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How Busyness Can Hinder Productivity

ProductivityIn our technologically advanced society, it’s become increasingly easy to stay at work even when we come home. This isn’t an especially healthy cultural trend, but it’s become the norm for a lot of people and in some ways has become a badge of honor. We tend think that staying busy means that we’re being extra productive or that we’re being more valuable to our company by working so hard. In actuality, when you don’t allow yourself any breathing room your productivity will inevitably fall short.

But won’t I be able to get more done if I’m always working?

Initially, sure, you might be able to get a whole lot done by working yourself to sleep. However, overtime this is going to lead to productivity issues because it’s just not a sustainable work-life balance. Your body and mind are designed to have rest and down time. When you don’t give the body what it needs, it will begin to implode. It may not happen right away but eventually it will happen.

Additionally, when you try to take on more projects than you can handle, you’re bombarded by conflicting deadlines, emails, phone calls and follow ups which leads to the need for constant multitasking. Sure, everyone has the occasional need to multitask, but it’s really not optimal for your productivity success. It will always lead to unwanted interruptions which is yet another killer of productivity.

Multitasking and the Brain

A recent study that was published by David Meyer of the University of Michigan signified that when you stop what your doing mid-task to attend to another item on your to-do list, it will take you 25% longer to complete both tasks than if you had completed one then attended to the other. Meyer said, “Multitasking is going to slow you down, increasing the chances of mistakes. Disruptions and interruptions are a bad deal from the standpoint of our ability to process information.”

Aside of the interruption issue, our brains are not optimally functional when we attempt to do concentrate on more than one thing at a time. The human brain simply lacks the capacity to complete both tasks to its fullness potential. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the best way to increase productivity is actually to slow down and organize your schedule in a way that allows you to focus on one thing at a time. We’re bombarded by multitasking on a daily basis and slowing things down must be intentional otherwise we’ll continue to be overtaken by the draw of busyness.