Productivity and the Art of Getting Stuff Done

I recently had a chat with a very wise young friend of mine about Productivity. I had noticed that I used the word “productive” a lot to measure how my day had been. Katie  (you can read her blog by clicking here) said that she had recently completed a challenge she had set herself to tick off her productivity for 100 days. I liked that idea. We discussed what productivity actually looked like and how you could determine whether you had been productive or not on any given day. Would that then lead to needing to do more than just say you had or had not been productive? Would you then need a traffic light system to say just how productive you had been? And then how would you decide what was amber and what was green? Questions lead to more questions don’t they?

Is it important to you to be productive? Do you find yourself asking whether you have had a productive day or beating yourself up when you think you haven’t been productive?

Focus on being productive instead of busy – Tim Ferris 

Before we can really answer these questions, I thought it would be useful to start with the basics.

What is productivity?

The dictionary defines productivity as the effectiveness of productive effort as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. The Business Directory defines it as a measure of efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.

So productivity is more than just “getting stuff done” and ticking things off a list, it is about the effectiveness and efficiency with which you do it. Maybe that is why I get that niggling feeling that I haven’t been very productive, even when i have ticked off my list – perhaps I know too well the amount of faffing about that I have done at the same time!

But what does “effective” and “efficient” mean? How do you measure those? So the dictionary says that “effective” means to be successful in producing a desired or intended result and that “efficient” means achieving maximum productivity with minimum effort or expense, working in a well-organised and competent way.

Simple then!

In order to be effective, I need to have a desired outcome – as Stephen Covey in ” Habits of Highly Effective People” says, we need to “Begin with the end in Mind.” You have to know exactly what you want to achieve in order to measure whether you have achieved it.  You need to define your goal.

In order to be efficient, you need to waste minimum effort, be well-organised and competent at what you are doing. Put simply: make sure you have what you need so you don’t waste time, don’t get distracted by other tasks (get off Facebook!) and get it done!

So now we have a formula: Effectiveness + Efficiency = Productivity. Fantastic!

The next step is to shut up that nagging voice in your head that then tries to evaluate your productivity for you! But that’s a whole other post!

If you struggle to get stuff done efficiently and effectively and want some more tips and hints download my free help sheet click here: 5 rules of productivity and the art of getting stuff done! And if you need some personal guidance, why not get in touch by emailing me  or contacting me on Facebook for a chat to see if coaching can help you become more productive.

Have a productive week!