Efficiency vs. productivity
Efficiency and productivity are not the same, although they are often used as synonyms. If the same results are achieved with fewer resources, production is efficient. However, if more is produced with the same resources, this is an increase in productivity.
Old behavior patterns slow us down
Hardly any article on tips for increasing productivity discusses the work structures that are often the reason for lack of productivity. However, it is the deeply rooted work structures that cannot be changed overnight but are crucial for better results. They have long become a habit and can only be changed with great effort. According to Charles Duhigg (2014), it is above all our habits that determine our lives. In his book "The Power of Habits" he explains that most of our decisions are made unconsciously.
Using the power of habits for yourself
Despite this rather deterministic view, there is still hope, because habits can be changed. A change should begin by recognizing bad habits and identifying their triggers. Once found, one can consider alternative, more productive behavior patterns that can be intuitively executed in such a situation. This strategy is not only for individual help, but can also be useful for companies. Because also in the enterprise habits determine the work everyday life. If unproductive work processes have been identified, they can also be exchanged for more productive alternatives. The Harvard Business Review addresses a similar issue, claiming that executives need to recognize that their employees often want to be more productive, but are hampered by corporate structures. For many, it is especially the weekly meetings that rob them of time for other tasks. Meetings should be well structured to prevent employees from being locked up in conference rooms all day long.
The Productivity Trap
A productivity trap arises when more attention is wasted on increasing the productivity of an individual rather than looking at basic work structures. It is particularly cumbersome to increase the productivity of things that are best done away with altogether. To avoid the trap, you should always look at the big picture. Lack of productivity cannot ultimately be due to a single person or group of people. In such a situation, the structural problems that reduce their productivity should be found. Solving such structural problems will ultimately have a greater impact on your overall productivity.
Changing habits sustainably
Therefore, do not expect your company or your individual habits to change in just one day. These habits have developed over months and will not change in a few days. Instead of following the flood of blog articles that explain how to become a better multitasker, you should try to become a professional monotasker. Scientists have found that multitasking is cognitively impossible for humans. So try to focus on one task. The better you can focus on that one task, the more likely you are to get it done quickly. Putting away distractions such as the phone or working at regular intervals can also help. And that's how you master the art of productivity.
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