Inc. is “a magazine for growing companies” but its writers go far beyond business. The April, 3013 issue, for example has several articles on getting more done, citing “new research on how to achieve peak productivity.” Building on this empirical evidence, practical recommendations include the following:
- Pay attention to workspace. Window views can be distracting: output goes up if desks face inward.
- Filter out distractions. Workers who wear headphones often are more productive, not necessarily rude.
- Keep focused on your values and mission. These can “replenish your self-control” and focus.
- Avoid multitasking. Numerous studies show that multitaskers make more mistakes and are less efficient. Multitasking even can have lasting harmful effects on brain function.
- Don’t be controlled by email. “Employees are less stressed” and less distracted when email is turned off for much of the day.
- Get more rest. “Lack of sleep suppresses activity in parts of the brain that control attention and filter distractions.” The value of a short nap every day is well documented.
- Exercise consistently. This is good for your brain functioning as well as your body.
- Spend time in nature. This clears the mind and “dramatically improves higher level cognition.”
- Encourage debate among team members and honestly face disagreements.
- Recognize that some people are most productive working alone. Too many star players or leaders on one team promotes conflict and declining productivity.
These and other practical, research-based suggestions can be helpful, except when productivity becomes too important. At times the drive for getting things done distracts from other areas in life that may be even more important. These include caring, helping others, building relationships, devotion to families, being still at times and knowing God better (Psalm 46:10). There is value in getting more done unless this slips into compulsive, potentially self-destructive lifestyles. What do you think? Please leave a comment.