Productivity Lie #7: take work home with you

This is happening, regardless that both instances usually lead to a certain amount of guilt, lower productivity and hampered in-office output.

I was invited back to work with a second group of senior leaders to improve their time management. Our ‘Productive Time’ programme is concise, direct and immediately actionable which is just what this team of go-getters needed. The problem was that they were six months into their leadership development programme and to-date had not been challenged to question certain beliefs that actually didn’t serve them well.

Young John was sitting at the back of the room; he was eager to learn, contributed to the team exercises, hung on my every word … up until now. He wasn’t happy with what I was telling him … “stop taking work home.”

What productivity lies are you telling yourself?

PRODUCTIVITY LIE #7: You need to take work home with you

Too many of our clients are in the habit of taking work home. They religiously pack their work bag, zip it up, carry it to the car, drive home, take it out, and then one of two things happen:

  1. They actually do the work they had planned to do
  2. They leave the bag unopened

This is happening, regardless that both instances usually lead to a certain amount of guilt, lower performance and hampered in-office output. Simply put, taking work home with you is counterproductive.

The three things you can do right now:

1. Ban the workbag.

Not always practical I know, but without the workbag, there is nothing to pack.

Disclaimer: if you absolutely have to take stuff home for, well, maybe for security reasons or something similar, take it home knowing you will not be doing anything with it. Better yet, leave it in your boot.

2. Fill your work hours and not your day

When you think you have 24 hours to fill with work, there is no immediate need to work smarter. Crunching your workday down to the prescribed hours you’ve been hired to work means you need to get down and work. Stop dawdling, and practice: get in – get it – get out.

3. Use a timetable.

You remember having a timetable at school, it being the single thing that helps a harried teenager with structure and planning? Well, bring a version of this back into the workplace by creating a weekly blueprint for your workday. Knowing what you need to do when, takes away the guesswork so you have less wasted time.


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