Productivity

15 Myths about Productivity

15 myths about productivity

It seems like the topic of productivity has been completely covered. Oh, it’s so covered… we can’t even recognize its essence under the pile of tips. Have you ever noticed how the most common productivity tips are making you less productive when you implement them?

That’s because they are myths. Today is the time to expose them in all their falseness and hollowness. We’ll list the top 15 myths about productivity.

1. The More You Work, The More You Accomplish

Oh no, no, no! All those articles keep telling you to wake up early and seize the day. Well, guess what: quantity does not always mean quality. One hour of work beyond your capacity will easily lead to a burnout.

Let me remind you again: what does productivity mean? Achieving more by doing less.

You should find a strategy that helps accomplish more not by working more, but by working more productively.

2. Focus on the Big Picture

Yes, the big goal matters, but so do the small steps you take towards it. When you’re too focused on the big picture, you tend to lose the details. Why don’t you focus on the entire picture instead?

3. Multitasking Equals Efficiency

The multitasking “productivity tip” actually hurts your efficiency. If you’re preparing a meal while working on that paper, you’re distracted again. Yes, the pasta may cook itself while you do your work. However, the thought of the meal being prepared will constantly be at the back of your mind. It won’t let you focus completely.

When you’re working on a specific task, devote all of your energy to it. That’s the only way to achieve full efficiency.

4. Create a Quiet Working Space

Yes, that might work for some – those who like working in quiet. But what about those who don’t?

If you feel like you’re working better at a coffee shop, library, or even a noisy office, use the work environment that suits you.

15 Myths about Productivity

5. Always Busy Means Always Productive

Saddle yourself with unnecessary tasks that take a lot of time is one of the most useless things one can do. You should avoid this behavior as much as you can. Instead of focusing on the things that have little results for your work, do something really important.

6. You Work Best Under Pressure

No, you don’t. This tip just justifies procrastination. Procrastination is never good. Start your work on time, without being pressured by the deadline.

7. Wage Inspires You to Be More Productive

A bonus or a raise may inspire you to work more effectively… for some time. But, keep in mind that your employer won’t be constantly raising your pay so that you could stay productive.

Why are you doing what you do? If it’s just for the money, you can’t achieve full productivity. You have to look for other motivation, such as personal and professional growth.

8. Breaks Are a Waste of Time

Did you know that American workers took less vacation when compared to the workers of any other high-income nation? Did you know that they were also more stressed? Make the connection. Breaks are necessary.

9. Remote Work Is Less Effective

If time organization is all on you, it’s most likely that you’ll slip. That’s a myth!

If you organize your schedule according to your productivity patterns, you can be much more productive than what the office environment can allow.

15 Myths about Productivity

10. Clear Your Desk, Clear Your Mind

Clear working environment works for some people. Others feel stressed when working in a space that’s too organized and sterile.

11. No One Can Do It Better than You

That’s another myth.

If you have the budget to delegate part of your work, do it! You’ll get more time for your other tasks. The entire work will be completed much faster, with even bigger effectiveness. Isn’t that what productivity is all about?

12. Eat the Frog First

In other words, tackle the biggest, most challenging task first thing in the morning. That may work for some people.

However, the strategy doesn’t work for everyone. Productivity has its ups and downs, which are different for each person, but repetitive throughout the days. You may feel more productive in the morning. Maybe it’s during the afternoon. Whenever it is, you can eat the frog then.

13. Learn!

“The more you know, the more productive you become. It’s important to keep learning.”

That’s just a myth. Knowledge without application is useless. Stay focused on developing skills and knowledge you could actually use. Learning for the sake of learning is overestimated.

14. A System Will Make You Inflexible

No, it won’t. A system can be flexible enough to allow you to respond to unforeseen events. Adopting a system means you know what your priorities are and you can arrange your time accordingly. You really need a system.

15. There Are Universal Productivity Hacks

No, there aren’t. I think we made that clear by now.

Some of the most popular productivity tips on the Internet are completely useless. Why do you need to know about them? So you’ll stop applying counterproductive strategies that actually kill your productivity. Now that you’re aware of them, you can finally tackle your own productivity from a fresh perspective.


Zoe Carter Zoe Carter
is a lifestyle blogger, ESL teacher and editor at BestDissertation.com. She is always in search for innovative ideas for learning languages and developing writing skills. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Chat for teams

5 Communication Tips for Successfully Managing Virtual Teams

managing virtual teams

Working remotely is an employment choice brimming with positives for both the employee and employer. It can noticeably cut down on business expenses by removing the need to pay for office space, it enables us to pool talent from all over the world and it gives us the opportunity to manage our working timetable, within reason, so that childcare, housework and other responsibilities no longer make our lives difficult.

Move towards remote employment

Statistics reflect a general global shift towards remote employment. According to West UC, 1.75 billion people over the world (that’s more than 40% of the globe’s employed workforce) will be working remotely by the end of this decade. One can only begin to imagine what the working world might look like by 2050. There is evidence that working at home boosts productivity. But even so, the virtual workspace is not all cupcakes and party streamers. Managing a team of remote workers can be a particularly challenging role and one that takes some getting used to.

Virtual managers may find the responsibilities of remote project management quite stressful if they’ve not been sufficiently trained to get the best out of their online team. Trying to pull all the people together virtually can be a challenge in itself. The good news is that there are a number of procedures and solutions that can help us become effective virtual managers, most of which are easy to implement and offer relatively speedy results.

1. Stay connected and offer real support

Staying connected and getting to know your team will also help you to gauge when certain members need more support. Not all employees speak up when they’re feeling unsure, unhappy, undervalued, or just plain overwhelmed. As managers, if we’re in constant contact with our members of staff, we’ll be able to pick up on any problem areas before they get out of hand and we end up losing a valuable member of the team to another company.

Also, as a manager, part of our job is to find solutions. There are tools that help manage distributed teams, but team culture is just as important. If our team knows how to contact us and receives relatively timely responses to all needs and concerns, we build a reputation as someone who can be relied on; a golden quality in a manager and one that most employees would be loathe to lose.

2. Choose your communication style wisely

Communication in a remote team is especially important. Conversations that relate to contractual changes, pay or promotions are best not handled via email, for example. As managers, it’s foolish to think that remote employees don’t deserve the opportunity to look us in the eye when discussing certain matters, particularly as there are so many ways in which we can choose to communicate.

There are team chat tools, video calls or even short recorded videos. When providing professional training or implementing a new process, for example, a video might actually be a much more effective way of engaging and communicating with our team, as opposed to a long, convoluted email.

3. Make an effort to understand cultural differences

One of the great advantages to managing remote teams is cultural diversity. If we’re managing a global startup and we want to reach a range of consumers worldwide, our global team can offer essential (and free) insight into the detailed intricacies of each market. At the same time, however, we are challenged as managers, because we must adapt to account for cultural differences within the workforce.

What might seem like acceptable manager behavior in one country, could actually be perceived as quite offensive in another. We need to research, ask questions and follow through with regular staff evaluations in the early stages to get a real grasp of what it means to work with each member of our team, whether they might be from Japan, India, Argentina, Italy or the U.S.

4. Choose your management tools and then actually use them

There’s nothing that can make the administrative side of our jobs easier than the correct selection of communication and management tools. Scheduling tools, audio and video calling, time tracking tools, chat for teams, screensharing, payroll systems and shared document folders and so much more.

We cannot manage the work of others remotely without having the right resources to hand. It’s also vital that, once we have these tools in place, we train our staff to make proper use of them. We must also remain a stickler for the rules by encouraging them to follow company protocol and communicate via the channels made available.

managing virtual team

5. Make time for professional reviews and rewards

A remote team still needs to be motivated and remember, not everyone is motivated by money. Indeed, when professionals choose to make the move to remote employment, many of them are happy to take a pay cut if it means they can have more control over their working day. There are so many ways in which you can reward your team, above and beyond a pay rise or monthly bonus.

Consider the idea of providing all your employees with the cash needed to invest in a decent laptop, offer to install programs for free on their computers, reward with more vacation time (either paid or unpaid) and give them a valuable contract with job security, decent healthcare and the chance to invest in a private pension. Whatever kind of reward you’re able to offer, the most important thing is to schedule regular (at least quarterly) professional reviews to give employees the chance to raise concerns and to give you the chance to tell them how fantastic they are. Everyone thrives on praise, so make time for it.


Contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny’s previous experience in business has allowed her to specialize in the sector, although she also enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, leadership and new technology.

Chat for teams

4 Valuable Tips for Holding Successful Team Meetings

holding successful team meetings

Team meetings should be effective collaborative sessions filled with energy and enthusiasm. A team meeting room is a place where members gather around to make decisions and solve problems through creative discussion. Then again, they can be those times during the week when everyone is dying of boredom.

If your meetings are a part of this second group, that means that they are probably too long in duration and too exhaustive. This can result in a mental and an emotional exhaustion of your team, which leads to frustration. Here are some tips for holding successful team meetings.

Don’t be Afraid – You’re the Boss

Managers and team leaders are afraid of team meetings. They believe that the rest of the members hate the them or that they are getting bored. Because of that, they start looking at meetings in such a way themselves.

If you want to achieve significant results, to solve your employees problems and keep them informed, inspired and motivated, you must communicate more often and make them understand what you have to say. Do not remain in the secluded area of your office, just sending out emails. You are the one who makes sure there is effective communication in a team. Confront them with a clear purpose in all your authority.

Look Before You Leap

Although everyone knows how important it is to prepare an agenda, many team leaders hold meetings without it. But if one does not plan their agenda, you will not be focused and able to see what are the priority topics for the meeting are. The preparation may be boring or useless at times, but it is very important for everyone to be on the same page.

You can also invite team members to contribute to agenda items, just ask for their ideas via your team chat a couple of days before the actual meeting, so they could prepare without time pressure. But you should never ask your assistant or some other team member to make the agenda instead of you. You are the leader, and in order to make the meeting important for others first you have to make clear it’s important to you.

team chat

Let Everyone Play the Game

There are a lot of different activities to to choose from when it comes to freshening up your meetings. Such is the roundtable learning strategy, in which team members teach each other new something new. You can also try to change the locations of the meetings, bring an interesting board game, switch chairs – experiment with everything to break the monotony. But remember, you must get everyone involved.

The best way to gather up the whole team is certainly brainstorming. Meetings are never just about sharing information. You should always try to solve the problem by working with the group on the spot and coming to a mutual decision. Every discussion should be tied to your broader strategic goals. The best way to accomplish that is to run through all of these goals at the beginning of the meetings, otherwise people might get lost in the brainstorming process. The most common and most functional glass white boards method is a guarantee that all of your team members will always have a bigger picture in front of them.

Good Leader, Bad Leader

Although you have to be friendly and in a good mood during the meetings, you cannot let yourself go completely and be a buddy with your team members. You have to keep the standards high by not allowing off-color jokes, cynicism, sarcasm, picking on team members, other departments or management.

On the other hand, do not show your authority too much and never abuse the power you have. People are not supposed to be afraid of you, they have to love and respect you and, above all, to trust you. Think about what are the must-have skills to be good at management. It is important to build a discipline and run the meetings that people will motivate your team members and push their initiatives further.

tony solomon


Tony Solomon
is an an editor and a writer with several years of experience in creating web content. He currently writes for Media Gurus.

Chat for teams

10 Must-Have Skills to be Good at Management

Skills to be Good at Management

It’s always a great challenge to find someone who has all the skills to be good at management. Good leaders don’t just sit and wait until you hire them, but what’s crucial is that before hiring someone, you must understand the qualities – both personal and business – that you seek.

Below are 10 must-have qualities and skills that a good manager must possess by Lucy Adams, an outsourcer from IDAP Group.

#1 Passion for Work

It sounds like an unconditional truth. Everyone knows that “it is useful to exercise regularly,” but only those who exercise with a least some passion can comprehend and follow this statement.

The same applies to business. Love for work is a very important criterion. Hardly a morally oppressed employee will be able to show high results and bring something new to your business. But another question is how to measure passion?

  • First of all, ask the candidate to talk about the period when he had to work especially hard. Clarify the reasons for such devotion. Listen to how the candidate describes such an experience: whether it was an interesting, challenging period in life or a nightmare?

Good marketing directors do not work just to get paid. Instead, they direct their every effort on improving the company as a whole and each of its components. They form departments of talented people and never allow them to work without passion.

#2 The Ability to Invent the Wheel, not Reinvent It

Creativity is one of the most sought-after and at the same time elusive qualities. How can you measure creativity?

  • In my opinion, creativity includes the ability to generate ideas, think out of the box, research and give alternatives, introduce new methods of work, etc.

If you ask a good marketing director to invent a wheel, he will never answer that the wheel already exists and there’s nothing to do more in this field.

There are very few blue oceans in our world. Mostly all businesses operate in markets with strong monopolistic competition or oligopoly. A talented specialist will look at the problem or opportunity from a different angle, as no one else before did. Most likely, the candidate of your dream has a special notebook with ideas for all occasions.

#3 Loyalty

Loyalty may seem to be just another popular and obscure point in the description of vacancies. In practice, loyalty means that the promoted product become an inevitable part of the life of your team. Can you imagine Microsoft employees using Apple laptops?

#4 At Home Among Strangers, a Stranger Among his Own

Outstanding marketers like to listen and watch people and what is happening around. They like to learn about other people’s lives, tastes, and habits, as well as things they lack, like and hate. They watch TV ads, click on ad banners and save to favorites examples of the best companies and competitors.

For what? Simply to learn as much as possible about the surrounding world and understand the needs of people, which will help to these people a truly valuable product.

Skills to be Good at Management

#5 The Ability to Lead

Any manager must be able to manage people efficiently. Team building, setting tasks, ensuring effective communication in a team, motivating and developing the team spirit are a must. Without all of this, it’s almost impossible to create a single line of positioning and behavior in public.

The success of the company depends on the work of many departments, including sales, financial, logistics and development. A good manager knows how to get along with all these people and achieve a certain degree of synergy.

#6 Strategic Thinking

What does it mean to think strategically? First of all, understand the essence of the business, as well as its long-term and short-term goals, at the same time anticipating future needs.

The ability to stay true to your vision and accumulate energy for crucial things is an important quality for any manager. The best leaders first consider how their actions will affect the long-term goals and only then take the final decision.

#7 Flexibility

The world of business changes at the speed of light, and no matter how well you plan, you always have to be ready to quickly solve the problems that arise. This is especially true when managing a startup.

A good manager can turn a failure into success or restart the product or shift the emphasis to other things in a matter of days or even hours. He does not rely solely on his plans and is always ready to meet force majeure face to face, as well as switch to new technologies and products.

#8 Engaging Storytelling

People love to tell stories, but what they love even more is to listen to a skillful orator telling something new, interesting and engaging. Great managers love stories about brands and can easily fit them into the everyday life of ordinary people.

  • For example, the cigarette brand Marlboro largely owes its success to the ingenious Leo Burnett who came up with the image of “cowboy-tamer of the prairie.” The image conquered the nation, and in just a year Marlboro entered the top five of the best-selling tobacco products.

If your marketer does such things with pleasure, you’re lucky!

#9 Knowledge of the Audience

An advertising banner or video has only a few seconds to interest the person before he or she switches focus to something else.

A good manager knows everything about people to whom he sells the product and knows how to get their attention from the first second. He easily navigates in the channels of promotion and knows when to use Internet advertising or TV advertising or outdoor ads, etc.

#10 Salesmanship

A proficient manager understands thinking patterns of his employees and customers. He knows everything about the sales funnel, communication with clients and decision-making. He can sale unobtrusively, causing interest among the crowd.

I hope these 10 tips will help you in finding the right person or understand what qualities are worth educating in your young protégés. I wish you best of luck in your every entrepreneurial endeavor!

Lucy-web


Lucy Adams
is a blogger and aspiring writer who’s always ready to bring the most intriguing topics of yours to life.

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How Managing a Startup is Different than Managing an Established Company

managing a startup

If you’ve worked in the corporate world for a while but are entertaining the idea of starting your own company, then congratulations! Starting your own company may be a daunting prospect, but it can also be very rewarding. There are a few ways in which managing a startup is probably different from your previous experiences…

In one study about startups people were asked the what’s the best way to learn more about entrepreneurship and just over half (51%) answered, “Start a company.” While there’s absolutely no substitute for direct experience, it’s still best to do some research before diving into creating a startup.

You may have significant experience working in business, or even managing a large team of people, but that experience doesn’t always translate perfectly. To illustrate this point, here are a few key ways that managing a startup differs significantly from working as a manager at an established company.

Higher Risk

One of the first things to keep in mind about running a startup is that it’s a riskier prospect, all around. Every decision you make will have a much more lasting impact on the future of the business. Even something as small as ordering supplies can have major consequences for a small company that is counting every single penny.

While this can be a terrifying prospect, it can also be quite rewarding. Managers of startups have more direct responsibility for the fate of the company. While that means that a mistake could be disastrous, it also allows for much more innovation. Someone who is interested in making a lasting impact at their company has many more opportunities to do so in a startup environment.

More Flexible Company Culture

At an established company, things move much more slowly, and the company’s culture tends to sort of congeal. Once the culture has set, it’s difficult for anyone, even high-ranking executives, to shift that culture. Meanwhile, at a startup, the company’s culture is much more fluid. As the manager of a startup, you have more leverage to define the company’s culture, and its habits for everything from effective communication to hot to cut costs when running a start up business. You can define goals, traditions, and the way people interact with each other.

More Experimentation

When a company has been around a while, it tends to develop its own patterns of getting things done, and those patterns don’t often change. After all, once they have spent so much time figuring out how to accomplish their tasks, why change from a proven method? It works, so why rock the boat?

The counterargument is that sometimes, the established way isn’t always the best way. Sure, it will work, but is it really the most effective option? An established company will have its own workflow management system in place while startups have the agility to try out and switch between different systems and find out what really works the best for them.

Increased Hiring Involvement

The manager of a startup will have much more direct involvement in the hiring process, or even be the one resposible for hiring from reaching out to sealing the deal. Even when it comes to positions not directly related to their areas of focus, in a small startup, everyone’s opinion is valuable. After all, even if their work does not intersect directly with the new hire’s, each new person brought in makes up a significant portion of the business.

When hiring at a startup, there’s also a good chance that each hire will eventually become a manager or team lead as the company grows. That means that your hires will have much more direct impact on the company’s success and culture moving forward. At a larger company, there’s even a chance that all the hiring will be done by a large committee. There’s a lot more responsibility over the hiring process at a startup.

Lewis Robinson
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specialized in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He has managed two startups and currently freelances as a writer and consultant.

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