I’ll be the first to admit that there are possibly far too many blog posts in existence extolling the virtues of being productive.
I know that, because I’ve written a lot of them myself.
But what is productivity? It’s a bit of an ethereal thing, after all. If someone claims they are ‘ultra-productive’, what do they mean exactly? Do they spend every waking moment working in order to meet countless deadlines? Or have they discovered magical tools that enable them to get more work done in half the time?
In this blog post, I’d like to change tact a bit – dig a little deeper. Rather than providing a list of ways you can become more productive (we all have our favourites), I’m going to investigate the tangible results of productivity in everyday life.
Productivity means completing a realistic to-do list
If you set yourself a to-do list every day that screams “impossible!”, you’ll never be productive, because you’ll never get to the bottom of it.
Realistic to-do lists are unique, because they always get completed. And at the end of the day, that’s a very satisfying thing indeed.
Productivity means meeting the expectations you set
Granted, your customers or boss have their own expectations of you, but the expectations that matter the most are the ones you set yourself.
To be productive, you need to possess a deep understanding of what you’re capable of and how far you can leap outside of your comfort zone.
Productivity means being on time, every time
There’s nothing impressive about being late. No one thinks you’re too busy or important to finish something on time – they just think you don’t care.
The productive people in society finish on time, every time and they build far better working relationships as a result.
Productivity means achieving your personal goals
It’s easy to assume you need to be productive purely for the benefit of others, but the opposite is true; you need to be productive for yourself.
That means working constantly towards your own personal goals, all of which can be linked to those set by your customers or bosses.
Productivity means a clear head
Beyond the joy that comes from ticking off every to-do list item each day, productivity also results in a refreshingly clear head.
The knowledge that you’re getting stuff done when you said it would get done and to a standard of which you’re proud does wonders to your self esteem, but it also makes the time you spend with loved ones far more enjoyable (because you’ll spend less time worrying about outstanding tasks!).
Productivity means not working yourself into the ground
Perhaps the greatest misconception about productivity is that it relates to working over and above what most people would deem an acceptable number of hours.
It doesn’t. Productivity is about getting things done efficiently and in a way that doesn’t demand you devote your entire life to your work.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you’re doing something wrong.
Are you productive? Or are you kidding yourself by working harder than you need to and never quite getting to the bottom of that to-do list?
Productivity might be ethereal, but the tangible rewards it offers are as real as they come.
Mark Ellis is a freelance writer who specialises in copywriting, blogging and content marketing for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from freelance writing to workplace dynamics, technology and personal improvement.