Discover Your Definition of Productivity

We talk about productivity all the time—at home, in the office, here on this blog—but we may not all be talking about the same thing. Productivity has a different definition for everyone. It’s important to find your definition of productivity, otherwise you’ll never be able to evaluate your progress and judge if you’ve reached the level of productivity you would like to. Read through these possible definitions and decide what kind of productive you want to be this year.

Quantitative Productivity

For some, a productive day means doing everything you can possibly get done in the shortest amount of time. This type of productivity is all about completion. If you like to look back on your day and list all of the tasks you accomplished, you may be this kind of productive.

Be wary of two things: one, losing control as you try to finish an endless list of tasks, and two, sloppy work. Make sure that while you are doing the most you can, you are also doing the best you can.

Qualitative Productivity

Being able to get things done well, completely, and successfully may be most important to you. You may be really good at pinpointing next actions for all of your projects so that nothing gets overlooked. You know when you’ve finished a task that you’ve accomplished something exactly how you wanted to.

Beware of the perfectionist bug. You may get so caught up in the details of a project that you lose track of time. The difference between a great job and a perfect job is not that big, so be sure to use your time wisely.

Busy Productivity

To be doing something all day long is all it takes for some people to feel productive. They need to outline the day and know exactly what they will be doing when. During down time, they catch up on emails, read through reference material, make phone calls, etc. Quiet moments stress them out.

If you are this kind of productive, be careful that you don’t get burnt out. If you must be completely scheduled, schedule a few fun tasks throughout your day as stress relievers.

Tangible Products

Some people need to actually produce something to feel productive. They need to hold a product in their hand that shows the results of their labors. They can work all day, but still feel unproductive without having something to show for their efforts. Find a way to validate your efforts if you usually need tangible proof of your work. Between products, review your minor and major successes on the road to production. If that doesn’t work, don’t think in terms of days. Evaluate your productivity in terms of projects.

Balanced Productivity

When, at the end of the day, you feel you have had a productive day because you had time for work, friends, family, and yourself, your kind of productivity is balanced productivity. You are good at separating elements of your life and making sure each element receives the attention it deserves.

On days when you feel unbalanced, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is difficult to maintain a healthy balance, and you may be doing a better job than you think if this is the kind of productive you are.

Did you find a definition that resonated with you? Be sure to keep your personal productivity definition in mind as you try out new techniques and tools. Then, if something doesn’t work for you, you will have a way to see why.

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