Everyone wants to increase productivity with the latest tricks and hacks, but many are productivity myths that actually slow you down.
You’re a busy person.
You have a lot of tasks and projects that you’re trying to balance. It’s overwhelming, and you never seem to be able to get everything done.
Your schedule is jam-packed. You’re working on week nights and weekends with little room for a break.
You’re tired and stressed.
So you look through different blogs and videos on how to better have work-life balance and increase your productivity. You see some of the same ones popup. But they don’t make sense, they seem daunting, or you’ve tried them and they don’t work.
That’s because they’re myths.
If you’re doing any of these things, stop right now because they’re just slowing you down:
Myth #1. Productivity Means Doing More Work
A lot of people think that increased productivity means more work. This productivity myth says you can’t get more done unless you do more work.
There’s this weird pride mentality that goes with working. People brag about how little sleep they get. They bag about how much they hustle on the week nights and weekends. It’s like a battle scar or something.
But its nothing to be proud of. It just means you’re incredibly inefficient.
Productivity is getting more done with less work and less time. It’s being more efficient. Productivity should help you make more time for the things you enjoy and want to do, not take away from it.
Myth #2. Productivity is MultiTasking
Many people see multitasking as some kind of gift or skill. This productivity myths says that multitasking allows you to get more done at the same time.
I see it listed on resumes and even as skill requirements for jobs, and I cringe. There’s no such thing as as multitasking. Sure, you can listen to music and wash the dishes at the same time. But multitasking is often referred to as doing multiple brain intensive tasks at once.
That’s just not possible. Research shows that you can only focus on one thing at a time. “Multitaskers” often jump from one thing to another and back again. That constant shift in focus actually wears down on brain power, and they end up working slower and get less done.
Productivity is the ability to prioritize what needs to be done, and devote your mental energy into finishing that task before moving on. It’s about saving as much mental energy as possible for the hard tasks, not wasting it on switching between menial tasks.
Myth #3. You Need to Power Through Your Work
Workaholics tend to work several hours straight without taking breaks. This productivity myth says that you need to hold stay focused and keep going until the job is done.
It’s an unhealthy work ethic that is pretty common. Some do it unintentionally – they just get so wrapped up in their work that they forget to take breaks. Others do it out of pride – thinking that breaks are for lazy people who can’t handle the work. Still others do it out of urgency – they’re so busy that they don’t think they can afford to rest.
I know you can work several hours without a break. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Research indicates that your mind and body get weaker when you’ve worked for a certain amount of time without resting. You get slower and less efficient. Sure, you’re saving time right now from not taking breaks, but it’s costing you in the long run.
Productivity is about getting the best work out you. When you take breaks, you refresh your mind and body. It allows you to go into your next task with more energy and focus, improving the work you do.
Myth #4. You Need to be an Early Morning Person
There’s a lot of talk about needing to be an early riser in order to be successful. This productivity myth says that you have to be a morning person in order to do your best work.
It makes sense to an extent. Getting up early gets you a head start on your day. A lot of successful people have be identified as early morning risers. And so there’s been a lot of push to force yourself to be a morning person, even if you’re more inclined to wake up later and stay up later.
This is false and even detrimental.
Research shows that the time you naturally wakeup and the hours you’re most active are embedded in your DNA. That’s right- whether you’re a morning bird or night owl is somewhat out of your control. Sure, you can force yourself to adapt, but it goes against your body’s natural energy cycles. You may be up early, but you’re not working at your most active time.
Productivity is about being getting the most work done when you’re most energized and focused. Create a work schedule based on your natural wake-up times. Of course, it’s still good to have a solid morning routine, no matter when you wake up.
Myth #5. You Need to Be an Organized Type-A Person
Many of us think of productive people as being highly organized, planned, and slightly OCD. This productivity myth says that you have to change into a type-A person in order to be productive.
Productive people seem to be the go-getters. They have energy, they have schedules, and they move from one thing to the next. But type-A personalities may be unproductive too – they may just be creating busy work for themselves. Research on type-A versus type-B personalities focus more on reaction, not action.
No matter what personality type you are, you can be productive.
Productivity isn’t about how much you work, it’s about whether your work is important or not. Productive people don’t waste time – whether it’s doing nothing or doing unimportant things. They work hard and get important things done, then they intentionally rest hard and rejuvenate their mind and body.
Swap Out Productivity Myths for Productivity Truths
Hopefully this article debunked a lot of the productivity myths you’ve heard and maybe have been trying to follow. Productivity is a lot easier and simpler than you think.
Have you heard some productivity myths that just aren’t true? Share with me in the comments.