Common myths made up by society to waste your time
Productivity is a big and popular topic.
I, myself, am writing about it and I have a free guide for it.
What if the key to transitioning from busyness to productivity lies in questioning and debunking the three most prevalent productivity myths?
I believed them too until I actually had to change my productivity because I was overwhelmed by having too much to do and the myths didn’t work.
Here are the 3 myths and why they don’t work:
“You have to be busy to be productive”
Being busy doesn’t mean you are productive.
You can be busy with having a lot to do, but that doesn’t mean those things are actually important tasks to achieve a goal.
But in these days the companies want busy people.
We get hired to be there 40 hours a week, independent of what we actually have to do.
So we need to look busy but don’t have to be productive.
This work ethic is the reason why people are wasting their time at work, and why I got out of it.
It made me sick. I hate wasting time.
But whenever I was productive, I just got more things to do. The tasks would get done too fast, and I still have to sit 40 hours in the office.
So we are great at looking busy, and the bosses promote the ones that look the busiest.
It doesn’t matter if you are more productive alone at home where nobody bothers you. It’s about showing your boss you are busy the whole week.
What I did to not waste all that time at work:
I was really productive at the tasks that needed to be done. And then I worked on my online business. I looked busy typing at my computer, and I was way faster than they thought.
Figure out the tasks that are really important for your project and your company, and then do those. Remove or delegate the “busy” tasks to someone else who bothers.
“Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse. Keeping busy or burning the midnight oil… It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time.”
— Gary Keller
“Multitasking makes you more productive”
This is a big myth, especially women seem to have.
Of course, you can chew gum while walking. But are you then focusing on both things? No?
You can only focus on 1 thing.
You can be in an online meeting, and scroll through social media at the same time. But your brain only focuses on 1 thing.
I experience that every time I walk to university while listening to an audiobook: I either focus on the road ahead, or on the guy talking to me in my earplugs. But not on both.
The same goes for working on your project and writing on WhatsApp every few minutes.
Your focus gets lost every time you switch to a different task.
There are studies showing you need around 23 minutes to regain your focus after getting distracted.
You are wasting 20 minutes every time!
Take one task at a time. I usually have time blocks on my weekly planner for each of them. Those times I only focus on 1 thing.
No distractions and no interruptions. Just me and the task.
If my mind is still spinning from something else, I put in some calming music or write all my thoughts down to get them out of my system.
Whatever works for you.
“Multitasking is the sign of a stressed and diseased mind simultaneously doing many things poorly. Quality work and quality thinking require quiet focus.”
“Breaks make you less productive”
This was the biggest myth I had to overcome.
I tended to take no breaks until I was done with my project. Because I wanted to be done, and I thought time was the resource to put in to be faster.
Oh, I was so wrong.
Without breaks, I was in a bad mood and it was not healthy.
I didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat well or regularly, and all of that resulted in me getting sick after the deadline.
The time I spent on my project was not productive and only semi-focused. My body struggled.
At the final presentation, I was super nervous and sometimes my brain couldn’t make simple sentences.
It was too much. I was done with it because I’m not risking my health for 1-semester project.
Now I’m taking conscious breaks to relax my brain and my body. I eat something (healthy snacks or chocolate) and drink enough water.
Before an exam, I sleep 8 hours.
Before a deadline, I keep my morning and evening routine, and I take a break every hour to get my eyes off the screen for a few minutes.
If you work in front of a screen the whole day, you should refocus your eyes on something else every hour. It’s not healthy to focus on a lightened screen for a long period of time.
Go to the toilet, get a glass of water or a snack….
Your focus needs breaks. Accept it and embrace it.
You cannot force yourself and your brain.
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
— Alan Cohen
It took me a few years to leave these myths behind. They are well-established in our society.
Be smart enough to prioritize your health and productivity over looking busy.
This is not what life is about.
Your health and your time are the most precious parts of your life.
Trust me your work or your deadline is not worth to risk it.
How I was able to study, part-time work, and lead a student organization at the same time and you can too:
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