Everyone wants to be productive but in our never-ending quest for workplace efficiency, we’ve started pursuing techniques that are more fiction than fact. Besides having no substantial impact on improving efficiency, these productivity myths can even hamper your productivity at work. Let’s debunk the top 3 productivity myths that could be messing with your workplace productivity.
Myth #1: Write a to-do list for everything
We’ve all heard the saying about failing to plan and planning to fail. However, planning that is overly-detailed, rigid and disorganized can lead to failure almost as much as not planning can. To-do lists are a huge culprit in this matter. Although some people work well with to-do lists, many others tend to perform worse when sticking to this productivity myth. To-do lists are often long lists of undone tasks with no planned breaks, no stated deadlines, little prioritization and rarely categorization. This will make the planner extremely anxious, disorganized and daunted by the long list of work. If this sounds like something you experience, try an alternative planning method instead. One great example you can check out is the Quadrant Time Management System.
Myth #2: No breaks!
We often make the mistake of simplistically associating productivity with time worked. The more time we spend on something, the more work we get done? Not at all!
Let’s think of it from a very basic perspective. If you were stuck on a tricky math problem in school, you’d get nowhere by pushing through and struggling with the same question for hours. More likely, you’d end up staring at a blank paper. On the contrary, if you finished other problems and came back to the challenging one, you might view details with a new perspective. This could just help you get your solution.
The same theory applies to work. You might not be stuck on a challenging issue in the office, but endless hours at your desk are just as mentally-grueling. Productivity decreases as your mind wanders, while work quality significantly declines. Not taking a break is both painful for you, and completely inefficient! Instead, try staggering break times and give yourself ample time to refresh your mind. A great tool for this is a Timeqube, a stress-free timer that can help you time your breaks. It’s easy to use, unobtrusive and can help you balance work-time with break-time.
Myth #3: Sleep is for the weak
This productivity myth has the same underlying assumption as productivity myth #2 — which is that more time spent working equates to more work being done. This is a total fallacy as a lack of sleep could be a key reason why your productivity at work isn’t already at its prime. Sleep deprivation reduces short-term cognitive abilities, causes mood-swings, significantly caps creative abilities and leads to long-term health problems. It’s ultimately better to tackle a task on a full night’s worth of sleep, instead of struggling with it on half your usual cognitive capacities!
Follow your heart!
It is tempting to believe that there’s a magical panacea to improve productivity. In reality, productivity at work depends solely on you as an individual. The most important tip is to be healthy and happy, so don’t let any productivity myth tell you otherwise!