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Why Doing More Can Turn Into Unproductivity

Why Doing More Can Turn Into Unproductivity


    There is a certain limit when performing an action, after which the action you take turns into unproductivity. This is happening mostly because of unrealistic deadlines and lack of planning — or goals that are not specific enough.

    If you work harder and longer days, you may get more done. At the same time there is a price to pay for this and in the worst case, that price may halt you down completely. Especially if you are not willing to change your working routines.

    The more you do, the more you stress out

    When you are pushing harder and trying to do more, you are going to be stressed out about the situation. The more stressed you are, the more difficult it becomes to cool down and recharge your batteries after your working session ends. You keep pondering about work matters when you are not working. In many cases, you wake up during the night, thinking and stressing about the work you have to finish.

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    Stress (the negative one) affects your health and well-being in a terrible manner. If you value your health and put it as a priority in your life, it is time to slow down the working pace.

    The quality of the action may be poor

    If you want to do more work, can you be sure that the quality of the actions you take won’t suffer?

    I have experienced this myself. When I did more stuff (and especially in a smaller block of time), I wasn’t able to concentrate enough on the task I was doing. This led to a situation where I had to go back and fix my work before my quality standards were met.

    When you work too much, ask yourself this question:

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    “Am I giving enough focus to my current task so that it gets done correctly the first time?”

    If you aren’t, then pay close attention to it, because otherwise you are increasing your already high workload. However, if you spend a little time on this question it will save your time in the long run.

    You may take the wrong action, because you don’t focus

    People often talk about taking massive action and why it is beneficial for reaching your goals. However, sometimes massive action can cause massive stress and frustration.

    This happens, when you are taking action for action’s own sake. However, if you knew the right type of massive action to take you would get much better results as a return, thus saving you from frustration.

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    In order to take the right type of massive action, you should have a clear idea where you are heading. After that, you should link your planned action steps to your goal and be absolutely certain that the action you are taking is essential for reaching that goal. When you take the focused (and right) massive action instead you are guaranteed to see results faster.

    You are running out of fuel

    There are two things that keep us going, even if we have a lot of work ahead of us: passion towards the topic and motivation for consistent action.

    The danger of working too much is that you are going to burn out these two crucial elements quickly. When this happens, you find work to be meaningless and you can’t find any reason to take action. Even if you know what your passion is but you don’t want to take action on it, you feel greatly frustrated and sad inside.

    To prevent this situation occurring you have to work to the right rhythm: reasonable-length working sessions combined with moments dedicated for mental and physical regeneration (exercise, sleep, meditation, etc.).

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    This keeps the motivational flame alive — and you are still excited to pursue your passion.

    Conclusion

    Doing more isn’t always for the best. Take a look at the above criteria and evaluate what you’ve got on your plate. Are you doing too much? Be honest with yourself and make any changes that you need.

    Then you can turn that unproductively back into productivity.

    (Photo credit: Mowing job via Shutterstock)

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    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

    What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

    If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

    So, what to do in free time?

    Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

    Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

    1. Reading Files

    Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

    Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

    2. Clear out Inbox

    Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

    If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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    3. Phone Calls

    Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

    Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

    4. Make Money

    This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

    If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

    5. File

    No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

    But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

    Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

    6. Network

    Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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    7. Clear out Feeds

    If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

    8. Goal Time

    Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

    If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

    Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

    9. Update Finances

    Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

    Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

    10. Brainstorm Ideas

    Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

    11. Clear off Desk

    Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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    Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

    12. Exercise

    Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

    13. Take a Walk

    This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

    It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

    14. Follow up

    Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

    When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

    15. Meditate

    You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

    Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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    16. Research

    This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

    If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

    17. Outline

    Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

    18. Get Prepped

    Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

    You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

    19. Be Early

    Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

    Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

    20. Log

    If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

    Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

    More Inspirations on What To Do During Free Time

    Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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