Differentiating Productivity for High Performers

Uncategorized Oct 17, 2021

We’re talking today about productivity. It's a big topic for us logical thinkers. We really thrive when we feel productive – so it's very important to understand what we mean by that.

There's a differentiator between how high performers think about productivity and how others think about productivity.

Something I usually find for myself is that when I'm looking at my list of things to do for the day, I look at the things that I know I can finish and finish more quickly. And usually, I tend to go for those first – or at least I feel that desire to go do those first, so I can cross them off and feel productive! I have this relationship with productivity that's more about volume than it is about quality. Instead, those things that are actually more important to me sit on that list day after day.

But the way that high performers look at productivity is asking themselves: Are the things that are important to me moving forward at a pace that I'm happy with? That's a much different question than: How many things can I check off my list today?

While checking off those things might feel good in that moment, as the days string together if we're not getting closer to the things that are important to us, then why are we doing all that work?

So, in order to evaluate your productivity as high performers do, you really need to know three things.

First, you need to know: What is most important to you? What are the most important projects or most important priorities for right now in your life, for this period of your life? Sometimes we don't think about that – we let the agenda of other people be our path instead of thinking about what's important to us and moving down that path.

The second thing we need to know is: Where do I want to take them? Where is this project now and where does it need to be? Where am I trying to take this area of my life?

The third thing we want to know is: What is the pace that I'm happy with? What is the movement or progression toward this that I want to see happen if I want to be there in that priority at that time? When do I want to be there by and how can I move along that in a way that matches the time available? Sometimes that question helps us figure out where we need to be allocating our time.

That's a much different view of productivity than: How many things can I get checked off my list so I can feel like I did enough at the end of the day? What really fulfills us is not the volume of tasks we complete so much as it is whether our days are really leading us towards something. So even if we can't get all the way to that goal today, if we feel like we can move toward it, that in itself – the satisfaction of spending our time in a way that's important to us – that is key and often missing in productivity.


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