5 Common Productivity Myths to Stop Believing

Are you ready to dive into the whimsical world of productivity myths? Those accepted ‘truths’ are supposed to turbocharge our efficiency, as you know. Sometimes, they end up doing just the opposite. Well, today, we’re going on a myth-busting adventure!

As a  entrepreneur, you’ve  heard them all. From the classic “early bird gets the worm” to the glorified hustle of “work more, achieve more”. But let’s pause for a moment. Have you ever stopped to wonder if these productivity myths are   helping us? Or are they  well-dressed roadblocks in our quest for success and balance? And who wants a worm?

Today, we’re going to put on our detective hats (fancy, right?) and sift through these popular beliefs. Together, we’ll uncover what  works and what’s  fluff in the world of productivity. Grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea. Get comfy. Let’s debunk some of these common productivity myths, one laugh and insight at a time!

Productivity Myth 1: The Myth of Multitasking Mastery

Oh, multitasking, you seductive, tricky little thing. It’s hailed as the ultimate productivity hack, isn’t it? But this is the first common productivity myth. And every time someone says it doesn’t not work, others line up in its’ defense. The idea is so appealing: juggle a dozen tasks at once, and you’ll be the queen of efficiency. But here’s the twist – our brains are more like elegant swans than circus jugglers.

Picture this: You’re on a conference call, while simultaneously answering emails, and perhaps sneakily peeking at your social media feed (we’ve all been there, no judgment!). It feels productive, right? But in reality, each task gets only a fraction of your focus. It’s like trying to cook a gourmet meal while painting the Mona Lisa and defusing a bomb. Something’s definitely not going to turn out right.

Research shows that when we switch between tasks, there’s a cognitive cost. Our brains need time to shift gears. Constant switching can lead to more errors and less efficiency. It’s like if your GPS kept rerouting every five minutes – you’d never get to your destination!

But here’s the good news: embracing ‘monotasking’ can be  liberating. Imagine giving one task your full, undivided attention. There’s a sense of calm and control that comes with it. And often, you’ll find that you complete tasks in less time and with better results.

 Focusing on one task at a time doesn’t increase the number of hours, it is a case of using time management strategies to as the most effective road to true productivity. 

Productivity Myth 2: The Early Bird Gets the Worm – Or Does It? 

“Rise and shine, the early bird catches the worm!” How many times have we heard this? I actually say it all the time because I have to get up early for work, but then I always add -Who Want’s Worms.  It paints a picture of the ultra-productive person who’s up with the larks.

They seize the day while the rest of the world snoozes. But let’s be honest, not all of us are early risers. Some of us are more like night owls – and that’s  okay! In fact, I find those happy morning people difficult to handle first thing in the morning. And they probably feel the same way when I am perky at the end of a long workday. 

The truth is, productivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all time slot. It’s more like a favorite pair of jeans – it needs to fit you  right. The key is understanding your own ‘chronotype.’ It’s a fancy term for whether you’re a morning person, a night person, or somewhere between. Our energy levels and focus fluctuate during the day based on our internal body clock. It’s important to align our work with these natural rhythms. By concentrating our work when we are most products is an effective way to get more done without adding more work hours. 

I remember a friend of mine, Jeanne, who’s a real night owl. She’d tried the ‘get up at 5 AM’ routine. She found herself bleary-eyed and guzzling coffee like it was going out of style. She stopped with the caffeine fix and started embracing her natural rhythm. She worked later into the evening when she felt most alert and creative. Her business  took off. She realized her ‘worm’ was more active at night! In fact, she slept until noon and worked until the early hours of the morning because that’s when she was able to do creative work. 

And let’s not forget, the timing of your productivity also depends on your life’s context. If you have kids or are balancing a side job, your peak productivity hours might not be in the morning. It’s about finding pockets of time that work for you and allow you to create a quality of work. Do easy tasks when you are not in your highly productive mode and the more difficult tasks when you are in the zone. 

So, whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, the real trick is to work with your natural tendencies. Don’t work against them. It’s about finding your unique rhythm and dancing to it – even if that means your dance floor is more lit up at night! 

Productivity Myth 3: The Longer You Work, the More You Get Done

This myth is like the marathon runner of productivity beliefs – it  keeps going and going. The idea seems straightforward: the more hours you put in, the more you’ll achieve. But is this the case, or are we  spinning our wheels?

In reality, long hours doesn’t always mean working smarter. It’s like reading the same page of a book over and over again – you’re not  getting anywhere new, are you? Our brains, much like our bodies, have a limit to how much they can handle before they start to tire out. It’s the law of diminishing returns in action: the more time you spend on a task, the less productive you become.

I once knew a colleague, let’s call her Sarah, who was a self-proclaimed ‘workaholic’. She’d be the first in the office and the last to leave, often working through lunch and late into the night. But was she getting more done? Not necessarily. Sarah often found herself redoing work or missing details because of fatigue. Her marathon sessions were less productive. Pacing herself with a regular short break and a good work schedule would have been effective.

The key here is balance- a work-life balance. It’s about finding the sweet spot where you’re working effectively without burning out. Regular breaks are essential – they’re like pit stops in a race, giving you a moment to recharge and refuel. Remember, rest and relaxation aren’t just nice-to-haves. They’re crucial for long-term productivity.

So, the next time you find yourself clocking in extra hours  for the sake of it, ask yourself: am I  getting more done? Or am I  just making my day longer?  Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your productivity is to step back. Take a break. Return with fresh eyes and a clear mind.

Productivity Myth 4: You Need a Spotless Space to be Productive

This myth is like the interior design magazine of productivity. Everything is in its place. We often hear that a clean workspace is the key to unlocking our productivity potential. But let’s face it, for many of us, this isn’t unrealistic, it’s  a scene from a sci-fi movie! Or in my case, a horror movie.

Productivity isn’t about having a workspace that looks  tidy. The truth is. It’s about creating an environment that works for you. It might be a bit cluttered, chaotic, or somewhere in between.

Think about it: some of the greatest minds had workspaces that were, well, less than tidy. Albert Einstein  quipped, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” His point? Great ideas don’t always come from spotless spaces.

I remember visiting a friend’s home office once. She’s a brilliant writer, but her desk looked like a hurricane had  passed through. Papers were everywhere, pens scattered, and random knick-knacks piled up. Yet, this was her creative haven. She knew exactly where everything was, and this ‘organized chaos’ was where her best ideas came to life.

The key is finding your unique balance. It’s not about conforming to a one-size-fits-all standard of tidiness. It’s about understanding how your environment affects your mood and work rhythm. For some, a clean desk is essential for clear thinking. For others, a bit of clutter can be comforting and even inspiring. I don’t even notice the clutter around me and once in a while, a family members, tidies it up for me. Then I waste hours trying to find what they “organized”. 

Before you embark on a cleaning frenzy, remember: productivity is personal. It’s about what makes you feel comfortable, focused, and ready to tackle your tasks. If the clutter doesn’t keep you from making meaningful progress, then clearing it is not a good use of your time. Your workspace should be a reflection of your unique style and work habits, not a page out of a catalog.

Productivity Myth 5: The More To-Do’s, the Better

This myth is like the buffet of productivity. Pile your plate high with important tasks, and somehow you’ll feel more accomplished. We often equate a long to-do list with being super productive. It’s like wearing a badge of honor: “Look at all the tasks I have to tackle!” But let’s be real – is a longer list  a sign of productivity, or is it overwhelming?

The truth is, productivity isn’t measured by the length of your to-do list. It’s about prioritizing important tasks that  move the needle forward.  It’s better to have a short, well-thought-out list of tasks. The tasks should be meaningful and achievable. A never-ending to-do list can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

I like to think of it as a garden. Imagine planting too many seeds in a small patch. They’ll compete for space and resources, and not all will thrive. When you overload your to-do list, tasks compete for your attention and energy. Not all get the care they need. It’s about planting  the right amount, so each task can grow and flourish.

A friend of mine, Emily, once shared her to-do list with me. It was like a novel! She felt  behind and stressed because it was impossible to get through it all. We sat down, pruned her to-list, and focused on what was essential. 

She started achieving more and feeling better about her progress. Her list was manageable and aligned with her goals. So, the next time you’re writing your to-do list, remember – it’s not about quantity, but quality. Think of it as a fine dining experience, not a fast-food rush. Choose significant tasks. Give yourself permission to focus on what matters.

We’ve learned that multitasking might not be the efficiency superhero we thought it was, and that being an early bird or a night owl is more about personal preference than a hard-and-fast rule for success. We’ve seen that longer hours don’t automatically equate to more productivity and that a spotless workspace isn’t the only environment where creativity blooms. And finally, we’ve understood that a lengthy to-do list isn’t the key to productivity heaven.

As you move forward in your entrepreneurial journey, I encourage you to question these productivity myths and find your own path to productivity. What works for one person may not work for another, and that’s perfectly okay. The goal is to create a system that allows you to work effectively, feel accomplished, and still have time for the things that bring you joy and relaxation.

So,  challenge the norms, and tailor your work habits to suit your individual needs. Productive means accomplishing your goals and getting the results you want. Productive people use their time to focus on what matters and do the important work first, not at the end of the day.  You need to develop a plan that will help you towards greater productivity and producing your best work, despite the external factors. 

After all, you’re not just building a business; you’re crafting a lifestyle that’s uniquely yours. Stay curious, stay flexible, and most importantly, stay true to what works for you. And if you have more tasks than you can handle, you can outsource for some simple tasks to places like Fiverr. Or use productivity tools like Trello, Airtable, Todoist or Asana.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with these productivity myths. Have you found certain ‘truths’ to be more fiction than fact in your own life? Drop a comment below or email me at hello@creativeplr.com and let’s keep the conversation going. Here’s to busting productivity myths and boosting productivity, in our own wonderfully unique ways!

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