Productivity is a central issue in the life of every worker. As we strive to get more things done in shorter time periods, many of us may fall victim to some of the common productivity myths, many of which can actually negatively impact our work. To put these misconceptions to rest, we’ve compiled a list of 7 of the most common myths to help you make sure you’re really getting the most out of your day.
8 hours of sleep is a must
Having at least 8 hours of solid sleep is supposed to make our bodies prepared for the daily rush. The truth is, the amount of sleep required for optimal functioning depends on individual needs – and these change as well!
Depending on the season, our mood or the previous day, we might need more or less sleep to be productive the next day. The 8-hour sleep rule is simply a myth. Sleep is something that cannot be bent to the uniform rules of productivity.
The power of multitasking
Until recently, multitasking was considered a top productivity hack. However, recent research reveals that multitasking actually slows us down, increasing our potential for error. But that’s not all. Multitasking was also found to generate much more stress in workers.
This study demonstrated that people who tend to multitask were less likely to retain information, experienced attention problems and found it difficult to switch from task to task in comparison to people who preferred to focus on one task at a time.
We’re only productive in offices
In today’s professional culture, this is simply not true. Lots of studies have shown how working from home or public spaces, such as cafes, increases productivity. Essentially it’s a matter of preferences – while some love to work outside the office, others find it difficult to focus when surrounded by people who aren’t working.
Disconnect and you’ll become more productive
Some people say that the web is bad for our productivity because it floods our minds with useless information. In fact, ever since the internet has become a significant part of our lives, we began to consciously choose the knowledge we want to remember.
This is backed up by research. In 2011, Science magazine published a study which demonstrated that today, some people simply prefer to research information instead of memorizing it.
A clean workspace does wonders for productivity
A clean and organized space is something people think powers productivity. It all comes down to individual preferences again. This study showed that lack of order might help some workers to be more efficient and creative, aiding in their decision-making process. In short, organization is relative and depends on individual needs, rather than preconceived standards of order.
Day-dreaming harms productivity
We all like to stay busy and seldom have time to spare for boredom or day-dreaming. In fact, all of these are essential to our mental health and help us organize the information acquired during the day. They recharge our brains and power our productivity. Have a look at this study to see that these moments of idleness can actually help us focus.
More time = more work done
This is a classic productivity myth that impacts the international job market. If you believe that by working longer hours, you’ll get more things done, think twice – it has actually been proven to lower productivity, lead to errors and generate stress.
A breakthrough study examining the issue was published by The Economist in 2013. The magazine compiled data from 1990 until 2012 in OECD countries, showing once and for all that long working hours does not equate to higher productivity.
With these popular productivity myths busted, you’ll be able to avoid losing time applying them at your work and focus on what really matters – your individual preferences.
Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, a website providing a simple way to find and sign up for online short courses from Australia’s top providers. Main areas of her interest are the social media and the use of new technologies in everyday life.