6 Productivity Myths Busted

1Want to be more productive? Don’t work so hard.
There. If you only have time to bust one productivity myth, pick that one.
Most people are as stubborn as they are wrong when talking about productivity. That’s understandable. “Reason,” as Hume said, is the “slave of the passions.” And we are passionate about this idea that the busier we look, the more we’re getting done.

People are capable of change, however, and changing old habits will improve the quality of your work and make you happier.

Here are six myths about productivity. Bust them. Leave them behind. Get more done.

1. Willpower Will Get You Through Anything

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Myth: When energy flags, you need to just power through to get things done.

Reality: Your willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it the more fatigued it gets until there’s none left.

What to do: When the well starts to dry up, take a break or just change gears.

2. Multiple Monitors Help Productivity

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Myth: If you’re productive with one monitor, then you should be TWICE as productive with two monitors.

Reality: It’s single-screen real estate that matters. Because it forces you to focus.

What to do: Use one monitor.

3. I Work Best Under Pressure

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Myth: You do your best work closest to deadline.

Reality: You do your best work when you’re in a state of relaxed productivity and give yourself time to craft, revise, and stress-test your ideas.

What to do: Manage your time with a system such as the Pomodoro Technique or the Results Curve. You’ll get more work done in less time.

4. Sorting Email Into Folders Helps With Email Overload

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Myth: More folders = more productivity.

Reality: More folders = more administrative thrash.

What to do: Use a system like The Trusted Trio to store your email and search for what you need. You’ll spend less time looking through folders and more time getting things done.

5. More Hours = More Work

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Myth: Working longer hours makes you more productive.

Reality: After a while, you hit a zone of diminishing returns.

What to do: Use shorter bursts of productive activity. Once you drain your energy reserves they’re gone and need to be recharged.

6. Multitasking Is a Good Thing

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Myth: Multitasking makes you productive.

Reality: Multitasking is actually single-tasking multiple things at once. This means you are task-switching, doing little bits of each one and giving none of the tasks your full attention. In other words, multitasking slows you down and leads to mistakes.

What to do: Use a system like Pomodoro to do short bursts of work on single topics.

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