Being productive is one of those traits we’d all like to have, and it is a shame that many of us suck at it. And to make matters worse, there are productivity myths floating around that people take as gospel truth. In reality, these seemingly true beliefs are killing productivity, and many people are punishing themselves for not being productive, wondering what they can do to stop undermining their own efforts.

Well, it starts by not believing any of these debunked productivity myths.

1. You have to Be a Morning Person to Be Productive

You know the saying that the early bird gets the worm? It turns out that is not entirely truthful. In other words, there is really no need to wake up at 5 am to have a productive day. This is not a jab at morning people, there is science behind this claim that being a morning person does not boost your productivity.

Researchers at the University of Liege, which is located in Belgium, conducted a study that compared the brains of early birds and night owls. There was a four-hour sleep time difference between the two groups; if early birds woke up at 7 AM, it meant that the night owls woke up at 11 AM.

When the scientists compared their reaction time with simple tests, they found interesting results.

The was absolutely no difference in reaction time between the two groups. To top that all off, the night owls outperformed the early birds during tests conducted in the evening. Researchers believe it’s because the night owls where less sleepy than their counterparts due to waking up later in the morning.

2. Working From Home is Not Conducive to Productivity

You have often heard people snark at the idea of working at home. They give all sorts of reasons as to why this is impossible. The most often sighted reason is that the home is filled with too many distractions. To them, the office environment is one that is more conducive to productivity.

Is there any truth to this?

According to a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University, people who telecommute (work remotely) are 14% more productive. They managed to beat their office-bound counterparts in productivity and job performance and even took fewer sick days.

3. Keeping Busy Promotes Productivity

There are people in this world who are always busy but never productive. They have a million things to do during the day, but never actually get anything important done. If you find yourself diverting the same amount of energy to a variety of tasks without prioritising, you are effectively just being busy.

When being productive, however, it is not about just doing a lot of tasks, but selecting the most important ones and giving them 100%. As adults, a million little tasks pop up during the day, and saying yes to all of them in an effort to look busy is exactly what gets us nowhere fast.

4. Working Late Gives You More Hours of Productivity

According to the American Academy of Sleep, an adult needs to sleep seven hours or more during the night. But it appears most adults are early to rise and late to sleep because they believe burning the midnight oil is being productive. In fact, professionals are believed to only sleep 4-6.5 hours a night, sacrificing sleep to get more work done.

The obvious problem with sleep deprivation is that it significantly decreases productivity. Not only that, studies show that sleep-deprived individuals actually have to put in 25% more effort than their well-rested counterparts.

Basically, if you want to be more productive, you need to get some sleep because that is when you perform at your best.


5. Getting The Job Done Takes Priority Over Your Own Happiness

Professionals are so focused on taking care of work that they don’t pay attention to themselves. Some people even believe that they are most productive when stressed out and pushing a deadline. However, being happy is a big part of being productive, and there are studies that support this conclusion.

A study was conducted at the University of Warwick involving 700 participants. Researchers wanted to find out if a happy employee makes for a productive employee. To that end, the workers were subjected to a variety of tests, such as being shown comedy clips or being given free refreshments and treats.

The results were eye-opening.

Indeed, the researchers found out that when employees are happy, they are 12% more productive. This means they work harder than employees who are not as happy as they are. This study established a causal relationship between happiness and productivity.

Next time you find yourself not being as productive as you should be, ask yourself if you believe any of the above-mentioned myths. The most likely reason for their widespread adoption is that they appeal to common sense on the surface but don’t hold up in practice. Now that they have been debunked you can stop undermining your own efforts and make some much-needed progress in all that you set out to achieve.