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5 Productivity Myths You Need to Ditch

It’s time to demystify them and move on!


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Houssem Sadki

3 years ago | 4 min read

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea. In other words, it is a misrepresentation of the truth.

In the case of productivity, myths are also limiting beliefs that prevent you from achieving real and consistent productivity.

So what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I talk to you about productivity?

I’m sure you have prejudices against it!

As a productivity anti-guru proactive, it is my duty to help you have more fruitful days every day. So today I want to help you uncover, debunk, and permanently eliminate five common productivity myths… once and for all!

MYTH # 1: PRODUCTIVITY IS AN ACCIDENT

Do you know those days when half your to-do list is checked off at 11 am?

How incredibly productive you are the day before your vacation?

This is not an accident or a coincidence. You can have days like this every day with a little discipline, a lot of focus, and an intentional plan.

Efficiency is always the result of focused effort, smart planning, and a commitment to excellence.

Tips for increasing the number of those productive days:

  • Plan your day (preferably the day before so you can wake up knowing what to do).
  • Don’t just make a to-do list, plan exactly when you’re going to tackle each of your tasks, and even how much time you want to spend on them.
  • Turn off all distractions, including notifications from your phone (airplane mode).
  • Give each task your full attention until it’s time to move on to the next task.
  • If you decide to give it a try (and I hope you will) I think you’ll be surprised at how productive and accomplished you will feel at the end of each day !!

MYTH # 2: PLANNING IS A WASTE OF TIME

I often hear people say that planning is a waste of time. That they would do more stuff if they just started working. But I don’t agree.

By planning, you eliminate the question: what should I do next? You avoid wasting time when you sit there and go through all the chores that you need to do in search of the next thing to do.

By planning, you also eliminate the accidental procrastination that occurs. And by that, I mean getting lost in the scrolling of social networks or the excessive search for information …

Planning is NOT a waste of time. In fact, to be more productive and get things done, I would like to encourage you to stop going around in circles and start planning it.

MYTH 3: MAXIMIZE EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR DAY

One of the most enduring myths — so deeply ingrained that it may be the way people think about productivity itself — is the idea that working well is about maximizing every moment of your day, completing as many things as you can. possible, as fast as possible.

The emphasis on maximizing time can actually diminish your creativity. Productivity and creativity require opposing attention management strategies. Productivity is increased when you reduce outside distractions and stimuli to focus on a given job. Creativity, on the other hand, needs external stimulation to be boosted.

Plus, trying to be a constant producing machine just isn’t in tune with human nature. According to “deep work” expert Cal Newport and other research, we only have about three to four very productive hours each day.

Advice

  • Identify the few hours of the day you are most productive
  • Focus your energy on productivity during those hours of the day when you are most focused.
  • Use a method like a block planning to get your most important work done at that time.
  • Outside of work hours, be sure to take the time to disconnect, feed your creativity, and get enough rest.

MYTH 4: TO BE BUSY IS TO BE PRODUCTIVE

We all complain about being busy, yet we continue to overwork. This is partly due to the modern work culture. It has to do with the belief that we achieve more if we commit to more.

But I think you’ll act differently if you know and understand the real difference between productive and busy.

Being busy is doing things.

Being productive is getting things done.

It’s not the same thing. In fact, they are two very different things. But this difference is subtle and often missed or misinterpreted. But the IMPACT she has daily is HUGE.

If you find yourself caught up in the hustle and bustle, running around, doing lots of things but feeling stagnant, etc., stop for a moment and ask yourself: Am I productive or just busy?

Advice:

  • Focus on three important things every day
  • Disconnect from electronic devices at least an hour a day (take a walk outside instead)
  • Recognize your “taste for overworking” — common among entrepreneurs — and realize that you don’t always have to do something
  • Say no to things that don’t advance your goals
  • Have a morning or evening routine where you take the time to think about how you are going to organize the day to meet some of your needs.

MYTH # 5: I AM NOT A PRODUCTIVE PERSON

This is possibly the biggest productivity myth and the most limiting belief that I have ever heard.

Productivity is not a unicorn. It is not a hidden talent or an innate gift. Productivity is possible anytime, anywhere, and for everyone. (Yes, even for you.) You can learn it. It can be taught. So stick to it

First published here.

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Houssem Sadki

Navy Hydrographic Engineer and GIS Specialist and looking to become adata scientist


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