Do you struggle to be productive?
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” – W. Clement stone
1: “I have to be busy all the time or I am not productive!”
We may feel that handling tasks after tasks or taking on multiple tasks at once means that we are being productive and are maximising our time. Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that multi-tasking does not make you more productive and actually reduces productivity by 40%! Taking on tasks constantly without pause or having multiple tasks at one time can cause us to feel stressed out, overwhelmed and may even lead to a burnout situation later on. Thus, doing more does not equate to productivity, especially if it tires you out in the long run and results in reduced work performance in the future. Instead, ensuring that you pace yourself and focus on one task well at a time may work better to fuel your productivity in the long run.
2: “If I don’t wake up early to start on my work, I am not productive!”
Everyone has different peak periods; some may be morning people, while others may be night owls. Just because someone wakes up early to do work does not mean that they are more productive than someone who wakes up at a later time. We should aim to capitalize on our own peak periods and do what is most suited to ourselves, instead of being influenced by others who may perform better during their own peak period.
4 ways you can boost your productivity
Additionally, it is important to keep track of your distractors— social media, Netflix, your colleagues —and stay away from them until you have completed your tasks.
2. … and your boundaries!
When the workload is starting to get too heavy and overwhelming, it might be time to start saying ‘no’ to additional responsibilities or look into further delegation of work. After all, if you are already facing low productivity, taking in new work will not increase your productivity (and it may further increase your stress!). Persisting with this demanding workload may lead to exhaustion or even burnout in the long run, which would be counterproductive.
3. Take breaks
Being productive does not mean that you should work for long hours and care for your needs less! Often, productivity is achieved by striking a balance between how much we work and rest. Research has shown that taking short, time-bound breaks helps with overall productivity as it boosts your energy and helps you to think and perform better.
4. Build a circle of positive support
It can be counterintuitive thinking of friends and colleagues during bouts of low productivity since it seems to be our problem that we have to deal with and solve alone. However, you may find that your colleagues or friends help you feel less alone in what you are going through, pace yourself, have an avenue for emotional support, and think and perform better through collaborative work and looking out for one another. This circle of positive support not only benefits you, but may even prevent everyone around you from falling into the slump of low productivity as well.
WIth all these tips in mind, productivity may not seem as insurmountable anymore. Here’s a quote to tide you through times when you feel overwhelmed and unproductive!
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson mandela
Cherry, K. (2020). The Cognitive and Productive Costs of Multitasking. Retrieved 9 July 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/multitasking-2795003#:~:text=But%20research%20has%20shown%20that,by%20as%20much%20as%2040%25