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Can being less productive improve your productivity levels?

We all want to be productive, but there are drawbacks to burning the candles at both ends. Eventually, something is going to burn out.



Obsessing about how productive we are

Imagine Peter Gibbons from Office Space for a moment. MMMmmmm, yeah. Lay down your TPS report for a few, and read up on why you can stop obsessing about your productivity, and calm down.

Let me first say, planning and diligence is a definite necessity. There are no two ways about it, you must work hard to get ahead. However, obsessing about said productivity can quickly diminish your efforts at success.

Give your brain time to recharge

We are human, and we need rest… including in our careers. When we’re constantly working, we’ve squeezed out all room for creative thinking. We need to give our brains time to reset, recharge, and be refreshed. There is much research to back taking yearly vacations or periodic time away from our jobs. It boosts productivity, focus, and contentment in our professional roles.

The same can even be said in our day-to-day actions at work. When I’m writing, for example, and find myself stuck… the best thing for me is to close the laptop for a time and go do something completely unrelated. When I return, my mind is clear and I can continue.

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Embrace the ANTI-PLAN

Seriously, lay off the planning for a while. No, don’t spend time planning on how you’ll lay off the plan. Just stop. Trust yourself. You’re probably doing something you love, or at least enjoy to some extent, so just go with what you know. We can get so weighed down by our bottom line that we start to lose sight of it. Just diving in and working as you go teaches you to adapt to the circumstances. It keeps you flexible – and able to make decisions on the fly which ultimately boosts productivity.

Simplification is, in my opinion, one of the biggest ways to refocus. We create such a complex structure, that we’ve overcomplicated things and are struggling under the pressure. The easiest path to simplification is single-task. Crossing as many things off of our to-do lists as quickly as possible sometimes renders our work sloppy and leaves us feeling harried. Relax, slow down, and commit to one thing for a while. Focus on one project and the satisfaction of seeing it to completion. Doing so may actually accelerate your work than if you were juggling multiple projects.

Take a day off, close the planner, and single-task. You might just be surprised at how that actually boosts your productivity.

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Written By

Tasha Salinas is a staff writer at The American Genius, holding a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Journalism from Northeastern University. She is an info geek who reads, talks, & thinks way too much. You don't want to know how long it took her to write this bio.



  1. Charity Kountz

    May 23, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Nicely done Tasha!

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