“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi
Coming from a subtle combination of how we think, our habits, and our surrounding, productivity often becomes subject to fake myths and half-truths. Should we drink more coffee at work? Might longer lunch breaks be a really productive habit? Or maybe multiple short breaks could be the answer to an increased productivity? The truth is that all these things make us feel busy, but they are actually huge time wasters. We are talking about fake myths about productivity or, more often, about behaviors that we get drawn into. After having eliminated distractions, overcoming procrastination becomes the next challenge. Squeezing more time out of each day is what we all want. In order to do so, we have to avoid these 5 productivity myths:
1. Achieve great goals every day.
“Think big”, they say, and a grandiose vision is proved to foster productivity and projects’ success. On the other hand, setting realistic priorities, based not only on the importance of the goals but also on the prospect of completion is the premise of a smart time management. A smart time manager should be focused on achieving smaller goals with a series of small tasks. Since the chances to achieve these small goals on an everyday basis are much bigger, this offers us positive reinforcement. Ultimately, it is a strong motivation to achieve bigger goals and aspirations.
2. Asking coworkers for advice makes you look dumb.
On the contrary, recent studies show that asking other people for advice is very beneficial. Even if people are not naturally inclined to ask for advice because they fear it makes them look stupid, asking for advice not only brings new insights to light, but it makes the one who asks for help look more competent and even smarter by those receiving the requests.
3. Multitasking fosters productivity.
Wrong. Multitasking increases the chances to make mistakes. Focusing on one task at a time doesn’t usually increase the stress levels and doesn’t over-stimulate brain function.
Constant interruptions by coworkers, phone calls, or social media often make us forget details required to comprehensively finish the task at hand. On the other hand, memory is affected by the great quantity of information.
4. Treat “emergencies” with immediate attention.
Making a drama of situations that aren’t urgent or don’t need immediate attention is in fact a waste of time. Focusing on looking at the root causes of these “emergencies” will lead to understanding the fact that they are actually a consequence of procrastination or poor management.
5. A productive individual strives to figure out everything out alone
It’s common to waste time trying to figure out yourself where the problem comes from when a roadblock stays in your way. Working in a team means reaching out for help from either a colleague, a mentor or from other trusted source of knowledge. This can not only save time but also provide valuable insight and lessons.