We've read about it, we know how to go about it, and more often than not, we actually live it on a day-to-day basis—being productive is essential to achieving more in life, and we've got some hacks up our sleeves to attain our highest capacity of productiveness.
But did you know that most of the common productivity hacks and tips out there are actually full of lies? Yes. Most of them don't work. Let me show you a few, explain why they don't work, and what you should do instead.
1. "Do the MIT (Most Important Task) first on your To-Do list."
For the longest time, productivity advice has taught us to focus on our MIT when we start our day. And yet, when we look at our list, it makes us want to do anything, but that task.
What you should do, however, is to give in the urge of not doing that task at all. So, instead of doing the hardest one on your list, start of with the easier ones that are quick to tackle. By doing so, you're able to cross out more on your list and be able to do the MIT much more easily.
The term that best describes this is to procrastinate with structure. Go ahead, procrastinate your heart away.
2. "Don't multitask."
Did you know that stress can actually push you to become more productive? You've probably experienced, at least once in your life, juggling two tasks and getting it done in just a short period of time.
Multi-tasking is OK, but you have to be selective of what you're multi-tasking about. For instance, commuting while listening to a podcastis a good productivity hack because the tasks compliment each other. Alternatively, talking on the phone while answering an email is not, unless you can split your attention span into two, then that might be OK.
3. "Don't check on your email first thing in the morning."
This is an interesting productivity advice because a lot of people agree that checking your inbox in the morning could result into your mind becoming all disrupted to focusing on what's important. You know, when you want to check your email for just 15 minutes, and the next thing you know it's been and hour and you're already running late for work.
But did you know that CEOs like Tim Cook of Apple, and Robert Iger of Disney start their day checking emails? They say it makes them communicate better with their team and get more things done.
So, it's fine to check on emails in the morning and get your mind prepped up for the day ahead, but what's not good is to linger on them. As much as possible, just scan through everything, respond on emails that won't take more than a minute of your time, and reply to the more complex ones when you arrive in the office.
4. "Don't plug into social media while at work."
Two recent studies conducted by a Warwick Business School professor and Evolv found out that occasionally checking into social media apps and networks made employees more productive at work. The result of this study shows a boost in employee metrics like productivity and retention.
In other words, if employees can access Facebook and Twitter at work, a small amount of time may be lost or wasted, but the overall effect on productivity provides more gains than losses. The reason is probably because today's employees are more tech-savvy and have thought more about what drives them to be productive.
Remember though, balance is key. If you play hard, you've got to work harder.