If you were to Google “productivity tips” the number of articles will overwhelm you. You might spend hours reading and reading, trying to find ways to be more productive. Some tips would be beneficial, while others are sure to be a stretch. These are several myths that once and for all need to be put to rest so real productivity can happen!
Myth #1: Make a To-Do list and work your way down.
Instead of slowly making your way down your ever-growing list of tasks, find a time of day that you are most productive. Everyone has a time of day that they work their best; when they are more willing to pursue a new task or take on a more stressful task. Pick a few tasks on your list that you aren’t looking forward to then do one in the morning, midmorning, mid-day, afternoon, mid-afternoon and late afternoon. Make notes about how the project went and the level of difficulty for you to remain focused. Once you’ve found your optimum productive time, make that the time to work on your most daunting task.
Myth #2: Multitask your phone and emails.
This is one of the most common productivity myths. Instead of answering phone calls and emails amidst your mountain of work, avoid them. The vibrating or ringing sounds, the irritating frequent popups – all of it. They are not helpful, just distractions. Specify times for when you will check your email throughout the day. Once in the morning, one after lunch and one about an hour before can be a great schedule. You’ll be surprised how much work you get done when you aren’t constantly interrupted with calls and emails.
Myth #3: Taking breaks just slows you down.
A quick walk around the office, parking lot, or even getting up to grab a cup of coffee will give your body and mind a chance to relax and think about something other than work for a little while. Studies have found that people who take breaks accomplish more. They don’t get overworked or burnt out. If you don’t take breaks or let yourself do other things besides work, work, work, you won’t give your brain time to recharge.
Myth #4: Productivity means more work.
Being productive doesn’t necessarily means getting more work accomplished. Sometimes being more productive means producing a better quality of work. Break big projects into smaller pieces that are easier to concentrate on. Instead of writing, “start project” on your to-do list, try breaking it into individual tasks that you will be more likely to tackle and complete thoroughly.
Myth #5: Deadlines are harmful.
Behold, the dreaded deadline. You should actually embrace deadlines instead of being afraid of them! It’s a good idea to ask for deadlines. This is very important when it comes to finishing tasks and moving on to the next task. Deadlines give a better understanding of how intense your energy should be when doing that task. It will determine when and where it will fall on your to-do list. If you are delegating tasks, be sure to give deadlines. Having to complete a certain task by a certain time, by default, makes you more productive.