You can never have too much of a good thing, right? Especially when it comes to being productive? Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. In our seemingly eternal quests for productivity, sometimes we can overdo it.
We can become so consumed with being productive that it is actually causing us harm — in the form of mental and physical stress or poor work-life balance.
Being productive is a good thing. Being obsessively productive is not. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you’ve gone too far:
What is your end goal?
Before you begin working on a project, determine what your ultimate goal is. Not only will this give you something solid to work towards but it also help you figure out when you can stop. Setting goals will help you avoid doing more work than you need to.
How are you moving towards that goal?
Likewise, setting goals will also help you better understand what you need to do in order to reach those goals. You can be working, thinking you’re being productive. In reality, you might working towards the wrong goals. Create checkpoints for yourself. At every checkpoint, stop what you’re doing and determine if you’re making the progress you should be.
Are your other projects hurting?
While you may be making great progress on one project, is it at the expense of your other projects? This is a good reason to prioritize all your to-dos every week. Make sure you are working on your most urgent projects, without letting anything slip through the cracks.
Are you feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
It’s hard to step back and dial down your productivity sometimes – even when you’re feeling completely stressed out or overwhelmed. The pressure of finishing something and doing it well can be a lot to handle. If you’re feeling like you’re being consumed by your work, reassess how well you are managing your time. Remember that it’s OK to say no to something – you only have 24 hours in a day.
Is your search for the ultimate productivity process causing you to be unproductive?
There are a growing number of productivity apps, programs and self-help books that all promise to help us achieve max productivity and happiness. Many of these are excellent, and be very helpful. It is easy, however, to become obsessive about testing each one of these programs (or combinations thereof) to try to achieve productivity perfection. I know this from personal experience — in addition to conversations I’ve had with like-minded entrepreneurs. My advice? Pick one program and stick with it for a while. Sure, it may not be great for you — but constantly searching and experimenting with new programs will leave you less productive and super-stressed.