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The Productivity Myth
There is a perception that if you work more, you get more done. Seems logical, but it’s actually a myth. Only up to a point will you get items checked off the To Do list, and that point is 55 hours in a week.
After 55 hours, you might as well stop working because the quality of work decreases and mistakes increase to such a degree that productivity is non-existent. (By the way, there is a steep decline in effectiveness after 50 hours, as well, but for now, I will give you the extra 5 hours.)
So, as a leader, how can you help your team members be as productive as possible in a reasonable number of hours? Here are some ideas:
- Encourage team members to proactively block off chunks of time to be productive. This could be done systematically as a team, e.g. Every day from 10-12 is a meeting and e-mail free zone for the entire team, or recommend each person block 6-10 hours per week for “work” time.
- Block productive time before scheduling meetings. Many will plan meetings first and then try to find productive time with what’s left.
- Dissuade team members from multitasking (or in other words, allow email to interrupt focused work time). It takes about 25 minutes to return to the original task with the same concentration level after an interruption. Prioritizing email constantly throughout the day is a productivity killer!
A priority as a leader is to help your team be as effective as possible, so removing obstacles to productivity and coaching team members on ways to focus can have great results. Goals get accomplished, employees feel effective, and burnout is avoided.