Thoughts on Productivity

The traditional economic business definition of productivity is a simple equation:

Productivity = Output / Input

You either need to increase output compared to the input or decrease the input compared to the output. If you produce 5 widgets in one hour compared to someone who produces 4 widgets in the same period then you’re more productive.

It’s less simple when we start discussing our personal productivity. Being productive seems to mean something different to everyone. Do you have a clear idea of what being productive means to you? Are you just Getting Things Done or are you more intentional about the things you pursue?

I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to take a few minutes and think about what defines a productive day for you? Maybe it’s simply about feeling productive rather than being productive?

The comments on a blog post by Chris Bailey highlights many different viewpoints.

Steve Pavlina defines it like this:

Productivity = Value / Time

I like this definition. It encompasses what most people are trying to achieve — doing more in less time. You get to define what Value means to you.

For me it means doing the right work more effectively and efficiently. Working smarter not harder. I do not want to be doing work that doesn’t provide value. In the [Essentialist]1 way of thinking, doing less but better. By discerning the vital few from the trivial many means I can leave the rest without guilt. This allows me more time to spend as I choose.

Building habits and routines enable me to produce my best work on a consistent basis. They help me put systems in place to prevent me reverting to my default (lazy) behaviours.

Consider this my productivity creed.

I would love to hear what yours is and how you try to achieve it.

  1. Essentialism by Greg McKeown


Got any questions or comments? Drop me a message on Twitter (@elaptics).