How productive are you really?


Are you the king of your jungle?  Master of your own domain (oh wait…that’s something completely different)!  😉

What I’m getting at is do you feel like you’re in full control of your time and what you do with it?  Are you productive?

If you’re like most people, that answer is a resounding NO!  You’re buried in emails, crushed by voicemails, swamped with action items and you hate to even think about the things that are buried somewhere on your desk.

What you really need is to get more done…be more productive…or is it?

I’m pulling together an extended workshop on productivity in today’s over connected world and I started thinking about the whole concept of productivity.  From an economic or manufacturing perspective, productivity is the measurement of output per labor hour.  In other words, how many units of work can you get done in an hour.

But here’s the problem with that definition:  Let’s say your company is creating 100 x-type widgets per day and by working really hard, extending your hours, finding a few shortcuts and yelling at people a lot, you manage to increase your output of x-type widgets to 150 per day.  Most people would call that a 50% increase in productivity.

150 x-type widgets / 100 x-type widgets = 150% growth in productivity

However, what you may not realize…or maybe just didn’t think about is that nobody wants x-type widgets anymore!  You’ve worked really hard to get a lot of stuff done that’s not important!

I don’t make widgets!

Now of course you don’t make widgets (x-type or otherwise) very few people do these days – it’s kind of a lost art.  However you do have a lot of tasks that you do all the time, things you create, stuff that you do.

What are the odds that you are spending time and effort becoming more productive at stuff that really doesn’t matter?

Which is better – becoming really efficient at creating your payroll entries in QuickBooks so that it only takes you a couple of hours every other week…or figuring out a way for someone else to cost effectively do your payroll for you and not spending any time on it at all?

How about developing a really elaborate system for responding to and filing emails…that really don’t help you create anything?

What if productivity wasn’t really about getting more things done? There are only 24 hours in the day, no matter how hard you work.

What if productivity was about getting more of the right things done, even if that meant doing less overall?  Wouldn’t that be the goal to shoot for? 

Stay tuned for more ideas on how to get to that outcome!

What are your thoughts on productivity?  Are you thoughtful about how you spend your time?  Do you challenge yourself and your team on what they’re working on all the time?  I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach