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How to Spot and Overcome the Sneaky Illusions of Productivity

Ever felt like you’ve been playing a game of “Musical Meetings”? You know, where the music of back-to-back meetings plays, and you dash from one conference room to the next, hoping not to miss a chair when the tune stops? Or maybe you’re on an endless Zoom conveyor belt? One meeting slides off, and the next one is promptly delivered to your screen. It’s a bit like being at the airport baggage claim: you keep watching as different conversations come around, but you’re still waiting for that moment of clarity or closure. And before you know it, another session is already gearing up to start.

Then, it’s the end of the day, and you didn’t accomplish much, right?!

Let’s chat about the sneaky illusions of productivity that may be stealing your shine.

 

Lost in Email Wonderland

 

For many, the goal is “inbox zero.” But the truth? It’s a never-ending game. While email is an indispensable tool, over-dependence on it for team collaboration is a double-edged sword. Every time your device pings with a new message, it’s like a tiny magician making your focus disappear. And when you finally get back to work? Poof! Half the day’s gone. The constant influx of messages keeps you busy, but are you truly being productive? Think of it like baking cookies. Every email is like someone opening the oven door – your cookies take longer to bake, and sometimes they don’t turn out as you’d hoped!

  • Tip: Designate specific slots in your day for email checks, allowing uninterrupted focus on other tasks.

 

Meeting Mayhem

 

Remember that one meeting where someone brought donuts, but you all left thinking, “What was the point of that?” Meetings should be the playground for brilliant ideas, not a black hole where time disappears. An occasional chat over coffee is great, but hour-long meetings without clear objectives? That’s just a coffee break in disguise.

  • Tip: Embrace communication systems that keep everyone informed in real time. Reserve meetings for brainstorming and decision-making, and for everything else, rely on platforms that allow quick updates without the need to gather everyone in a room.

 

Hello, Distractions!

 

Picture this: You’re deep into a task, and then comes a tap on your shoulder or the “Quick question!” from a colleague. Feels like a tiny blip, but it’s kind of like pausing your favorite movie right at the climax. Getting back into the groove isn’t as simple as pressing “play”. And by the way, those YouTube cat videos? A black hole (but oh-so-adorable).

  • Tip: Create a dedicated focus time, maybe with headphones or a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign, signaling others that you’re in deep work mode.

 

Finally, it’s time for a Work Makeover.

 

Let’s shift the way we see work. It’s less about clocking in hours and more about creating magic during those hours. The goal? Less hustle, more achievements.

For anyone nodding along thinking, “Yep, that’s me”, remember: Awareness is the first step. Maybe start by having “email power hours” or suggesting fun, efficient stand-up meetings.

In a world where being swamped is oddly a badge of honor, let’s be the rebels. We all want our work hours to count. But sometimes, we’re busy without really making progress. It’s not just about how long we work but how effectively we use that time.

Every now and then, it’s good to pause and ask, “Am I truly moving forward, or just staying busy?” Such reflection can help us spot areas where we might be putting in effort without seeing real outcomes.

Because, at the end of the day, who wouldn’t want more time to spend on things that truly matter? Like working on a passion project, spending time with our kids, family, friends, you name it! The possibilities are endless when you start using your time wisely! 😉

Brittany Dixon & Co.

Hi, I'm Brittany!

Lover of charcuterie boards, wine, board games (I have over 85!), bougie cocktails, candy and basically all sweets. I cuss daily and use lots of gifs!)

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