We’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the trap of implementing productivity “hacks” we learn from others, but realize that it actually harmed our results instead of helped them. We like to think that if we lean into the “buzz words” that get tossed around about trying to be more productive, that it will somehow be different for us.
Well, babe. These productivity myths are all BS. Whether we hear them from the latest book, magazine article or “that one guy” at the office, they are all old and outdated and they don’t work. Period.
Today, we’re going to break down the five myths we think are the most detrimental to your productivity and give you steps for you to turn them around. First, let’s lay out all the myths.
- Tackling the biggest item first
- Trying to power through
- Being “busy”
- Learning, but not taking action
Now, let’s break them down one-by-one as to why they suck and what we can do to change them.
We think this is our favorite. And by “favorite” we mean we roll our eyes the hardest when this one gets suggested as an actual viable option to being more productive. Listen, most of us are ladies here. And as ladies we are the Queens of multi-tasking. We can keep up with a group text conversation, watch the latest episode of Empire, and steam our blazers all at the same time. So we think that we can take that multitasking behavior and use it in our business.
The problem is when it comes to multitasking in our personal life we don’t really need to give 100% of our attention to the tasks. Some things will not get computed in our brain, some things won’t be remembered the next day and we may end up steaming the same side of our favorite blazer a few extra times. Nothing is going to go to shit because of that divided attention.
But it will in your business. You literally cannot (it’s math y’all) give 100% of your attention to more than one thing. If you are multitasking in your business then at least more than one thing (depending on how many tasks you’re trying to get done at the same time) is going to suffer.
Try this instead. We recommend batching if you truly want to “multitask”. You still aren’t really multitasking, but when you group like tasks together you can work on more than one “project” at the same time. For instance, batch taking photos for your blog, writing subject lines for your emails, or emailing back clients.
TACKLING THE BIGGEST ITEM FIRST
We like to think that if we get the biggest thing knocked out for the day then we will feel superpowered to go through the rest of our tasks. Bananas. First of all, the biggest task often takes the most energy and leaves us feeling exhausted and ready for a break once it’s done. But, the biggest task most likely won’t actually get done in one day (probably because it’s the biggest) so we then don’t end up getting anything else done because the big task isn’t complete yet. Ugh, makes no sense, right?
So then we end up working on the biggest task only for multiple days or weeks in a row and we’re flabbergasted when nothing else is getting done. Silly bosses.
Try this instead. We recommend using the snowball effect. Knock out a bunch of tiny tasks right off the bat. If you start your day with 8 things and you’re able to knock off 5 of those at the very beginning or one right after another, you’re going to feel mega powered to keep going. We also recommend breaking that “big task” into smaller chunks if you haven’t already. Chances are you’re trying to tackle too many things already, so break it down. Then snowball those tinier tasks to see progress and pat yourself on the back.
TRYING TO POWER THROUGH
This, we think, is the number one myth that we all do (us included). Whether you’re trying to power through lunch, a sick day, or late at night, or when your creativity has shut off, it sucks. It leads to mediocre results that you most likely have to end up redoing anyways.
We tell ourselves that if we “just get one more thing done” we can stop. That always leads to “one more thing” and “one more thing” to get done. It never, ever ends. You don’t have to be a robot and work through lunch or at 2:00 a.m.
Try this instead. We recommend giving yourself some grace, setting alarms for lunch and when you want to stop for the day. We know that a lot of you are working on your creative passions after your day job, but you need limits too. We know a creative who works a 9-5 and comes home to work in the studio. Once she realized she was staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. in the studio she had to set some limits. She has an alarm on her phone now that goes off around 10:00 p.m. that reminds her to go to bed. It helps her get out of the zone for a bit and take notice of how long she’s been working.
Oh, this is a good one. The “I’m sooooooo busy” myth. We hear from our neighbor, our co-worker, our barista, and that one girl on Instagram that they are just “so busy!”. So we think we need to be constantly doing something. We think that if someone has 1,000 tasks to do everyday that they must be more productive than we are. It’s a flat out lie.
Yes, there are busy seasons. We’re just wrapping one up now. There will be times when your schedule is more bananas than you’d like. Recognizing that this is temporary is key. Being intentional about getting out of it is important.
We also like to kind of beat ourselves up when we don’t feel busy. Here’s a spoiler alert: the more organized and productive you are the less you will feel “busy”, but the more you will actually be getting done. If you have free time in your schedule because you intentionally organize your day to get a lot done that’s okay. Keep it free. Give yourself some white space.
Try this instead. We recommend checking out our program Trello for Business. If you feel overwhelmed with your to-do’s and you’re not sure how to actually plan your month, week and day-to-day tasks to see progress then you’d love it. It’s been the thing that helps us get more done, but not working more. Win, win.
LEARNING WITHOUT THE ACTION
No matter where you are in your business you feel like there’s something you need to learn that will make your life better. We get it. We’ve fallen victim to course overload too. Here’s the mistake: if you’re buying, buying, buying, but not taking action there’s a problem. We like to look at everything that’s out there as the solution to our current issue. We think that next purchase will be the answer to our problems.
It can only be the answer if you have time to soak it in, babe.
Try this instead. We recommend that with every purchase make sure you have time in your schedule to not only go through the program, but to turn around and actually implement the things it taught you. We also think you should truly gut check yourself and ask if what’s taught inside that thing you want to buy is inline with your end goals. Will it actually help you reach something that’s on your list or is it fluff?
The bottom line of all of this is for you to get out of your head when it comes to how you think you can be more productive. Just because the hype is around one method doesn’t mean it will work for you (and that’s okay). It also doesn’t mean you’re broken. Take these suggestions and rework a few of your day-to-days and see what changes flourish!