Productivity Trends I Disagree With

by Productivity

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Do you feel you can't keep up with all the recommendations or that you're somehow failing because you're not a master of efficiency? Don't fret. Here are three productivity trends I disagree with.

4am alarm

4:00 am Alarms

The trend of bragging about your 4 am wake-up in a way that insinuates people who sleep until 6, 7, or (gasp) 8 am, are losers is tired (pun intended).

I'm an early-morning person. I naturally get up between 4:45 and 6:30. I'm what Dr. Michael Breus of the Power of When* calls a Lion (LOVE THIS BOOK). Lions are the super-early morning people who couldn't sleep in if their life depended on it. I can go watch my husband rock out on a Saturday night, get in bed at 1 am, and still wake up at 6. I can't help myself, and then I drag my ass all day.

Most of the world is made up of what he calls bears. This is why breakfast is between 7-8, work starts between 8-9, lunch is at noon, dinner is between 6-7, bedtime is around 10. The majority of people are set up this way.

People are different in their chronobiology and their creative and productive times. We need people waking up and going to bed at different hours to cover all the work required to keep us safe and provide specific services. 

If you're getting up at 4 am and snapping a photo of your watch, but jacking yourself up on coffee all day to do it, then you're going to pay for it one way or another. Studies show short-sleepers, or people who sleep less than six hours a night consistently, have higher high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack rates. The number of people who honestly can sleep only 4-6 hours a night is small. Most people think that's natural for them, but they've just gotten used to how it feels.

inbox-zero

Inbox Zero 

WHAT??? Yes, this is something else that is wrong about what is productive. Now, admittedly, I have articles about inbox zero and helping people get to inbox zero. I, for one, hit it every day, but I don't think it is for everyone. With our private coaching clients, we're not setting inbox zero as a goal for all of them. For some roles, it would mean they're spending their time in the inbox instead of working in their line of genius. I don't want my CEOs to be reactive to their inbox when they could be spending that time creating, designing, and building a strategy for their business. It's more about having a manageable inbox (and if you want a personalized approach, hit us up at Rader Co. – Email Action Plan and set up a session).

Instant Message All The Time

Lastly, companies or team cultures that think that instant messaging platforms like Slack or Teams make them more engaged and collaborative. These are two of the most distracting tools to have in place when everyone is expected to be on all the time. 

If you were in a physical office, would you get up and walk twenty steps to make that statement? Could you wait until your weekly 1:1 to ask your boss that question and keep it on a running agenda? Could you be unavailable at certain times (like reverse office hours), which may make people research and look for things themselves? In a study by Udemy, 3 of 4 workers, or 70%, admitted feeling distracted on the job. The problem was most prominent with Millennials and Gen Z. 

Instant message isn't helping. Set company policies where people can be offline and not expected to be reactive to notifications. And for the love of peace, love, and happiness, turn off your notifications…we know you're going to be in there anyway!

Those are three productivity trends I disagree with. What bugs you about the productivity industry? I'm asking my community in our annual survey. I'll be addressing these in season two of the Health-Powered Productivity podcast. When we coach at Rader Co., we help people schedule their work according to the most productive times and keep them from fighting the clock. We give tools and behavior recommendations to manage the inbox. If you're a leader, we guide you in creating a new culture of responsiveness versus reactivity.

Are you ready to make productivity and efficiency work for you? Let's Work Well together.

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects