In 2019, the global market size for productivity books, as valued by Grand View Research, reached a staggering $10.91 billion.
This shows that in today's fast-paced and demanding world, productivity advice stays a hot commodity.
Overwhelmed individuals seeking relief turn to what appear to be quick fixes promoted across numerous lists, podcasts, articles, videos… But some ideas creep up consistently, and some are dangerously misguided.
Common 'Wisdom' That Actually Sabotages Your Success
People worldwide waste crucial minutes adopting them, only to find themselves further behind due to loss of confidence, disorganization, longer recovery periods following each mistake, and reduced motivation.
Be on the lookout for the following 10 pieces of time management and productivity advice that are among the worst.
Keep Believing in Multitasking
First up, we have multitasking. Multitask as much as possible, whether it's responding to emails while on the phone or watching Netflix during a Zoom meeting.
Because who needs to focus on one task at a time when you can cope with five things simultaneously? It's like being a circus performer but you are juggling deadlines and stress levels🤹♀️ Who needs sanity anyway?
This bad advice tops the list. Multitasking might seem like a great way to get more done, but it's doing the opposite because our brains aren't wired to do two things at once.
It may be tough to swallow, but the truth remains that working efficiently means concentrating in one direction rather than in all directions through Twitter updates or cat videos. Yes, you can drink coffee while you tweet and listen to music while you read your emails—but it's not going to help you get anything done any faster.
Worshipping To-Do Lists
Now onto worshipping to-do lists (even though long ago, it proved to backfire).
Still, what screams 'productivity' louder than writing down every minute of your day and feeling like a superhero checking off all those trivial tasks?
Plus, who doesn't love the feeling of overwhelming anxiety that comes with realizing you have 50 tasks to complete in a single day?😵💫
Many people believe that striving for perfection is admirable, – it is understandable you want to look like someone who has their life together and knows how to manage their time well.
But listen: if your life is so chaotic that your list is longer than ten items (or even five), then it's time to get some help and try to outsource things.
Ban on technology
The advice to ban technology in the workplace is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
Certainly, it sounds like a good idea to eliminate distractions, but the truth is, technology has become so intertwined with our work, that trying to ban it would send productivity plummeting to the depths of despair.
In fact, many of the technological tools we have at our disposal, such as communication software and time tracking apps, can drastically improve the efficiency of the work routine.
It's not the technology that's the problem; it's the misuse of it.
Presence on Social Media
Next on our list is social media presence🙃 Spend your break checking social media newsfeeds to get you pumped up.
Who can stop you if it is your idea of work-life balance? Because why bother unplugging when you can enjoy Instagram? At least you'll know what your ex had for lunch today.
And don't forget to engage with every notification, stat update, comment, and message while you're at it! Your followers love that kind of dedication.
And now to the mythical land of zero inboxes. It’s that magical place where unicorns frolic, dragons roam free, and your email count is always at zero🦄
But let's get real here, the idea that we should all be striving for a perfectly clean inbox is about as unrealistic as keeping a beach free of sand.
Sure, it might feel nice to have an empty inbox, like the digital equivalent of a clean house. Let's face it, email has become a never-ending stream of communication, with new messages flooding your inbox every second.
Obsessing over trying to keep your inbox empty is the perfect recipe for stress, anxiety, and burnout. Not to mention, it's a colossal waste of time and energy.
Follow Your Heart
'Follow your heart', they say, 'do what you love'. Sounds good in theory, but in practice? About as practical as trying to herd cats.
Without a doubt, it's easy to be motivated when you're working on something that excites you. The problem is, what happens when you're faced with work that's less than thrilling? Do you just toss it aside like yesterday's expired milk? Sorry, but that's not how adulting works.
Following your heart may be fantastic advice for rom-com, but it's no way to maximize your productivity. At some point, you’re going to have to buckle down and do work that doesn't blow your hair back. Whether it's filing expense reports or distributing workload, there will always be tasks that aren't exactly heart-pumping.
Sometimes you have to do what's necessary, even if it's not the most exhilarating thing in the world. After all, even rockstars👨🏻🎤 have to deal with filling out tax forms.
What Does Not Kill You, Makes You Stronger
All of us read page-turning stories of people who hustled and c̶o̶m̶p̶r̶o̶m̶i̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶m̶e̶n̶t̶a̶l̶ ̶h̶e̶a̶l̶t̶h̶ became a productivity sensation. Sorry, but we're not falling for that trap.
Not that we question the importance of hard work. But the problem with the hustle mentality is that it often glorifies overwork and burnout. The reality is, constantly pushing ourselves to the limit inevitably leads to physical and mental exhaustion, and in the end, less productivity💁🏿
And don't even get us started on the idea that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger". Sure, fighting through adversity can be character-building, but it's not appropriate to apply to every situation. Sometimes, what doesn't kill us just leaves us tired, stressed, and struggling to keep up.
So let's put an end to the hustle culture and instead focus on working smarter, not harder. Taking the time to rest and recharge can actually improve productivity in the long run. So go ahead, take that lunch break, go for a walk, take a nap. Your productivity (and sanity) will thank you for it.
This Meeting Cannot Be an Email
Why do our calendars look more like puzzles than planners?
Picture this: You wake up at the crack of dawn, grab your coffee, and start your day strong...with a meeting. And then another. And another. And before you know it, it's 5 pm, you've skipped your lunch, and you still have a pile of work to do. Congratulations, you attended all your meetings! But at what cost?
Meetings eat up your precious time, interrupt your workflow, and often leave you with more questions than answers🤐Agreeing to attend every single meeting means overusing an open-door policy and being too available (sadly, for distractions and decreased productivity included).
Plus, let's be real, half the time you're just staring blankly at your screen, pretending to pay attention while mentally writing your to-do list for the day.
Ignore what works for others and create a system that even though makes no sense at all, can be proudly called customized. This often includes aimless prioritizing, doing everything yourself, and being critical to the point of analysis paralysis.
Oh, and the idea of self-imposed tight deadlines for motivation🤦🏽♀️ Because why bother setting realistic goals when you can just put yourself under an insane amount of pressure? It's like playing deadly Roulette – sure, sometimes you'll make it out alive, but other times... well, let's just say it won't be pretty.
Perpetual knowledge acquisition
And last but certainly not least, there is a constant demand for vast amounts of information (consumed under the pretense of staying ahead of the game).
Perpetual knowledge acquisition is like binge-watching your favorite TV show📺– it's addictive, and it even might make you feel like the smartest person in the room while in reality, you're heading to information overload.
Learning and investing in one's knowledge is essential, and you often tell yourself that you're expanding your horizons and becoming a better person. But, at the end of the day, the fundamental question remains: can you show tangible results of all this learning?
It's crucial to recognize that wisdom, which is the practical application of knowledge, is just as crucial as obtaining knowledge itself so you need to know when to stop chasing new information and start applying it.
It's easy to get caught up in the latest productivity hacks from gurus and self-help books. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to efficiency.
Why sacrifice common sense in pursuit of productivity? Instead, let's focus on the intersection of challenge and curiosity to find innovative solutions.
Bidding adieu to needlessly accepting mundane manual work and maintaining email territories pristine should be met with applause but it is advisable to avoid shortcuts that promise quick fixes and instead embrace proven solutions that are sustainable in the long run.