Do I Even Need a Productivity Method?

Woman checking her notes in her productivity journal while working with her laptop in a sunny cafe.LStockStudio / Shutterstock

The concept of "productivity method" is getting a lot of hype everywhere you look. We like a good method of productivity, just like (it seems) the rest of the world. But are you selling short if you give up these hacks and make your way?

In today's fast-paced, technological world, it's easy to understand why the concept of productivity hack resonates so well. We are more connected than ever and plan to do more work in less time with modern technology. Anything that helps you manage the necessary tasks more easily and more effectively seems to be a good thing.

For the most part, we support popular productivity methods. But more importantly, we support anything that helps you work better, whether it's an organized system or a chaotic process. Let's examine the case of not subscribing to the hype about the productivity method.

What are the productivity methods

The attractiveness of the productivity methods is easy to see. These systems promise to help you stay focused and do more in less time. This is an obvious advantage regardless of your goals.

A Good Productivity Method Helps You Enjoy Relaxation But Concentration flow state and eliminate distractions from things like your cell phone or chores. By giving parameters to the way you work, the productivity methods transform ordinary tasks into a kind of structured game. You will tackle difficult tasks but expect small integrated rewards, creating a sort of Pavlovian work system.

However, most productivity methods don't really need strict structures to operate. For example, the Pomodoro technique mandates operating in blocks of 25 minutes with breaks of 5 minutes. You don't necessarily need to meet these specific deadlines to get things done. But the general concept of designated blocks of "working time" and "break time" is at the heart of the method.

Who needs a productivity method?

If you need a productivity method, you probably know it (even if you haven't admitted it yet).

While these methods can help most people do more, they don't really target people who can easily sit and concentrate. Instead, they offer a welcome structure for people who work best with an external structure but who don't always have it.

For example, if you are used to studying in a classroom, you may feel disoriented when you need to take courses on your own for an online course. A productivity method artificially provides part of the structure you are used to, making it easier to tackle the task.

So while productivity hacks help some people in certain situations, they are not necessary for everyone. If you have no trouble concentrating on the tasks at hand, you may well do without them.

The productivity myth: more is not always better

Woman rubbing her temples, overwhelmed by the management of her productivity system.Prostock-Studio / Shutterstock

The attractiveness of productivity methods is universal: we are attracted to new ways of doing things and we tend to simple problems too complicated. But this call can cause us to rely too heavily on productivity hacks while neglecting our work-life balance.

When you find a method that works, you might be tempted to stack other methods to make it even better. Or, if nothing seems to work, you might find yourself downloading the app after the productivity app to find the perfect solution.

And when a productivity method works well, you might find yourself getting more out of it, in order to become as productive as possible.

However, none of these scenarios is ideal. First of all, when you try to hack every last moment of your working day by stacking methods, you are actually creating a new distraction. Accumulating new hacks will wear you out and make you forget what you really need to do.

Likewise, if you keep trying method after method but nothing works, you are probably missing the root cause of the problem. Perhaps the reason you have trouble concentrating is that you are not happy with your work or you are working in a distracting place. Productivity hacks cannot solve these underlying problems.

Finally, trying to become a human productivity machine is simply not healthy. Even when a method works for you, do not treat it until you are exhausted. The idea that increased productivity is always better is for robots.

In short, do not fall into the trap of using productivity methods to push yourself towards burnout. Every day doesn't have to be incredibly productive. Instead, find a realistic work pace that you can follow over the long term.

How to choose the best method for you

So how can you decide when (and if) you need a productivity method? The best answer is often trial and error.

Don't expect a productivity method to magically turn you into a perfect worker. You will always be in charge of your concentration and your commitment. But don't write these hacks as a waste of time either.

Productivity methods are just tools. And like all tools, they can't do the job for you, but if you use them wisely, they can make your job easier. So try a few, take what works for you and leave the rest behind.

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