The Productivity Secret Nobody is Talking About

How to get more done in less time? Productivity is on everyone’s mind and there is an ever-growing supply of “productivity porn”—apps, books, and wearable devices—created to help us cram more into each day. We assume that by working harder and doing more, we will become more efficient. But are we?

Research from Harvard Business School suggests the opposite to be true. A study entitled, Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance, demonstrates how taking time to reflect on work, rather than immediately switching to a new task, improves job performance. As the lead researcher, Francesca Gino concluded that, now more than ever we seem to be living lives where we’re busy and overworked, and our research shows that if we’d take some time out for reflection, we might be better off. Contrary to what you may believe, seeming “time-wasters” like a walk around the block, watching a funny video and lingering at the water-cooler, will recharge you and enhance focus.

Socializing deserves a special mention. Students who took a 10-minute break from studying to have a conversation with a friend did better on a test than those who kept their noses buried in a book. Yes, you read it correctly; less studying and more social interaction yielded better results. Just a short period of interaction resulted in improved problem-solving skills.

The Productivity Secret Nobody is Talking About

Photography: Ivanka Trump

Pressing pause leads to greater productivity.

Here are seven counterintuitive strategies to get more done by doing less

1 | No eating “on the go” or at your desk

Take a real break for lunch.

2 | Get some fresh air

Just 10 minutes will help clear your head.

3 | Is Jon Snow alive?

Chat with a co-worker about something non-work related.

4 | Make a coffee run

Volunteering to do a favour for others will boost your energy.

5 | Go have a conversation—face to face

Instead of emailing a colleague, get up from your desk and interact with them in person.

6 | Breathe, just breathe

Taking time to reflect on a task will enable you to see the bigger picture.

7 | Lose the stopwatch

Measure productivity by results, not the number of hours you spend on a given task.

Be productive, not busy.

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