If you have ambitions for yourself, your business, or the organization your work for, then you surely give a lot of attention to your productivity level.
You’re probably subscribed to social media personalities who preach about hustling and grinding and achieving every day. This type of motivation is generally a good thing, but if you don’t know the difference between being productive and just being busy, then you might be on a dangerous path.
In this article, we’ll talk about some productivity hacks that are actually more disadvantageous than beneficial. Some of these might seem great at the start, but, as we will later find out, they aren’t sustainable in the long run.
1. Work on multiple projects all at the same time.
Companies generally like someone who can get a lot of things done in a short amount of time. The pressure to show proactiveness and initiative lead many of us to take on tasks that are too much to handle. And when they do get handled, we become proud of what we’re capable of—despite the amount of stress the tasks took.
But, as written by Patrick Skerrett, former executive director of Harvard Health, multitasking could actually be a “medical and mental hazard.” It might be great for finishing several tasks within a given period, but it also increases the risks of errors. Besides that, some health professionals say that people who multitask struggle to keep important information in their memory, affecting their cognitive skills and work performance later on.
While it’s understandable why many people feel the necessity to multitask, there is a better alternative. You can still work on several things within a given day, but it’s advisable to give dedicated minutes or hours for each instead of working on everything all at once.
2. Wait until inspiration strikes.
On the opposite end of doing too many things is doing absolutely nothing until the feeling or inspiration arrives. For creatives, inspiration is a huge thing—it spurs us into action, and that action feels effortless most of the time because we’re inspired and ideas are flowing freely and beautifully without having to be summoned.
While it’s truly a wonderful thing to work with inspiration, inspiration often has to be triggered. By what? By starting the work even if you don’t feel like it.
Most of the time, waiting for inspiration is just an excuse for procrastination. If you want to get things done, don’t wait to feel good about starting. Start now and observe how the feeling slowly comes as you take action.
3. Keep your Insta open for a creative boost.
We all need a dose of creative boost every once in a while. And what’s an easier way to get that than through Instagram? Instagram is a great platform for finding content that could serve as inspo for your work. Simply type in a relevant keyword or hashtag in the search bar, hit enter, and you’ll see loads of photos oozing with creative energy.
If you’re in the middle of a task and you feel like you’re running out of creative juices, then it might be a great idea to spend a few minutes browsing for inspiring content. However, you have to be mindful of the dangers of excessive scrolling. Exercise discipline as you scroll, and stop as soon as you’ve found what you need.
If you’re aware that social media is a big distraction for you, limit the time you spend on it. Be specific with the limit—for example, just ten minutes every four hours—and then do your best to stick with it.
4. Sacrifice sleep to get more things done.
Productivity culture has a great way of inspiring people to work, work, and work—leaving almost no space for rest. While working excessive hours once or several times a week could feel manageable, health professionals say that sacrificing rest is actually counterproductive.
In an article by Harvard Medical Professor Charles A. Czeisler, the author discussed how sleep deprivation makes people perform at a much lower level than when they are rested. This contradicts what many hustlers think about sacrificing sleep for work. Plus, when you think of the health dangers of loss of sleep—memory loss, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among others—it’s easy to see that balancing work and rest is a must if you want to stay healthy.
5. Wait until you have a great workstation to do great work.
It’s common knowledge that the work environment is a huge factor for productivity. Some people like a squeaky clean space, others do well with a messy table, some like having background music, others hate any type of noise—the list can go on and on.
A great workstation looks different for different people, but a common mistake is using one’s workstation preference as an excuse to not do what should be done. Yes, it’s mentally healthy and fulfilling to work in a workstation that fits your style, but if that’s not achievable at the time, then you will have to make do with what’s available.
If you can afford to get the right furniture and equipment that you need, great. If not, use the best option available and save up so you can soon get the things you need or want.
Staying productive healthily and sustainably is possible, but you’ll have to be quick to identify which productivity hacks do more harm than good. If you identified doing any of those listed above, it might be time to rethink your work habits and start healthier routines.
If you’ve been waiting for a go-signal, this is it. Start today and see the benefits for yourself.