How to Define Productivity

superheroyou how to define productivity

At SuperheroYou, we talk a lot about the importance of being productive. But productivity is tough to define because it’s so subjective. For one person, productivity might mean getting as much done in as little time as possible. For another, productivity might mean spending a lot of time perfecting one project.

Not sure what being productive means to you? Don’t worry! We’ve got a few tips to help you figure it out:

  • Don’t confuse being productive with being busy: Whatever your definition of productivity is, it has to focus on output. So having a ton of meetings scheduled – unless those meetings end in clear action steps and don’t waste too much time – is not the same as being productive. You can learn more about this trap of busyness here.
  • Make it measurable: If you can’t measure your definition of productivity, then how will you know if you’re being productive? Make sure there’s a quantifiable goal you’re working towards. You don’t want to be able to fool yourself into thinking you were productive if you actually weren’t.
  • Consider feelings: As important as it is to get your work done, you don’t want to be miserable or make others miserable as you do it. So it’s important to include your feelings and work-life balance in your definition of productivity. Staying at work until 12AM shouldn’t count as productive by anybody’s standard – even if you did finish your report.
  • Separate your definitions: What counts as productivity when working on a presentation isn’t necessarily the same as what counts as productive when you’re reading through your emails. While a general overarching definition of productivity is useful, tweak it to fit different tasks. And don’t be afraid to edit your definition if it just isn’t working.
  • It’s not just about work: Similarly, being productive isn’t limited to your office. You can be more productive in your personal life, whether it’s in the kitchen or when chatting with a mentor. So decide what being productive means those areas.
  • Work backwards: You might not know what being productive means to you – but you definitely know what being unproductive means. If you’re having trouble, imagine the least productive day you can. Write it out if you have to – you show up to work half an hour late, get bogged down by email and are still working through it at 10AM when your boss calls a meeting you don’t need to be in, and then you receive a bunch of extra work so you have to stay late to finish the client presentation due Friday.
  • Involve others: Whether you’re trying to be productive in your professional or personal lives, there are always people who can help you decide what you need to do. Ask your boss what he/she expects you to have done by the end of each day. Is there something you’re dropping the ball on – or some way you can do more? Or ask your spouse how you can help your household run more smoothly.

Liked this? Check out How to Save Time and Energy on Your Commute!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

At SuperheroYou, we talk a lot about the importance of being productive. But productivity is tough to define because it’s so subjective. For one person, productivity might mean getting as much done in as little time as possible. For another, productivity might mean spending a lot of time perfecting one project.

Not sure what being productive means to you? Don’t worry! We’ve got a few tips to help you figure it out:

  • Don’t confuse being productive with being busy: Whatever your definition of productivity is, it has to focus on output. So having a ton of meetings scheduled – unless those meetings end in clear action steps and don’t waste too much time – is not the same as being productive. You can learn more about this trap of busyness here.
  • Make it measurable: If you can’t measure your definition of productivity, then how will you know if you’re being productive? Make sure there’s a quantifiable goal you’re working towards. You don’t want to be able to fool yourself into thinking you were productive if you actually weren’t.
  • Consider feelings: As important as it is to get your work done, you don’t want to be miserable or make others miserable as you do it. So it’s important to include your feelings and work-life balance in your definition of productivity. Staying at work until 12AM shouldn’t count as productive by anybody’s standard – even if you did finish your report.
  • Separate your definitions: What counts as productivity when working on a presentation isn’t necessarily the same as what counts as productive when you’re reading through your emails. While a general overarching definition of productivity is useful, tweak it to fit different tasks. And don’t be afraid to edit your definition if it just isn’t working.
  • It’s not just about work: Similarly, being productive isn’t limited to your office. You can be more productive in your personal life, whether it’s in the kitchen or when chatting with a mentor. So decide what being productive means those areas.
  • Work backwards: You might not know what being productive means to you – but you definitely know what being unproductive means. If you’re having trouble, imagine the least productive day you can. Write it out if you have to – you show up to work half an hour late, get bogged down by email and are still working through it at 10AM when your boss calls a meeting you don’t need to be in, and then you receive a bunch of extra work so you have to stay late to finish the client presentation due Friday.
  • Involve others: Whether you’re trying to be productive in your professional or personal lives, there are always people who can help you decide what you need to do. Ask your boss what he/she expects you to have done by the end of each day. Is there something you’re dropping the ball on – or some way you can do more? Or ask your spouse how you can help your household run more smoothly.

Liked this? Check out How to Save Time and Energy on Your Commute!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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