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Debunking 3 productivity myths

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You may take it as a given that browsing the Internet makes you less productive, just as eating lunch at your desk makes you more productive.

According to studies, though, both of those statements may be myths.

How to Get Twice as Much Done in Half as Much Time

Myth #1: Browsing the Internet is bad for your work.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore found that web browsing can actually refresh tired workers and enhance productivity.

In their study, they cre­ated three groups of people. They asked each group to spend 20 minutes on a task, highlighting as many letter E’s as they could find in a document.

For the next 10 minutes, the researchers asked each group to do something different. The first group was given another simple task. The second group could do what­­ever they wanted, except surf the Internet. The third group could browse the Internet.

Afterward, everyone spent another 10 minutes highlighting letters.

The result? Web surfers were more productive and effective at the tasks compared to the other two groups, and they reported feeling less mentally tired or bored.

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Myth #2: Eating at your desk is a surefire way to catch up on work.

Unless your desk is removed from everyone else’s, an at-desk lunch hour is probably just as full of distractions as the rest of your day, and a less-than-dependable one for catching up on work.

Eating at your desk sometimes pays off. You’ll avoid losing time traveling to and from a lunch spot. You’ll save money. You may even leave the office earlier.

But balance that against what you’ll lose: time to stretch, process your thoughts and rejuvenate. The incremental gains of eating at your desk may not be worth it.

Myth #3: Faster is always better.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management have shown that, given an ethical dilemma, employees do the right thing more often when they’re given extra time.

In the experiments, participants could either lie or tell the truth to a counterpart. Lying resulted in a $10 payout, while telling the truth gave them a $5 payout. Some participants were asked to make a decision immediately, while others were given three minutes to think it over. Those with extra time told the truth 85% of the time, while those acting immediately told the truth only half the time.

Slowing down is often the right thing to do, especially if you want to do the right thing.

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We’ll show you how to minimize and avoid interruptions, and even work them into your schedule. We’ll also give you tips on delegating, organizing, prioritizing and avoiding procrastination. You’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

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