Being productive at work is one key to company and career success. But despite the positive payoff, many employees, maybe even you, have issues maintaining high productivity levels every day which is mostly due to outside factors that no one can control.
Everybody wants to increase their productivity and doesn’t want to waste time, effort and energy. When it comes to getting things done you have to be honest with yourself and ask if what you’re doing truly contributes to you and your company’s productivity.
You may be doing something that you think is right, but sometimes, it’s hard to tell if a productivity concept is truly working or not. The result might be good, but are you going about it the long way?
Below are some of the misconceptions about productivity that you might believe.
Productivity Lies That Catch Us Out
1. Sleep Is For The Weak
We often read about successful CEOs who wake up early and remain productive all day. Often they’re quoted as having only 4 hours of sleep. You have to remember that each person is different and functions differently. Some people can do work with just a little sleep while for most, it’s 6-8 hours of sleep that helps you to be productive.
Typically, a person needs at least 8 hours of sleep for the body to recover well, and constant lack of sleep will take its toll and affect one’s concentration and productivity. You will be prone to mistakes and your body will be more susceptible to ailments, plus you run the risk of lacking fresh ideas.
2. More Things Can Be Done If You Don’t Take Your Break
Working non-stop is not the most efficient way of getting things done. The longer you work at something, the more tired you become. The more tired you become, the more mistakes you’ll make. Frustration can build up and reach a boiling point where pointless arguments with teammates or colleagues can erupt and affect work relationships.
If you think that you’ve hit a wall, take a breather, have a 5-minute coffee break, have your lunch break, eat an apple or a banana or take a power nap. By doing these things, you’ll return to work rested, refreshed and ready to tackle the issues ahead.
3. Multitasking Means Tasks Get Finished Faster
Multitasking was a buzzword in the business world during the 90s. But in truth, multitasking does nothing to improve productivity and it’s backed by science that you cannot efficiently multitask.
The human brain can only concentrate on doing one task at a time. When you attempt to multitask your brain is switching focus between different tasks very quickly. Some people may be good at switching tasks, but this is very exhausting and the constant shift will make your brain hurt. Also, the constant task shift will not get you into “the flow”.
Most times multitasking might end up with you not being able to finish any of your tasks. In fact, it can even give you more stress, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place. Concentrate on one task and finish it, cross it off of your to-do list and start the next task.
4. Waiting For Other People To Act
You know it’s frustrating when you’re not able to work because someone has not yet done their part. Thus, make sure you and your whole team are on the same page. Make sure that everyone on the team knows what their jobs are and the project timeline. Everyone should be in the loop of what’s been done, what’s being done and what still needs to be done. Take advantage of your company’s internal communication tools to keep everyone updated.
5. Having Lots of Meetings Is A Productive Use Of Time
The more time spent in meetings, the less time spent doing the actual work and meeting your goals. Meetings should be short and focused on the tasks at hand to be very effective. In today’s office settings, meetings are not that necessary because you have email, chat rooms and electronic billboards. Face to face meetings can be done once a week just to make sure that everyone is doing their part and still working towards the same goal.
6. Working With The Same Tools Is The Most Efficient Strategy
Yes, working with all the tools and software that you have will surely improve your productivity and performance, however, these tools in time will become obsolete and need to be updated or replaced. Computers photocopiers, servers, mobile phones and other hardware, for example. There should be plans in place to upgrade, update or replace your tools as required.
7. The Big Picture Is What Matters
The big picture of what you’re trying to achieve is important, but the small details are what makes it achievable. By setting small goals, you’ll get the bigger picture more easily. Take small steps and show the progress you’re making. Your progress will keep you motivated to work harder. As mentioned earlier, once you’ve done one task, that’s one small step of progress. While you’re in the zone start with the next task and focus on it. Check or cross out all tasks that you’ve done on your checklist.
8. To Be More Efficient, You Have To Work Faster
Beating the deadline is a happy relief every employee will experience at work. Although in some cases, working at breakneck speeds is not efficient. What you can do is think of how you can streamline or lessen the amount of work you’ll do in the future.
Start on any work or project that you can do right now without affecting your work timeline or task list. Taking care of the small details and other important tasks now will be a boost to your productivity levels later.
9. Work Yourself To Death To Be Successful
Yes, hard work gets the job done, but working yourself too hard will either get you burned out, confined to a hospital or even put you 6-feet underground. Take the necessary breaks, get enough sleep, relax when there’s no work, have a hobby, do some sports and take care of your health to be more productive.
10. Time Pressure Equals Efficient Working
Some people break down under pressure while others strive for it. While it is important to have a deadline to keep you focused, too much time pressure will surely result in extreme stress. Extreme stress leads to lower productivity and work burnout. An overload of work paired with time pressure can mean mistakes are made and health issues like lack of sleep, lack of appetite and lack of concentration. Pace yourself and avoid procrastination.
As with most things in life, the key is balance. Work out a good balance between work and relaxation that suits you. Have time for yourself, your family and friends, have some downtime, be recharged and be productive.