5 Myths About Productivity

Being an Executive Assistant is a highly demanding and busy role, we’re often required to work under tight deadlines and manage competing demands.

High levels of productivity are essential for success, but being “productive” can be a confusing concept. Often we mistake these 5 common states as productive when in reality they may be what is standing on our way.

5 myths about productivity:


Myth: Multitasking increases productivity.
✅ Reality: Multitasking actually decreases productivity, because when we multitask our attention becomes divided. When doing multiple things at once we are unable to give our full focus and effort to any one task which leads to mistakes, oversights, and the need to spend more time correcting errors, ultimately reducing productivity. Focusing on one task at a time will lead to higher levels of productivity over time.
👉 Tip: Turn off your email notifications. Assign certain times during the day to check your emails and turn off the notifications the rest of the time.

Myth: Working long hours increases productivity.
✅ Reality: Working long hours has been proven to increase burnout, stress levels and your likelihood of making critical mistakes. As EAs, sometimes we are unable to dictate our own schedules as we may support Executives who work irregular hours or who work long hours themselves. We also sometimes need to assist with urgent changes to schedules and plans however we need to be able to set boundaries where appropriate.
👉 Tip: Remember, burnout is not a badge of honour. If you feel as though your hours are contributing to burnout or are having an overall negative impact on your mental health it important that you communicate with your Executive. Being honest and direct with your boss can help to resolve issues and improve your overall work experience. Offer solutions to address the issue such as delegating some tasks to other team members, re-prioritizing your workload, or hiring additional support staff.

Myth: Taking breaks is a waste of time.
✅ Reality: Your brain and body need time to rest in order to function effectively. Taking a break can help boost creativity and allow for new ideas to emerge, which can lead to more innovative and effective problem-solving, they’re also recommended for our physical health, because EAs often sit for long periods of time – they physical strain can take it’s toll over time.
👉 Tip: Schedule a break in your diary and take it! Think about when you notice your focus and attention starting to dip. Stand up, get some fresh air – even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Myth: Being busy means you’re productive.
✅ Reality: Productivity is not about working harder, faster and being busier, it’s about working smarter, prioritizing tasks, and optimizing workflows to get the most important things done efficiently.
👉 Tip: Take a step back to evaluate what is actually important, ask yourself – is this task adding value? Is it making an impact on the organisation? This can help you take a big-picture look at your tasks before burying yourself in them.

Myth: Productivity is just about time management.
✅ Reality: Yes, time management is a very important part of productivity but so is prioritising, focusing, optimising workflows and utilising resources and tools to their full potential. These are also very important aspects of productivity that are often overlooked.
👉 Tip: Take a look at where you spend your time holistically. In our course The Productive EA, before we even start we ask everyone to complete pre-work which involves keeping a time tracker to allow you to clearly see where you spend your time each day. It is a very eye-opening exercise for many!

Interested to discover more about productivity and take back control of your workday? Join us in June for The Productive EA, learn the system and implement the change in just 2 days. Download your copy of our brochure below.

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