happy ethnic woman sitting at table with laptop

Why Rushing Through Tasks Kills Productivity

Our to-do lists are kind of getting ridiculous. It’s like we have something to do, but before we get it down we add something else to the list because we’re so productive. It feels more like a hamster wheel. It’s not even about getting things done anymore. It’s the recognition of making it happen and then searching for more. We need to keep going in order to be successful without taking a break and celebrating what was just accomplished.

This way of thinking is very stressful. It’s kind of crazy to put all your pressure of something like a clock. The pressure isn’t coming from anybody else, but yourself. When you begin to layer responsibility upon responsibility, you begin to rob yourself of the joy of the job.

Not only is hurting your mental health, but it also harms the quality of work. Trying to get through job tasks as fast as possible means you’re not thinking critically about what needs to be done. You are probably also making more mistakes. That usually means that you have to go back and fix those mistakes, which then hinders your productivity. All the rushing is giving you the illusion that you’re getting ahead, but your collaborators are actually mad because you didn’t get things done right the first time.

Tips on How to Slow Down

If you know me, you know that I work at my own pace. People do make fun of how slow I work, but it’s efficient. Here’s a few things you can do to make sure you don’t run yourself into the ground.

Be Thorough

Before going on to the next project, make sure you crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s. Make sure your work is the best it can be before turning it in.

Take Breaks

One thing I like to do between work is just take some time for myself. People feel as though they are not being productive when they aren’t doing any work, but I believe it’s the opposite. Between tasks get up to make coffee, or eat a snack. A few 10 minutes breaks out of an 8 hour day isn’t going to hurt anyone.

Create Boundaries

Everybody wants everything now. We all know from our favorite memes that expectation doesn’t always meet reality. We have to be brave to tell our coworkers and/or our boss that their expectations aren’t realistic. It’s a hard thing to say because we don’t want to be perceived that they are not up for the challenge. The thing is, if you’re not clear about how you’ll use your time, others will dictate it for you. When someone asks for a deadline, don’t let them tell you when things need to be done, but give them options on when you can get it done.

What Are the Real Goals?

Sometimes we just do things just to do them. Sometimes we have something important we have to do, but there’s a shiny new project over here. Realize that your time and resources and finite and that you cannot do everything. Yeah, even if it makes you look like the company hero. Know your purpose. It’s a great feeling when you finish work knowing you accomplished what you set out to do. Then knowing what you have to do the next day to keep it going.