Could common tips to boost your productivity actually be making you less productive? We all wish we could get more done, so productivity has become one of the most popular topics of discussion on the Internet. But some of the common wisdom about working may actually be leading you astray.

With a little help from science and common sense, you can learn to weed out the facts from fiction and figure out which productivity tips really work for you.

As with anything, your individual strengths and habits will greatly influence how much you benefit from a particular work strategy, but sometimes the common wisdom about work simply doesn’t hold up.

Here are 5 productivity “tips” we think you can skip.


Myth 1: With More Hours Comes More Work

Don’t you just wish you had an extra hour or two every day? Think hard. Even if you did, would you spend it working?

In reality, the more you work, the less quality work you actually accomplish. Working longer hours in the pursuit of working more is only going to make you cranky, unhealthy, and cause the quality of your work to suffer.

Instead, take more breaks to get more work done. It’s as simple as that. Avoid over-stuffing your work week, as well. Try to hit the sweet 30-hour mark and balance your professional life with a healthy social life after hours.



Myth 2: Multitasking Is a Must

Plenty of jobs indicate that you’re going to need to multitask to perform well, and many workers pride themselves on their ability to tackle multiple projects at once. But recent studies have shown that multitasking isn’t good for getting stuff done, at all. It actually slows you down and may make you more likely to mess up.

Instead, it’s better to focus on what you’re doing. Often, our attention can get pulled away from the task at hand, so flexibility is key. Instead of multitasking, be prepared to switch back and forth between tasks at a given moment.


Myth 3: Procrastination Is Terrible

Go easy on yourself and give yourself a little bit of time to procrastinate each day. Your brain needs time to relax and recharge, which is integral when it comes to being creative and producing higher quality work.

You may want to actually schedule some moments when you’ll put things off and let your mind wander. We don’t really function at our best levels for super long periods of time, so a little procrastination throughout the day is actually good for your brain.

A color photo of a young man sleeping at his very messy work desk.

Give yourself time to rest and recharge throughout the day. Also, don’t force yourself to clean your workspace if that’s not your style.

Myth 4: Keep It Clean, All the Time!

If you’ve ever been told that you can’t stay productive without a clean workspace, you’ve been told a lie. This is completely and totally a matter of personal preference.

For some people, it’s tough to concentrate with a messy workstation. If that’s the case, make sure that you’re giving yourself a place where you can work comfortably by tidying up and organizing.

For others, the visual stimuli of a cluttered desk can be good for creativity. Figure out what works best for you and don’t both spot-cleaning your workspace if it’s not what you actually need.


Myth 5: Busywork Is the Best

Productivity isn’t about getting the most stuff done; it’s about getting the best stuff done. Don’t worry about mindless tasks that make you “seem busy.” Get the most important stuff out of the way first.

Your willpower is a finite thing, so make sure that you use it on your most important tasks. Track your work habits and figure out when you have the most energy — are you an early bird or more of a night owl? — and devote this time to the big projects.


What Are Your Productivity Tips?

Do you have any great productivity tips or lifehacks for us? Share in the comments below!


See Also

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