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Published on December 13th, 2013 | by Nathaniel

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5 Lies About Productivity Nobody Told You

Productivity_Main

I’d like to think that I’m a seemingly efficient person… Procrastination never really appealed as a reliable lifestyle to me (I chronicled my type A- personality obsession with order in a previous post: Confessions of an (Ex)-Over Planner). But oh brother, the lies run deeper than roots of a South-African wild-fig tree (use your imagination).

In my former (Ex)-Over-Planner state, I spent more time planning and organizing than actually accomplishing the nitty-gritty, oh-so-not pretty bulk of the tasks I was actually supposed to complete. You remember the kid who always needed to have two #2 pencils, a portable sharpener, an eraser (kneadble and gum-type), and a ball-point pen before he could actually start his 5-minute pop quiz? …Yeah that was me…

        At the same time productivity isn’t just frying the chicken in a matter of nano-seconds… It’s shaking and baking an oven-fried masterpiece special, while simultaneously conserving time spent. Because time is the great equalizer, productivity is heavily dependent on time and effort. Productivity is synonymous with quality work and in order to produce quality output, you should denounce some lies…

       5 Lies About Productivity Nobody Told You:

productivity_multitasking

       1. You’re a Multi-Tasker…

You have your Spotify tuned to Michael Buble’s Christmas album (you know it’s a classic). You have your TV fixed on Kobe’s big comeback game. And you’re in the middle of a text- all the while when you’re supposed to be working (from home)… I know I’m not the only one; I know you’re just as guilty… I think we subconsciously convince ourselves that we can multi-task because we fear having to commit enough focus, energy, and effort to actually accomplishing one thing at a time. Have you ever noticed how it takes more of your attention to focus on one thing than to spread yourself thin? That’s because multi-tasking in theory sounds great, but otherwise it’s as useless as a can-opener from the Dollar Store (just don’t do it).

Productivity_timemanagement2

            2. You Need to Better Manage Your Time…

So technically, it’s not a bad thing to manage your time. But the framework that comes with the word “manage” sounds so harsh, right? That’s because we weren’t meant to whip-lash ourselves into productivity. A better way to look at your time is an “investment.” When you decide to “invest” your time, you’re working toward the most productive output, but when you “manage” your time, you’re looking to control, or in other words suppress your time into an output. See the difference?  

productivity_application

        3. There’s an App for That…

Maybe I come from the old-school mindset (at one point I seriously claimed iPhones were the devil’s work), but I think the majority of apps are productivity inhibitors. However, my brother David lives in a whole unparalleled dimension that says, “I’m going to find an app to help me find an app.” I can’t finish a phone conversation without the guy telling me about an app that “helped” him understand his financials or better “configure” his grocery list. What??? (I’m starting to keep a running-total of the apps that he actually uses more than once… so far we’re at one… maybe) I have an app too- it’s called my notepad and my #2.

productivity_not sleeping

        4.  You Work Better Staying Up Waaay Best Your Bed Time…

Are you one of those people who’s convinced yourself that you’re just more productive at 3am? Thus the reason why you procrastinated starting your presentation until 12:15am? Don’t believe the lie that convinced you that staying up to the point of exhaustion is a normal way to get things done. In economics there’s a theory called “diminishing marginal utility.” It basically says your “satisfaction” or “utility” from eating one more slice of pizza diminishing with every subsequent piece. Yeah. Your productivity works the same way- the later you work to finish a project closer to its deadline, the less productive the outcome will be.

 

Productivity_equilibrium

            5. Your Productivity Grid is in Equilibrium…

Unfortunately productivity has peaks and valleys. Consistent output isn’t really feasible. When we work or attempt to work, we have periods of high productivity and periods of low productivity. Thus the reason we have to give ourselves more time to accomplish a task and when working toward a task, minimize our distractions.

Do you have any tips for maintaining a high level of productivity? Comment below!

@NathanielSimons

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