The productivity I’m talking about here is personal productivity — the return you get on the time you put into projects.
If you’re procrastinating a lot and using your time poorly, you might feel that you need to improve your productivity. This can be achieved through various techniques and routines that ensure you’re focusing on the right tasks and avoiding distraction.
Where I stand
As I see it, productivity consists of two main parts:
- Using the time you spend on tasks in a productive way, avoiding distraction and procrastination (AKA efficiency)
- Ensuring you’re spending time on the right tasks (AKA effectiveness)
I’ve written about the dangers of focusing exclusively on efficiency whilst neglecting effectiveness – you keep busy and ‘productive’, but ultimately you’re doing things that are of low value to you. This is a big trap that I think it’s easy to fall into if you blindly follow (like I did in the past) the advice of productivity ‘experts’. Luckily you can avoid the trap pretty simply — check out my post on work-related lessons I learnt after quitting my job.
As Oliver Burkeman talks about in his fantastic article on why time management is ruining our lives, productivity can have its dark side. If you’re constantly focused on being productive you can lose sight of why you’re even working – you start living to work rather than working to live. Although studying productivity techniques can be an incredibly effective way to make your work time more efficient, I recommend taking things slow. Throwing yourself in headfirst might mean that you come up for air in a few months time questioning why you suddenly felt the need to spend all your time working.