Productivity is one of the most misunderstood and important aspects of any business. Many conflicting studies have found employees often feel the pressure to work longer hours, forgo work-life balance, and endure unhealthy competition. Toxic productivity often causes more harm than good, resulting in unhappiness and higher attrition rates

Moreover, with the introduction of remote working, things haven’t become any easier. Studies show 70% of employees are working on the weekend. And about 45% of workers spend more time working on their computers during the week than they would if working in the office. 

Toxic productivity can severely impact employee morale and overall mental well-being, eventually leading to burnout. It’s time to address these issues head-on and adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

Myth #1: Work Longer Hours To Get More Done

Working longer hours does not mean you’re more effective. Conversely, you’ll lose focus. That loss of focus means tasks will take longer, and you’ll make more mistakes. Also, the long-term effects of consistently working long hours can be detrimental to your health. 

Recently, the founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, coined ‘hustle porn.’ It’s the fetishization of people who overwork themselves, notably entrepreneurs or employees in the IT industry. According to a Business Insider article on Ohanian’s presentation, he talked passionately about the subject at a recent Web Summit in Lisbon, claiming people’s propensity for working ridiculously long hours can have “deleterious impacts” on their physical and mental health. 

Another study shows many productive workers don’t work for 8-hours daily but instead choose to work short hours with frequent pauses. So, instead of grinding it out on your desk for hours, consider taking breaks and maintaining a better work-life balance for increased productivity. 

Myth #2: Only Early Risers Are Productive

Many employers, particularly those enabling remote work, require employees to wake up early. Early risers, it is widely assumed, are more productive and successful than late sleepers. 

But, according to BBC Worklife, around one in every four people is physiologically programmed to wake up early. Therefore, 75% of the population aren’t morning or evening people, but rather a mix of the two.

Your chronotype – also known as your body’s “internal clock” – determines your capacity to wake up early. Genetics also plays a role. It makes no sense to adjust your habit if you are not naturally inclined to rise early. Everything boils down to how you manage your time.

Each of us has the same 24 hours in a day. You could get up at 10 a.m., work until 6 p.m., and accomplish as much as those who get up at the crack of dawn. However, you may need to get up early to attend a meeting, complete a project, or travel for work. 

Start the day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and plan ahead of time. 

A quick early workout may also be beneficial.

Caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, can counteract the effects of sleep deprivation on physical and cognitive function. Furthermore, clinical studies have suggested it improves reaction time, alertness, memory, and concentration.

Myth #3: Hard Work Is The Only Path To Success 

Our entire lives, we’ve been told, “Work hard, and you’ll succeed.” 

Conventional society believes we must work long hours to advance our careers, move up the corporate ladder, or transform a passion into a business. Companies, understandably, expect workers to work long hours and push themselves to the brink. 

Employers are increasingly moving their focus away from hard work to smart work. The recent rise in popularity of tools like Postcron that help schedule posts and automate processes is an example. 

The truth is the number of hours you work has little to do with your success and productivity. Working hard is not enough to help you realize your full potential and career objectives. You’ll also need tenacity, determination, business acumen, and a dash of luck.

If you establish a business or a side hustle, you may believe you must work long hours to succeed. That you must give up your personal life, tighten your belt, and forgo your weekends to attain success. 

However, there are other ways to supplement your income and build momentum without doing these things. You may, for example, rent out your empty space, sell stuff you don’t use online, or offer consulting services in your spare time.

The moral is you don’t have to give up everything to achieve your ambitions. What matters most is how you use your time and talent.

Myth #4: Money Is The Only Motivator 

This myth stems from the notion money is people’s greatest motivator. Because the culture at large values wealth as a measure of a person’s worth, this myth maintains traction.

It’s also simplistic; studies demonstrate that workplace motivation and engagement result from various factors, including feeling valued and doing important work, which differs from person to person.

Employee loyalty is localized because it is influenced by how workers feel about their immediate bosses and teams. Numerous psychological studies have found intrinsic motivators (such as a sense of purpose, meaning, and loyalty) are more potent than extrinsic motivators (such as money). Hence, team building activities, employee recognition, and other aspects act as great motivators. 

Productivity Is Personal

If you want to be more productive, you’ve probably come across a lot of contradicting advice or techniques that claim to be the one important secret to dominating your workday.

However, when it comes to your productivity, remember the best thing you can do for yourself is to figure out what works best for you. But, of course, it doesn’t hurt if that unique method has support from science. 

If not, don’t assume you have to switch gears and modify your strategy right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to music, working late at night, or using unconventional techniques to make money; as long as it helps you get things done, that’s all that matters.