Optimising productivity can be a significant challenge for employees and business owners alike.

The concept of productivity is surrounded by a huge number of myths and misconceptions. We’ll look to dispel some of these myths below, so that you can understand productivity on a deeper level and make the most of your time.

Myth #1: Working Longer Hours Equals Greater Productivity

Regardless of the nature of your work or product, you should never equate longer hours or increased workloads with greater productivity.

Instead, it’s better to work smart rather than hard, as you look to optimise your time management skills and focus on prioritising a streamlined workload.

One key element of this is extending and adapting your time deadlines, in order to work smart and maximise the quality of your work. Often, we give ourselves impossible deadlines to complete tasks in a bid to maximise revenue, so try to avoid this with a change of mindset and (occasionally) by saying ‘no’ more often.

Myth #2: Waking up at 5am will make you more productive.

The world is now full of life coaches and self-appointed ‘gurus’ on social media, many of whom extolled the virtues of rousing at 5am every morning and getting the absolute most out of every single day.

wake up at 5am, sleepy man with alarm clock

In reality, however, you’ll only have a few truly productive hours every day, so the notion that waking up at 5am or earlier automatically improves your productivity is utterly baseless.

Instead, the key is to create viable morning, and night routines, based on the nature of your job and your own experience of when you work best. This will allow you to find the most productive time of a day and build your working schedule as a result.

Myth #3: Being Busy Equates to Being Productive

Have you ever been asked to carry out a simple task at short notice, and responded by saying that you’re too busy? If the answer is yes, you may believe this to be evidence of your productivity, but this isn’t necessarily the case at all.

In fact, being busy doesn’t equate to a high level of productivity. This may instead suggest that you’re overwhelmed by work and struggling to implement viable time-management strategies.

If so, the time has come to strip back your schedule and change the way in which you work, particularly in terms of prioritisation and your willingness to delegate tasks where possible.

Myth #4: Just Copy the Habits of Billionaires

Websites are packed full of articles showcasing the habits and behaviours of billionaires and successful entrepreneurs, with people encouraged to follow these if they want to achieve similar levels of attainment.

However, these texts fail to recognise that everyone is fundamentally different, and you’ll need to find precisely what works for you when looking to optimise productivity.

Whether you adopt a time blocking strategy or the intensive pomodoro technique, you’ll have to experiment with different measures as you continue your personal development over time.

Myth #5: You have to set Big Goals

On the topic of trying to build good habits, it’s also important to establish relevant and attainable goals in the workplace.

However, some people will advise you to set big and ambitious goals in the belief that even if you fall short of these, you can still achieve a great deal and progress over time.

This can force you to chase unachievable goals that are largely intangible and do little but build an unnecessary sense of pressure, so it’s far more preferable to focus on smaller objectives and building habits that improve your productivity incrementally.