There’s all kinds of advice out there, and I hate it when people give a one-size-fits-all approach to others.
What works for one person may not make sense for another, so make sure you’re doing what feels right for you.
In this week’s episode of the Spark Your Life podcast, we debunk eight productivity tips that people say you must do.
Really. If a piece of advice doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t make you any more or less productive than anyone else.
8 Common Productivity Tips and Hacks Debunked
I recently clicked on an article that said something like eight productivity hacks or tips that you must do to supercharge your productivity. And you should do all of these before 9 a.m.
These productivity tips are just a tool that you make work for you, not the other way around.
And anytime you hear a piece of advice that you must do, remember that nothing is absolute.
Let’s jump right into each one.
- Get Up Early
What the author actually says is to get up earlier than your usual wake-up time.
The idea is that you get extra hours of life, extra hours of productivity.
Yes, it makes sense, and sometimes I enjoy waking up earlier than normal.
And sometimes, I do feel like I’ve accomplished a lot by noon when I wake up earlier.
At the same time, my usual wake-up time during the week is 6:20 a.m.
So, for me, if I woke up earlier, it would need to be around 4 or 5 a.m.
When I wake up that early, I often feel like a zombie all day. Instead of supercharging my productivity, I ruin it.
So, to say that you must wake up earlier than usual because you’ll get extra hours in a day — that’s too much of an absolute.
Instead, you can listen to your body. If you need those extra hours of sleep, take them.
Productivity isn’t about the number of hours you have. It’s about how you spend those hours.
Squeezing more into your day doesn’t necessarily make you more productive.
- Work Out Before 9 a.m.
I love working out and going for runs, and they’re usually in the mornings, but saying you must work out to have a productive day isn’t true for everybody.
Everyone’s schedules and life situations are different.
I can’t work out when I wake up because I need to walk my daughter to school.
And if I don’t get my workout in, I’m not going to feel guilty about it because sometimes you don’t sleep well, or what you actually need is rest.
So, saying you need to drag yourself out of bed to work out no matter what is simply not true.
If you believe working out is a healthy habit for you and you know why, then you’ll stick with it.
Even if you miss your morning workout, you’ll get it done in the afternoon or evening.
Don’t try to squeeze it in just because somebody said to. Work out when it feels right and fits into your schedule.
- Read the News
I know we want to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, but it might not be the best time to do it right after getting out of bed.
The world is wild, and before stressing out about everything happening, give yourself time to wake up and get into the right state of mind.
So many times, I would wake up and read the news and it would destroy my day.
So, I don’t think you should avoid what’s happening in the world. We should definitely understand, be involved, and make the world a better place.
But maybe not first thing in the morning.
- Plan Your Day
This is actually a good one. We need to be intentional about how we spend our day.
What I will add here is that it’s not only work. It’s about what you need each day and what your goals and intentions are.
You want to live your day in a way that allows you to go to bed at night, feeling like you lived it in a meaningful way.
Planning your day doesn’t mean squeezing in 129 tasks because you can. It’s about eliminating as much noise as possible and freeing up space for the things that matter most.
My approach to planning my day and priorities isn’t about asking myself what to add to my list.
Instead, I ask what I can remove from my list. What doesn’t need to be done?
It’s a tricky mindset to get used to because it’s counterintuitive, but it frees up space for the things that will move the needle.
Focus on identifying no more than five important things in a day.
Then, find a way to eliminate the rest.
I have never been a proponent of meditation in the traditional way.
I’ve tried meditating in a traditional way several times, and it never worked.
The concept of keeping your mind blank, watching your thoughts come and go, yet separating yourself from them is very tricky for me to process.
For many years, I actually thought meditation and mindfulness weren’t for me.
Until I discovered that when I go for a run, it’s my way of meditating. This is my way of blanking my mind and being with myself.
Mindfulness is about being present and noticing your life.
It’s essential, especially when you’re busy and overloaded with information.
We should pause and look around and check in with ourselves.
But meditation in its traditional form, especially first thing in the morning, might not be the right way for you.
- Make Your Bed
This is standard, and honestly, I have nothing wrong to say about making my bed.
The only thing is, sometimes, you might wake up when someone else is still asleep. You aren’t going to hurt your productivity by not making the bed.
Yes, it can set the tone for the day by tidying something up.
But it doesn’t have to be making the bed. It could be doing the dishes, cleaning your desk, or anything else that might help you feel like you have tidied up your day.
So, don’t feel pressured to make your bed.
- Drink a Tall Glass of Water
Drinking a lot of water is a big trend, and we all need to drink water.
I don’t want to say anything bad about it, but the advice to drink eight glasses or four liters or x pints of water per day may not be accurate for everyone.
We all have different needs and levels of physical activity.
So, to say that you absolutely have to drink a full glass of water when you wake up to be more productive isn’t exactly true.
You need to stay hydrated, but that’s up to you when that happens.
- Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
There are many different ways people have their diets and schedules.
Sometimes, I skip breakfast. Sometimes, I don’t.
My husband never eats breakfast because it makes him feel unwell.
So, to say that if you don’t eat breakfast, then you can’t be productive is too absolute a statement.
Everyone is different.
Yes, everyone needs nutrients, food, calories, and energy to function and live, but it’s all about finding that diet and eating schedule that works for you.
But when you do eat, try to be present with your food.
If you eat while working or scrolling social media, you aren’t really helping your body within your digestive system.
So, find time to enjoy your food, experience it, cook with a family, and make it a ceremony.
TAKE ADVICE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT
Don’t feel pressured to create these absolutes because they’re created to catch your attention.
People want you to follow their advice.
I want to help you break those myths and find a way that works for you and your values and life.
So, always try to go deeper. Go beneath the surface and ask what the core reason, idea, or value is behind your actions and choices.
It’s always about you and never about an absolute.
There are an infinite number of ways to get the results you want. So, find the way that feels right for you.
You don’t have to be a slave to your habits or these tools. Instead, revisit your day and see which ones serve you best.
Until next time,