There are lots of tools and best practices on productivity out there. I’ve written a few myself.
And there are also lots of people confusing productivity with being a workaholic. If you have been around Nonprofit Marketing Guide long enough, you know we preach a CALM not BUSY approach to nonprofit work. That includes peaceful time management and productivity.
Let’s just start with a simple fact you need to understand: You will never get it all done, and it’s time to be OK with that.
But it’s not you. It’s the workload, nonprofit culture, and how we’re trained to think about time management.
Instead of looking for the next best tool, today we are going to talk about how so much of today’s culture is designed to work against your productivity.
You need to be aware of the battle going on for your attention, focus, and energy before you can tackle any time management issues you may have.
Here are four of the biggest forces working against you:
1. The Myth of Multitasking
Our brains are not designed for multi-tasking. And yet, we proudly declare we are multi-taskers in job interviews or in meetings.
But we aren’t really multi-tasking, we are just jumping from one task to another back and forth over and over again until we maybe complete a few of the things we started.
Unfortunately, studies have shown when we multi-task, we are more likely to make mistakes and we are less efficient. Stress hormones are also released when we multi-task.
You can learn more about the dangers of multi-tasking in my post 9 Tips to Help You Celebrate Single-Tasking Day This Year.
2. Capitalism and Toxic Productivity
United States culture is very results oriented. The best qualities in a business are growth and speed.
If you don’t achieve your goals, you’re told it’s because you weren’t working “hard” enough.
The truth is there will always be more work to do. You will never finish it all. You have to find out what your “enough” is.
Find out more in these posts:
3. Software and Social Media Mind Games
Project management apps and social media especially are pushing you to spend more time on their apps or software. Whether it’s constant notifications or infinite scrolling, they want you to stay on their app.
Time spent on these platforms is a widely tracked metric used for ad buys and investor reports. This means the more time you spend on them, the more money they make (but the less time you spend actually working).
4. Nonprofit Martyr Culture
You are expected to make less, but do more because you work for a nonprofit. Your passion for the mission is what is supposed to sustain you. If you push back, you are told you don’t care enough about the children, environment, sick people, your community, etc.
For more on this, see Kivi’s post Cutting the Workaholic Martyr Crap Starts with You.
As you can see, the odds are stacked against you to be productive. Stop judging yourself when you can’t manage your to-do list. Focus on your capacity and not your productivity.