Today many of us are in the pursuit of productivity, experimenting with different tools and techniques. However, trying to be as much effective as possible, we often aspire not for productivity itself but for the idea of it. We read smart articles, follow the expert advice without a question and wait for it to work.
The truth is that there is no universal recipe for productivity suitable for everyone. To succeed, you must take into consideration the existing myths about productivity. We are going to cover the most widely spread ones in this article.
Let’s admit, everyone has ever run into an article like “Why a successful leader must get up at 4 a.m”. Does getting up early really contributes to the higher productivity? We got used to thinking that thanks to waking up early we have additional time for solving current tasks and backlogs. But that is not entirely true. According to several studies, to be the most effective, you should work at the time that is the most convenient for you.
If you notice that you are really productive and can focus well during the morning hours, try to solve the most important tasks in the first half of the day. The same applies to “night owls”: use the evening and the night time to the maximum advantage. What is really hindering your productivity is the attempt to make yourself work at the time which is not convenient for your organism.
This statement was probably fair a decade ago when there were no useful applications at hand, but it is not true anymore in today’s world. Many studies show that working from home or a cafe indeed increases your productivity. With the right tools remote and distributed teams can work as effectively as the ones that constantly work in an office.
This is mostly about preferences and habits. People who are comfortable about working in the office surrounded by the colleagues will be the most productive in the office. However, introverts and homebodies often achieve the greatest success as remote employees. The point is that people are most productive when they work in comfortable conditions.
Sleep as well as waking up is an individual factor. Some people need more than 8 hours of sleep every day, but for some people, 6 hours are quite enough. Moreover, the individual need of sleep can vary depending on the mood, the season, the mental strain and other factors. However, the lack of sleep indeed decreases your productivity. So, you should find out how much time of sleep is necessary personally for you and try not to break your regime.
Myth #4. Being busy=being productive
When you are constantly busy, there is an illusion that you are very productive and control your time. If you proudly tick a job done in your check-list, this doesn’t mean that you are productive. If this check-list is full of unimportant and non-urgent tasks that can be delegated or not done at all, this cannot be called productivity.
To ensure that your actions bring the maximum result, learn to prioritize tasks and work on the most important ones first.
A rather popular advice: “The key to productivity is in to learn to work during declines”. But why waste your powers on non-productive working hours? It is better to spend this time with use to solve simple routine tasks which do not require great involvement. For example, throw away scrap papers, check the email inbox or take a break and get some fresh air. Don’t waste your precious energy at the time of the day when you are less productive.
Really successful and productive people know that one shouldn’t put work before everything else in life. The true art is to find the balance between the private life and work.
If you decide to work on weekends, devote strictly regulated hours to it. Otherwise, trying to be the most productive, you risk getting bogged down in work for the whole weekend. If you don’t have enough rest, you simply won't regain your power and your level of productivity will decrease greatly next week.
Studies in this field show that multitasking is the killer of productivity. It is impossible to do two things at once and be effective at the same time. In fact, multitasking is constant switching from one thing to another at one and the same period of time. Every time you switch your brain needs some time to focus on the new task.
Multitasking also has a negative influence on the quality of your work. If you skip from one task to another all the time, the general result can be quite poor.
Some people insist that the Internet fills our brains with useless information, makes us think or look for solutions by ourselves less. Of course, there is a certain level of information noise in the global network, but the conclusion that the Internet makes us dumb is wrong.
Quite the reverse, the Internet helps us to save time and spend it on the truly useful tasks. There is nothing wrong about googling the certain information instead of keeping a lot of useless numbers and dates in your memory.
The statement that the more time you spend in the office, the more tasks you manage to complete is not 100% true. According to the Parkinson’s law, work contracts to fit in the time we give it. For example, if you decide to leave work at 6 today, you will work with the higher motivation to finish everything by this time. If you decided that you can work late to do more, with high probability you will complete the same amount of tasks but spend more time on each one.
Whether a clean work table helps to increase your productivity or not depends on the person and his or her individual preferences. Studies show that some people need some creative chaos on their table to be inventive and efficient. Not every person will be productive at the perfectly organized workplace.
The problem of most myths stated above is that they are not universally true. That is why when you try to increase your productivity, focus on yourself and use advice and methods wisely.