There is a lot of advice out there on how to be more productive. We all have our own routine and methods that we believe help us to get more done. The trouble is that there is a lot of bad advice out there as well. Or there are things we do that intuitively feel right but may actually be hurting our productivity.
Here are a few of those notions about productivity that many people believe but are actually detrimental to our work.
This used to be a big thing. It was supposed to be a great way to increase productivity, simply by doing several things at the same time. But more recent research has shown that multitasking really doesn’t work. In fact, it can hurt our productivity. Our minds simply can only focus on one thing at a time. We may think we are multitasking, but actually our minds are switching from one thing to another. The old saying still holds true, “To do two things at once is to do neither.
2. Working harder means being more productive.
This too is a myth. To most people, working harder means putting in longer hours. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we are getting more work done. If we haven’t prioritized our tasks, and focused on what is most important, we may end up just doing busywork.
Moreover, forcing ourselves to simply work longer, without rest, yields diminishing returns. We need breaks from work, times for rest, to recharge ourselves. Also, we need time to stop and reflect on what we have done, to put it into a bigger picture, to put it into perspective.
It really is about working smarter, not just harder.
3. Working from home can hurt your productivity.
With the array of electronic devices we now have at our disposal, this is not true at all. In fact, if you take care to create a good work environment at home – one free from interruptions – you can actually be more productive than elsewhere.
4. You are more resourceful under pressure.
This is another myth. Studies have shown that, in fact, you work tends to be worse if you do it under a lot of pressure. So, don’t push deadlines.
5. Taking breaks is not important.
Research has shown just the opposite to be true. We only have a certain amount of psychological energy, and our focus suffers when we use it up. To recharge our batteries, we need to take breaks, and we should take them fairly often.
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