Are productivity tools crowding our workspace? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:10 PM, October 03, 2020

Are productivity tools crowding our workspace?

The steep rise in options for productivity assistance for students and professionals alike has presented an important question regarding productivity tools: How much is too much?

Productivity tools are anything that provides physical or digital assistance in organizations, time management, storage, etc. If you try to google what apps you should download on your phone to aid you in your quest to make yourself more efficient, you will come up with at least 15 different things you need to reach the optimum level of work output when you are working from your home or office's desk, or 10 apps that you need to boost productivity. Following these suggestions might backfire on you if you do not create a space that has room to be flexible and relaxing. At the end of the day, productivity is about getting more things done in a lesser amount of time, not about spending more money and creating a false sense of work efficiency. Here are some reasons as to why that may happen:

Need for Space

Your desk or workspace needs an area for you to move around while you work. This movement can be anything, a few examples may include where you like to keep your highlighters while you study, being able to change the location of your mousepad if you use one or the position of your laptop that you want to be able to change depending on the hour of the day. If you have a binder for your files and an organizer for your other paper supplies, that might take up too much of the upper shelf region of your desk. Many minimalists encourage not overcrowding your upper shelf because it creates a false sense of pressure on you because of having a big mass looming over your head. Having too many items around you while you are trying to learn something or get your creative juices flowing might lead to you getting distracted when you are trying to concentrate. Losing concentration in the middle of work is what leads to procrastination, as your mind tries to escape when you are using it more than regular. Lesser number of items on your table will give you more room to work with fewer causes for distractions, which will increase your desire to work.

More Choices More Confusion

If you have fewer items for your work, it will allow you to choose quickly than you would have with multiple options. Office supply companies will often promote sales on big collections of organizers or your favourite sharpies that will supposedly increase the quality of your work life. Reality might turn out to be quite different because the more options you have, the more time you will waste behind deciding which suits your mood today the most. While personalizing your experience from multiple options may seem like a fun thing to do, you will end up wasting time trying to make that choice.

Myth of Multitasking

Popular apps like Trello, Slack, Wunderlist are continuously promoted as a tool that will aid in multi-tasking management and multitasking is seen as an ultimate way to boost productivity. But studies have shown that multitasking actually ends up decreasing efficiency. When you start a new task and your consciousness engages itself to get used to the work, it goes through a mental gear of control. If you switch between your tasks, it takes longer for your mental makeup to cope with the adjustment and bring your focus, costing your precious time to be wasted. These productivity app promotions also encourage a high volume of work and are often featured on blogs by YouTubers who encourage a productive lifestyle by showing the wide range of different activities they are able to go through simultaneously every day. Individuals promoting deep focus believe this a bad work trend to set. Practising minimalism not just in the number of apps you use, but also in the use of the apps you do have is what they would recommend.

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