasks.
Power breaks can be in the form of taking a walk, playing a game, taking a nap, or listening to soothing music. Becoming more productive is achieved by time management. Without energy, you won’t have the power to push through and accomplish what you need to do.
According to one study, the most productive people at work took a total of 17-minute breaks for every 53 minute of work. Short breaks (even less than 20 minutes) can reset your energy and improve your performance throughout the day.
Myth # 5 – You’ll Accomplish More By Working Longer Hours
We’ve seen those people who seem to be working from dawn to dusk without leaving their desks. Those people who believe grit and hard work are the only ways to get work done. The reality is work hours don’t equate to quality of work done.
According to researchers, the human mind can only focus for about 90 to 120 minutes at a time. Working longer hours is not only going to make your concentration suffer- it will also put a strain on your body. Sitting without taking short breaks or even doing small stretches can mess with your body’s blood circulation.
Working longer hours will also make you very inefficient at your job as you’ll be prone to making mistakes or passing bad judgment. The best way to accomplish more from the time you have is to use the right tools that will make your work easier.
Myth # 6 – If You Want To Be Productive Create To-Do Lists
Lists may help you visualize the tasks you need to do for the day but they’re practically useless if you don’t set deadlines. Most people write their to-do-lists but don’t set strict parameters for their work hours. It’s like writing what you need to do but not actually committing to yourself when you should finish it. If you want to feel more accountable and on track of your projects, put everything on a calendar. And work according to your schedule.
Myth # 7 – Success Starts By Waking Up Early
Blame it on the old adage “the early bird gets the worm” but waking up early is almost synonymous to being responsible these days. It’s okay if your job needs you to be up early or in by a designated time. But we must understand that not all people work best during the mornings. That’s why the terms “early risers” and “night owls” exist, because people have different body peak times.
The key to productivity is in your physical energy. Choose to work at a time where you feel most productive, may it be morning, afternoon, or night.
Armela Escalona is a freelance writer who writes about startups, technology and productivity. Her work has been published in various blogs, news sites and magazines on the web. Her interests include poetry, cats, and history documentaries. Follow her on Twitter @ArmelaE.