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Don’t Believe These 10 Productivity Myths When Starting Your Day

Productivity “hacks” have proliferated in the digital age. They’re essentially principles and actions that purport to help jump start your day and keep it on track. Unfortunately, many them are actually myths, actions that work for some personality types or individuals but that don’t have a strong inherent value for everyone. These myths can be harmful if they are incompatible with your work style or your thinking style, and it’s helpful to know when you see them so you can dismiss them.

The big three that the most people seem to believe are also the simplest. Early risers are more productive. Procrastination is bad. Stress decreases productivity. They all seem, on their faces, to be common sense. The fact is, as many workers have discovered, they just don’t work. There are people who naturally perform better with a certain amount of stress and pressure, and for them, the key is to plan situations that challenge themselves enough to rise to the occasion without being overwhelming. Similarly, some people do better when they wait until the procrastination creates that urgency, and some just plain work better at odd hours.

The next three are based around system-building and process management. People assume systems are rigid, or else that they don’t have time for them. They also assume that “organized” is the same as “clean.” The fact is, there are some people who are capable of keeping a hygienic workspace that looks chaotic and unorganized to another person. And systems, when implemented properly, are flexible ways to have a basic plan that allows you to get into a rhythm productivity-wise that will allow you to save your problem-solving brain for uncommon situations.

The next three myths tend to be ones that people tell themselves when resisting system-building, and that is that systems need to be boring and stifle creativity, that there are some people systems just can’t fix, and that they need inspiration to work. The fact is, systems are what you make them. Building one that moves with you is essential to getting the most out of your work, and there is a way to organize every worker. Some people don’t need material organization as long as their time management is handled. Others organize themselves mentally and don’t create a paper trail. Still, effective entrepreneurs and workers alike create systems to help manage daily tasks.

The last myth is the most commonly believed, and that is the one that says there are productivity tips you can just follow to do better, like magic. The fact is, every worker is different, and every one will need to find their own way to get organized.

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