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7 Mistakes People Make Under the Umbrella of Productivity

Multitasking

Ringing phones, text messages, reminders, pop-ups, social media, email.

There’re countless studies demonstrating that multitasking will hinder your work both in terms of quality and quantity. 

Resist the temptation to get in the loop and do one thing at a time.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

7 Mistakes People Make Under the Umbrella of Productivity

7 Mistakes People Make Under the Umbrella of Productivity

https://www.dumblittleman.com/productivity-mistakes/

dumblittleman.com

7

Key Ideas

Not saying No

First, say yes to your core values, then say no to the situation. Finally, say yes to the relationship.

A not-to-do list or some predefined phrases will help you to say no in unexpected situations. 

Not respecting your calendar

Treat the meeting with yourself as it was a meeting with a third party. It’s only you who can act on your most important tasks with priority.

Make sure that you set up boundaries for yourself and for other people. Remember to communicate with them clearly.

Such a boundary can be that you leave your office at a certain time each day because your family is your priority. It doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t work later in periods of high workload.

Multitasking

Ringing phones, text messages, reminders, pop-ups, social media, email.

There’re countless studies demonstrating that multitasking will hinder your work both in terms of quality and quantity. 

Resist the temptation to get in the loop and do one thing at a time.

Picking up multiple habits simultaneously

Cementing a new habit takes time and discipline.

Integrate a single habit at a time. That way, you are more likely to establish it and, once cemented, you could consider picking up the next habit.

Skipping & switching

Skipping exercise, planning time, me-time or the weekly review comes to us naturally. They seem inferior amid the chaos of everyday life. 

Switching back and forth between different task managers and apps is part of the learning curve, but should not be for too long. 

Overplanning

Planning is a very important part of the process. However, if you won’t take action, it’s going to be worthless.

Set up boundaries for yourself to ensure that you won’t spend too much time on planning and designing. You won’t consider more than, say, three options, and you won’t postpone your project launch just because it’s not perfect yet.

Exaggerating the importance of productivity

When you begin to apply productivity to your life and work, it can be seductive. It’s kind of an addiction that can cause more harm than good if you don’t keep it under control.

Don’t take productivity advice so seriously. Give it a go, experiment, and find out whether it works or not. If not, reject the idea or customize.

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Working Harder isn’t the Answer

We do it because it's the most visible form of productivity.

It is a way to prove to others that you are doing stuff and checking things off the list.

The Dose-Response Theory

Hard work is necessary in order to be productive, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

At some point, you start to be negatively productive.

Prioritize Tasks by Energy Level

It means scheduling your time according to your natural rhythms:

  • Do your most important work at the beginning of the day if you are a morning person.
  • Don't feel bad about sleeping in because you stayed up late at night to work if you are a night owl.

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Avoiding Distracting Websites

There are many tools available that help you block out the rest of the internet while you work, but you can easily r...

Reward Yourself

If you’re studying towards getting a scholarship, you may decide to reward yourself by stopping work for a day or so. This kind of reward can slow your progress and reduce your momentum. 

Instead, pick a reward that does not affect your work. For example, once you’ve reached your goal, have dinner at your favorite restaurant with a friend.   

Not Being Realistic

 There are limits to your personal productivity. You may have health issues. You have unique demands on your time. 

The best way to be productive is to work around these issues. Find out what works for you.

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Treating cheating as a reward

If someone treats themselves to a dress after a week of saving, this undermines the achievement they have made. 

Try to view the act of you achieving your goals as...

Planning unnecessary meetings

Unnecessary meetings can severely deplete productivity out of someone’s working day. 

Instead of arranging a meeting, see if you can speak with the person in another way. Skype, texting, emailing and phone calls are all efficient ways to communicate on important matters, while still focusing on your own projects.

Multitasking

Research has discovered that most people become less efficient while attempting to multitask.

Try concentrating on one task at a time for great, productive results.

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Writing The List In The Morning

Although it might feel natural to create your to-do list first thing in the morning, it's too late.
Writing the list at the end of the day allows you to leave work behind and tra...

Including Too Many Tasks

Ideally, create a ‘top three’ tasks at the beginning of your to-do list. 

Long lists are a problem because most people aren’t aware that “we only have about three to six good hours of work in us each day.”

People also tend to underestimate how long a task takes. 

Including Someday Items

Aspirational tasks, like writing a book, don’t belong on a to-do list; instead, create a separate bucket list. 

Daily to-do lists should be focused. If you have a big project you want to complete, you can put it on your to-do list if you chunk it out into smaller, more attainable tasks.

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Multitasking

Those that do multitask the most are the worst at it.

Productivity is defined as, “having the power to produce.” By that definition, multitasking is the opposite of productivity becau...

Not Getting Enough Rest

  • When we get tired, we make mistakes, which means more time and money must be put into correcting those mistakes. 
  • When we get tired, it takes us longer to do things, costing more time and money to do something that could get done in less time if we were fully awake. 

Doing Everything Yourself

Either one of two problems: you don’t like delegating tasks, or you’re having trouble prioritizing which tasks deserve your time. 

Figure out which tasks deserve your time the most (or those tasks that you do best), and outsource something that’s of low priority. 

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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Patterns in successful people

Wherever they excel, they tend to have personal rules that they take very seriously:

  • Financially effective people tend to hold themselves to certain rules about money.
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Setting standards

Your quality of life improves when you set clear standards for how you live. 

You gravitate back towards “so-so” in any area where your standards are unclear. 

Dismissing self-discipline
This notion that personal rules constitute “forcing yourself” is just a way of dismissing self-discipline as a possibility, for oneself or others. 

For example: brushing your teeth every day doesn’t require any sort of forcing or obsessing, just dental hygiene standards you consider non-negotiable.

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Feeling less productive

Many people feel unable to find time in the day to do their most important work. Re...

Drains and Incompletions
  • Drains are the tasks you have to do (commuting, personal admin, email correspondence, meetings, calls). These tasks drain your time and energy that you want to spend on priority work.
  • Incompletions are the items on your to-do list that you have not yet completed. They are related to work and personal items (responding to a simple email, or it can be a dream you keep putting off).
Identify drains and incompletions

If you are spending your time, energy, and attention on tasks that don't support your overall goal or priorities, it's time to re-evaluate.

  • Set aside 20 minutes on your calendar and minimize distractions.
  • List all of your drains and incompletions. Write every last item you can think of, including the light bulb that needs replacing, and the conversation you need to have with a co-worker.

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Focus on Systems Instead of Goals
Focus on Systems Instead of Goals

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Leverage the Compound Effect

When you focus on developing systems and work every day, your work compounds over time, developing exponential growth. 

The more advantages you create, the more your next advantages pay off. A 1% gain every day compounds to almost 38x increase over a year.

Measure Output, Not Input

Systems are the best way to progress since they reward effort and we control all the variables. However, we need to have a sense of direction in those efforts, to know what we are trying to accomplish

Writing daily with no objective is just practice. If you want to achieve something, you need to commit to a certain output, like publishing a post on your blog weekly. At the end of the day, a system is a way to control how to achieve an output.

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Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

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Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, which is our more relaxed, daydreamy mode when we’re not thinking so hard.

The mind solves its stickiest problems while daydreaming—something you may have experienced while driving or taking a shower.

Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. 

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