Want to be productive? Stop thinking about productivity!

The mistakes we all make when it comes to getting things done.

Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, has dedicated his life to researching productivity — mainly through doing experiments on himself!

“I think the biggest mistake people make when they try to become more productive is they try to do more things, instead of the right things”, he advises on his popular blog ‘A Life of Productivity’.

People carry loads of stress with them, and usually worry a lot about not being able to do good at work. Top entrepreneurs and businessmen suggest concentrating on the task at hand and not worry about finishing all the tasks.

So, what are some of the mistakes you could be making right now that are actually making you less productive? Ask yourself these questions to know if you’re really being productive:

Do you think you’re being productive if you work for long hours?

The average work day is set at 7.5 hours for a reason, yet many of us think we can ignore this and work all hours — day or night. There’s a huge misconception that by working long hours, you’re being more productive.

Research has confirmed something that’s pretty much common sense — our brains aren’t designed to work intensely for eight hours straight (or more). We get tired and we burn out, and our productivity goes out the window.

You’re much better off working shorter, more structured work hours with a clear focus planned in for each part of your day.

Need help structuring your day? Try these simple techniques.

Do you make a lot of to-do lists? Sometimes more than you can keep a track of?

To-do lists are great — when used in the right way. The trouble is most people create a to-do list with a gazillion tasks on it, and then feel like they have to get them all completed.

No structure, no prioritizing, and very low productivity.

You need to create a priority list before you start with a to-do list. Mark tasks by what needs to get done first and create realistic deadlines. The Eisenhower Matrix is a simple method to set your priorities and eliminate unimportant tasks.

The Eisenhower Matrix
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” — D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of USA.

Utilizing project collaboration apps is a great way to help plan out tasks and communicate with your team about what needs doing, by who, and when.

Do you try completing all your tasks in one day?

The Pareto Principle says that 80% of your work produces only 20% of your results BUT you can flip this over and generate 80% of results by picking up the right tasks.

On a daily basis, most people ignore this and instead just try to get as much done as possible in one day. You need to work smarter. This is also where a priority list will help you.

I cannot imagine planning my day without Flock’s To-Dos. I decide what I really need to get done in a day (not more than 5–6 tasks), create to-dos, ace the task, and strike it off once completed.

Do you work at one go, without breaks?

Another mistake many people make is they think being busy is the same as being productive. They skip breaks and think that by working flat out, they’ll be more productive.

Not only is this not true, but skipping breaks in the workday is detrimental to your health and well-being. Research has proved that taking breaks at work boosts your productivity, motivation, and ability to perform to your full potential.

“At some point, employees need to stop working to recharge their batteries, so to speak. Short breaks during the work day can actually boost mental resources such as attention, ensuring good performance”, says Larissa Barber.

Fun activities to do during your break!

Is finishing a task the end of it for you?

To become a master of productivity you need to understand what mistakes you’re making, and address them. Conduct a review at the end of each week to determine your work output versus time. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What lesson did I learn this week?
  • What did I do differently that saved me time?
  • What did I do with that extra time?

These apps help track time spent on each task.

Now that your understanding of productivity has changed, let us know what you do to stay at the top of your game in the comments below. :)


Authored by Nikita Pandit who remembers to enjoy every task because it’s all about the journey, isn’t it? Also, a content marketer at Flock.