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Many of us defend multitasking and insist it makes us more efficient. After all, why do one thing when you can get two, three, maybe even four things done? The multitasking truth may be hard to swallow, but accepting it is the first step to a more productive future.

In this quick Virtual Coaching Tip, Executive Coach Todd Mosetter shares the truth about multitasking and the alternative method that will make you more productive.

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When my son was younger, we used to play a game where we would set up three stacks of blocks and take turns trying to knock each other’s towers down. Sitting on opposite ends of the hallway, we would send a small, motorized toy car on a path toward destruction. The particular car we used was one where you pulled it back to wind the motor up before sending it on its mission. Initially, this part was a bit of a challenge for my son.

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When you look at your day, are you filled with a sense of dread over all the things you have to do?

In this quick Virtual Coaching Tip, Executive Coach Todd Mosetter shares one simple phrase you can start using immediately to improve your mindset and get everything on your list done.

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In this Virtual Coaching Tip, our founder and CEO Daniel Harkavy shares four essential tools to help you lead yourself – and ultimately your team and organization – better.

Learn about each of these tools and how they can help take you from where you are in life to where you want to be.

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With the amount of information, distractions, and change surrounding us today, staying productive and focused is harder than it’s ever been. But for the people and organizations that have been able to figure it out, it has quickly become a competitive advantage.

For the rest of us, it seems like a never-ending cycle of success and setbacks. There are days when I can conquer my to-do list with purpose and passion and days when I find myself in a constant state of reaction and overwhelm.

So, like many people, I’m always on the lookout for new tips, tricks, and hacks to help me be more productive. And while I’ve found some success in this area (turning off all my notifications has been huge for me), many of us still struggle to find long-term consistency because we believe some common myths about productivity—and they hold us back.

At Building Champions, we say beliefs always come before behaviors. So, rather than sharing a quick tip, let’s look at five false beliefs around productivity we’ve seen people struggle with (myself included).

Myth No. 1: It’s About Time Management

When many leaders begin to work with us, they often mention time management as one of their biggest struggles, and it is usually accompanied by a sense of overwhelm and always being behind. This belief is often rooted in the idea that the things they are doing are good—there just isn’t enough time to get all of them done.

When thinking about time management, we often want to focus on efficiency: How do I get better at what I’m doing? If you want to improve your productivity, we need to shift our focus to effectiveness: Am I even doing the right things?

We all have the same number of minutes in a year (525,600 to be exact). Rather than focusing on managing our time, we need to focus on managing our priorities, making sure we make room for our most important activities.

After all, productivity isn’t about getting more things done—it’s about consistently getting the right things done.

Myth No. 2: Being Busy is a Good Thing

If you ask a co-worker or friend how they are doing, you’ll often get a response that involves some level of busyness. In fact, many people today seem to wear the word busy as a badge of honor. This belief is often rooted in a sense of value. If I’m doing lots of things, constantly in motion, then my work must matter. And often the opposite holds true, If I don’t look busy, then people may begin to think I’m not working hard.

But too often we mistake motion (being busy) for action (behaviors that drive outcomes). Author James Clear refers to this as “the mistake smart people make.” Motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress—but often it’s busyness that keeps us from tackling the scary hard actions we need to take to achieve anything great. Legendary coach John Wooden once said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” Yet when we buy this lie, we often do.

 

Myth No. 3: Multitasking Makes Me More Effective

This myth is so pervasive that I fear many of us have come to believe it is true. It’s often rooted in a feeling that with so much going on the only way to get it all done is to do a couple of things at once. Plus, everyone else is doing it (and most proud of it) so it can’t be that bad, right?

But the truth is that researchers believe that only about two percent of humans are actually capable of multitasking. The rest of us are experiencing contextual switching—picking up and putting down different tasks at lightning speed so it almost feels seamless. But it’s not seamless—in fact, it requires a lot of resources.

In addition to making you less happy, researchers estimate that it reduces productivity by 40 percent and can lower your IQ by 10 points (the same effect as losing a night of sleep; two times the effect of smoking marijuana).

Myth No. 4: I Must Be Accessible at All Times

This myth is often rooted in a place of good intention—wanting to be a good teammate and serve others well. In a 24/7, digital, uber-connected world, sometimes we have the expectation that constant accessibility is a requirement. For some of us working more remotely, this burden can be exasperated and forces us to blend the boundaries between work and life in unhealthy ways.

But a side effect of always being accessible is that we often spend more time reacting to what’s going on around us, often serving at the whim of every interruption and email that comes our way. And these constant distractions come with a real cost.

According to a study by Microsoft, on average employees lose 25 minutes every time they immediately respond to an email notification—and never return to their original task more than 25 percent of the time.

Always reacting to someone else’s needs and priorities can also foster a pattern of passiveness—always waiting for the next interruption rather than being intentional with how you prioritize and invest your time.

Myth No. 5: Working More is the Answer

I have a long history of struggling with this one. For me, it is rooted in a feeling that I have too much to do in the time I have, so I’ll just find more time. We covered the first problem above—there is only so much time available. This leads us to the second and bigger problem—we often “find” time by investing more hours in our jobs at the expense of the other areas of our life.

This causes two main side effects. The first is in our personal well-being. The extra investment in our work usually comes with costs: skipping a workout, missing a family meal, allowing relationships to suffer. Self-leadership must always be a priority—we must be at our best in order to give our best to those around us, including our work.

The second side effect often goes unnoticed but carries an equally high cost—our creativity and productivity. We don’t often think of intellectual work as being as demanding as physical labor, but it requires a huge amount of resources and energy to maintain focus and produce quality ideas and insights. We’ve all experienced the effect of this: we can only work so long without a break before the quality of our work begins to suffer.

In a quest to get more done, the extra investment of time can actually harm our productivity and well-being. The old adage is true here: the key is to work smarter not harder.

I’ll share it again: beliefs always come before behaviors. I know those behaviors matter—ultimately, they will decide whether you succeed or fail, find new levels of productivity or fall further behind.

But if you don’t align your beliefs first, then consistently executing on those behaviors will be nearly impossible. So, before you hop in and try to adopt some new techniques, take some time to reflect on the myths above and figure out which ones are holding you back. If you change your beliefs first, then adopting long-term effective behaviors will be easier—and necessary if you want to see lasting change and results.

Time is perishable, irreplaceable, and keeps moving forward whether we like it or not. So, how do we make the most of it? By identifying our priorities and using the four-category time management method.

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Over the past several months, most of us have found ourselves forced to re-work and re-examine our routines and rhythms, especially around how we start our days. With work and life and everything else being smashed together in new and challenging ways, many of our clients have found their morning routines disrupted and tested. Even leaders who would have considered their routines an area of strength in the past have experienced some new challenges in our new reality.

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The start of a new year is a perfect time to refresh your business plan.

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Summer is here and for many of us, that means family vacations, mid-year reviews, and setting new plans to finish the year strong. (more…)

The Multitasking Myth [Video]

Many of us defend multitasking and insist it makes us more efficient. After all, why do one thing when you can get two, three, maybe even four things done? The multitasking truth may be hard to swallow, but accepting it is the first step to a more productive future. In this quick Virtual Coaching Tip,… Read More

Improve your mindset with one phrase [Video]

When you look at your day, are you filled with a sense of dread over all the things you have to do? In this quick Virtual Coaching Tip, Executive Coach Todd Mosetter shares one simple phrase you can start using immediately to improve your mindset and get everything on your list done.

4 Tools for Better Self-Leadership [Video]

In this Virtual Coaching Tip, our founder and CEO Daniel Harkavy shares four essential tools to help you lead yourself – and ultimately your team and organization – better. Learn about each of these tools and how they can help take you from where you are in life to where you want to be.

3 Ways to Deal with Change

While the past year may have amplified it, the amount of change and uncertainty surrounding us has been steadily increasing for quite some time now. In fact, as soon as we get comfortable with something, it seems to inevitably change again. One thing we can count on not changing anytime soon is this amount and… Read More

Getting Along With Others [Video]

Learning to walk in someone else’s shoes or seeing things from their perspective can go a long way in generating harmony between people. However, like many things worth doing, it’s often easier said than done. Executive Coach Todd Mosetter shares one simple way to help change what you think and feel about those around you.

Top Five Productivity Myths

With the amount of information, distractions, and change surrounding us today, staying productive and focused is harder than it’s ever been. But for the people and organizations that have been able to figure it out, it has quickly become a competitive advantage. For the rest of us, it seems like a never-ending cycle of success… Read More