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5 Productivity Killing Myths That Are Ruining Your Life – And How To Solve Them

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This is a guest post by Tor Refsland. Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion – to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to double your productivity in 7 days.


 

You are NOT where you WANT to be in your life.

And to be quite honest… sometimes you are actually wondering if you are EVER going to get THERE.

Because here’s the thing…

The following thoughts are holding you back:

– You don’t have enough time
– You can’t get everything done by yourself
– You can’t start before you KNOW everything
– Everything you do has to be perfect
– You can’t move forward because you are afraid to fail

Can you relate?

If so, relax. It’s okay.

I have been there too.

The good news is, that they are all myths NOT facts.

However, the scary thing about myths are, that as long as you believe that they do exist, they will continue to have a negative impact on your life.

It’s kind of like when you were a little kid lying in bed late at night, not being able to sleep. You believed that there might be a monster under your bed or in your closet. The fear was REAL and it was impacting your life…

…until a trusted family member turned on the lights and SHOWED you that no monster existed. They were all in your mind.

Unfortunately, the myths you are facing now will most likely not restrict you from leaving your bed at night.

They will do something worse…

They will kill your productivity and rob you from the life you want and deserve.

And this has been going on for far too long.

It’s time to face the monster under the bed and do something about it.

Let me reveal the 5 productivity killing myths that is ruining your life – and how to solve them…

Myth 1: You Don’t Have Enough Time

This is a very common misconception of the reality.

You only have 24 hours in your day, right?

And for some reason those hours never seem to be enough.

Think about someone successful, someone who has everything you want in your life.

How many hours do they have in their life?

If you said, 24, you are correct.

A high five to you.
*Slap*

So, what’s the main difference between you and the successful person?

The difference is HOW you have spent your TIME.

The following approaches can really help you make better use of your time.

80/20 rule

Pareto’s Law says that 20% of your most important tasks will result in 80% of the total production value.

What does that really mean?

It means that if you have 10 tasks on your to do list, the 2 most important tasks will result in 80% of the total production value.

So, if you are able to identify your most important tasks, and only do them first, you will become very productive.

For more information on how to become more productive, you can take a look at my article at Skip Prichard.

Another approach that will make you more productive in the long run are your…

Decisions

The difference between a successful person and a person who is not, is how they make their decisions.

A successful person will make decisions today that will impact their future in the long term, while a person who isn’t successful will make decisions today that will give them an instant reward.

It’s all about the art of perseverance and delayed gratification.

What do you do?

At the end of the month when all the bills have been paid, are you able to put aside money for savings, or do reward yourself by spending the rest of the money?

The funny thing is, that if you have more money at the end of the month and you want to reward yourself by spending that money…

…how much money do you REALLY have at the end of the month?

Yes, the answer is none, zero, nada.

So let’s jump 10 years into the future.

What is the difference between the person who saved money each month and the person who rewarded himself by spending the rest of the money each month?

The person who saved money will most likely have a decent amount of money for a rainy day, and perhaps even have enough money to start his / her own business or buy a bigger home for his / her family.

While the other person will have no cash and probably have his / her home filled with too much material stuff that he / she don’t really need.

In other words: the main difference is that the person who has been able to implement the principle of delayed gratification, has more options and freedom, while the other person don’t.

As you probably understand, the scenario with saving money was only an example. The art of delayed gratification can be applied to other areas well.

One method that can increase your productivity dramatically is to use a…

Master to do list

They say that every minute spent in planning saves you 10 minutes in execution.

Having all your to do tasks collected in ONE master to do list is key.

When I was working for one of the biggest companies in Norway as an IT-administrator I encountered many people in different job positions.

What they all had in common, was that they were all using different approaches to store the to do tasks.

What none of them had in common, was that none of them used ONE single master to do list.

Long story short: my workload matched a 150 % position, which meant that no matter what I did, I would never be able to get everything done. This resulted in me creating my own system, which helped me to increase my own productivity with 200 %.

That means that I was able to do in 2 hours, what I used to spend 8 hours doing.

When you use a master do list, you should implement the…

ABCDE method

You will rank the tasks in the order of importance.

  • A tasks: Tasks I must do – serious consequences if it doesn’t get done
  • B tasks: Tasks I should do – mild consequences if it doesn’t get done
  • C tasks: Tasks I could do – no consequences if it doesn’t get done
  • D tasks: Tasks I delegate
  • E tasks: Tasks I never do

The trick is to never do a B task before you have completed all the A tasks, and never do a C task before you have completed all the B tasks.

For more information about how to create more time, you can check out my article at Successful Blogging.

Follow this method, and you will be sure to stay on track with your most important tasks at any given time.

Then let’s continue to…

Myth 2: You Can’t Get Everything Done By Yourself

This is actually a fact. You can’t get everything done by yourself.

The misconception lies in the MYTH that you THINK you need to get everything done by yourself.

Who said that YOU need to do EVERYTHING in your work or business by yourself?

Probably no one.

Most likely, it was your own ego.

Because you are perhaps suffering from the good Girl Scout or Boy Scout syndrome.

Well snap out of it!

That kind of “Oh, look at how good I am, because I do everything myself”-attitude does no longer work in your life as an adult.

While you weren’t paying attention, that kind of attitude as an adult is now being translated to “Oh, look at me, I am suffering from control issues and low self-esteem, I want to do everything myself, but I’m too blind to see that it will take me NOWHERE.”

Well, I know what I’m talking about.

Because I have been there too.

And yes, it sucks.

But what’s even worse, is that it is really crippling your productivity.

Note: If you have a boss that wants you to do EVERYTHING by yourself, there is a good chance that you either have a very narrow area of expertise, but more likely…

…that your boss doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

The thing is that a sharp business mind would be able to look at the company as a team of individuals. Each individual have his / her own skills and weaknesses.

The main goal in order to run the business as efficient as possible and get the biggest return on investment (ROI) for the company, would be to get every team member to do tasks that are within their area of expertise.

If you were running a big auto repair shop, you could get the mechanic to do the accounting and the accountant to repair the cars. However, that would be very inefficient, right?

How does this apply to you?

Well, you need to identify your strengths and your area of expertise.

You should concentrate on the tasks that ONLY you can do, or the tasks that you are the BEST at doing.

This will make sure that you constantly will be working on the areas in your work or business, where you have the highest value.

The other type of tasks you should delegate to other resources.

Great leaders have the ability to hire people who are smarter than them.

Over to the next myth that can really kill your productivity…

Myth 3: You Can’t Start Before You KNOW Everything

We have all heard that research, preparation and planning is a good thing, right?

If you don’t do them before you make an important decision, your chance of failing is high.

And that is a fact.

The misconception is that you think you need to KNOW everything before you start.

In our dynamic society information is one of the most precious assets. The right type of information to the right people given at the right time, can be worth a gazillion of dollars.

Another thing with information, is that it’s continuously changing at lightning speed.

You have probably heard the sentence “today’s news is tomorrow’s history”. That is when we talk about news in the newspapers.

Imagine when we talk about changes in the stock market or other rapid changing environments.

That means that “this hour’s news is next the hour’s history”.

In some industries, you could probably exchange the word hour with minutes, or even seconds.

You get the point.

Imagine if you were to KNOW everything about a certain issue, before you made a decision.

Well, that means that you will NEVER be able to make a decision, because you will never KNOW everything.

When you have done 80 % of the research, your data is old news, and you have to start from square one again.

That is also the reason why many people suffer from the “paralyzed by over-analysis”.

Yes, I have been there too.

The trick is to find the invisible magic limit where you have done ENOUGH research and preparation in order to make the decision BEFORE the existing research gets old.

I have been talking to a few successful people in my network, and they say that the magic number is about 40 %.

This means that you do 40 % of research, and then it’s time for action.

You will experience that things have a tendency to not go according to plan, and you will learn a lot more by introducing massive action and get a lot of experience FAST.

The next myth is of a similar kind…

Myth 4: Everything You Do Has to be Perfect

Everything you do need to do has to be perfect.

Because you are a perfectionist.

There are two misconceptions here: the first is that you think everything you do needs to be perfect, and the second is that you think that being a perfectionist is a good thing.

You couldn’t have been more wrong.

Not so surprisingly, I have been there too.

Let me address the first misconception.

You THINK that everything you have to do has to be perfect.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex has the following definition of the word perfect:

“Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind.”

If we were to bake a perfect cake, we would need the correct amount of the correct ingredients that would need to be processed together in the correct order, and then the cake could be put into the oven holding the correct temperature for the correct duration of time, right?

That is “lacking nothing essential to the whole”, yes, we get that.

However, there is also another factor that we need to take into account.

The definition of perfect for a cake that needs 2 hours to prepare, would be different than for a cake that needs 30 minutes to prepare, right?

Sometimes it’s also great to deliver what is “good enough”.

Yes, I admit it. I said it.

Everything you do, don’t have to be perfect.

If you need to deliver a report to your boss or to a contractor that needs 1 hour to complete, it will be sufficient to spend 1 hour of focused work.

That will raise the report to the level of acceptable.

You don’t want to spend 1 hour extra, so you can draw unicorns and roses.

To be quite honest, your report could even smell like roses, perhaps even be put into a golden frame, but to be quite frankly.

All that would be a total waste of time.

You would be throwing away 1 extra hour on a boring report that might not be read thorough at all.

However, there is a middle ground.

You do want to stick out, and to be in front of the pack, right?

Then instead of spending 1 hour more on the report, spend 10 minutes more, giving some extra details on the most important sections in the report or add a cool graph that will illustrate your most important point.

THAT would make it stick out, and that would make your work better than average.

And the cool thing?

You spent 10 minutes more, not 1 hour.

In order to stay productive, you don’t want to spend any more time on a task than absolutely necessary.

That is perfect time management.

I assume that you realize by now, that being a perfectionist is more of a curse than it’s a blessing.

However, being a perfectionist doesn’t have to be negative, as long as you can control it.

Put the perfectionist aside when doing your normal tasks, and if you are working on an important income generating task that WILL give you good return on investment for the time spent, then make your masterpiece – go for it!

Then it’s time to take a look at the last myth…

Myth 5: You Can’t Move Forward Because You Are Afraid to Fail

There is probably no bigger reason for procrastination than the FEAR to fail.

It’s uncomfortable to go outside our comfort zone and do something we have never done before.

Nah, who are we kidding?

It’s not uncomfortable.

It’s really SCARY.

The funny thing is that the bigger your step outside the comfort zone, the more scarier it is.

This will never change.

That is a fact.

Then over to the misconception: you can’t move forward because you are afraid to fail.

The fear will always be there.

However, this can’t hold you back.

The reward is too great.

It’s like when a woman is giving birth to a child. It’s extremely painful. But it’s all worth it in the end.

And even if they say right after the birth that they will NEVER do that again, most of them become pregnant again.

They say that the difference between a successful person and one who is not, is that the successful person has failed 10 times more.

The only difference is that the successful person picked himself / herself up and moved forward.

You need to decide if your dream is worth stepping outside the comfort zone for.

Is your dream; spending more time with your family, having a great career, starting a business or expanding an existing business, travelling more, etc. worth it?

What if you KNEW that you couldn’t fail in the long run.

You had to fall on your face thousands of time, but in the long run, you would get EVERYTHING you wanted in life.

Would you then have gone out of the comfort zone despite of the fear?

The only thing you need to fear about fear is the fear itself. That it will make you procrastinate and rob you from the great future you want and deserve.

Over To You…

Now I have given you the recipe on how to solve the 5 productivity killing myths.

The rest is up to you.

What is your biggest reason for procrastinating?

Do you have any experience with handling procrastination?


This is a guest post by Tor Refsland. Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion – to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to double your productivity in 7 days.

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7 Comments

Posted by Sue Anne Dunlevie  | June 24, 2015 at 1:13PM | Reply

Hi, Tor,

Yes, I was a girl scout!

I live my life by the 80/20 rule and when I forget to do so, that’s when I get into trouble.

I love the idea of the master to-do list and thanks for referencing the post you did for Successful Blogging. That was a nice surprise!

Great info that I’m sharing right now.
Sue

Posted by Brian Gregory  | June 25, 2015 at 5:34AM | Reply

Thanks Tor

I’ve been in business for donkeys years and would quite chearfully think myself imune to the five points that you have talked us through in the article.
It was only whilst reading your article that I realised I still have faint echoes of all these thoughts, despite being someone who ” should know better.”
These are all very limiting if allowed to go their own way without specific attention.
So thanks Tor for both bringing these to my attention again and providing antidates to these problem areas.
Great stuff – Thnaks again.
Brian

Posted by Adeel Sami  | June 25, 2015 at 1:24PM | Reply

Hello Tor,

Very pleased to read this post on Asian Efficiency!

And I can very relate everything with myself. I am guilty. I am a victim of all those myths which I and of course most of the people take them as the realities.

Starting with fear, it is the most-dangerous myth that struck the people from roots. The fear developed over the time since childhood and later, we wonder to take on new things due to fear, fear of not knowing and fear of not excelling.

And then the time. It is the thing that everyone has. Everyone can count to 24 hours without any more question. It is all that works using it right, using it on the result-oriented tasks and activities. Not by playing games on phone, watching YouTube for hours, surfing up websites after websites and complaining in the end that we don’t have time doing our work.

Use time wisely. This is we just spend it without a check and balance.

And doing things all by yourself is a matter of ego and respect which are bad. We must have to understand that things require team work. You can’t be a doctor and a pilot at the same time. Just believe in team work and give proper credits to others contributed with you.

The other myths of knowing everything and being perfect; wow! You summed them up correctly. I am guilty at them too.. Your words gave me enough senses to change myself and let go these two myths out of me.

Great post, mate! So happy to share it on my social life!

Keep rockin’!

~ Adeel

Posted by Luna Darcy  | June 25, 2015 at 6:35PM | Reply

Hi Tor,

Hello timemanagementchef! You are here and you’ve dropped some wisdom bombs. I love the ABCDE method and the Pareto Law.

Thanks for the new tips and I look forward to improving myself when it comes to productivity!

Luna

Posted by Yatin Khulbe  | June 25, 2015 at 11:21PM | Reply

Hi Tor
Thanks for highlighting the myths. I personally believe in 80/20 Pareto principle. We must focus on the 20% productive things in life to get more from them. Ya, we all have 24 hours in a day. It all depends on how we utilize precious 86400 seconds in a day.
Perfectionism doesn’t allow us to free ourselves. It stagnates our growth. Without taking a practical step, we keep thinking on making things more better only. As a result, we don’t move forward.

Posted by Tor Refsland  | June 26, 2015 at 3:30AM | Reply

Hi Sue,

thanks for stopping by to comment.

The scary thing, is that even though we have many positive routines / habits, a few of them we can stop doing over the long-run, even though we are not aware of it.

And the worst part?

Seldom are we aware that we actually stopped doing a positive routine / habit.

THAT is why it`s important to once in a while stop in your tracks…

take a deep breath, get an overview of the situation, make corrections to your routines…

and then continue.

It`s like with a space shuttle that is on it`s way to the moon, most of the time it`s actually a slightly off course.

However, by constantly monitoring the journey from point A to B and making small corrections, the shuttle will arrive its intended destination.

Thanks for commenting.

Best,

Tor

Posted by Tor Refsland  | June 26, 2015 at 3:39AM | Reply

Hi Brian,

thanks a lot for stopping by to comment and sharing from your experience.

The funny thing is that the fears that are preventing a person from reaching $10 000 in his/her business, are the same fears that prevents another person from making $100 000, and other people from making $1 000 000.

Those are words from the great expert coach, Brendon Burchard, sharing golden nuggets from his experience with coaching his successful clients.

Excuses are like belly buttons; everyone has them.

The IMPORTANT questions are, regardless of your current income:

Which MYTHS are holding you back from achieving your next big hairy goals?

and…

will you let them? ;)

Best,

Tor

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