When you are running all over the office, you’d think things are getting done. But the reality of checking things off the list is that it isn’t just inefficient and ineffective, but also unproductive. However, this framework is still debatable because one person’s definition of productivity will differ from the other. We can be in a place where we are both efficient and effective and this is called the Productivity Zone. In this zone, you can also define productivity as a team so that everyone is on the same page, making work lighter, faster and fun.
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Defining Productivity and Being In The Productivity Zone
We’re going to talk about the definition of productivity. I did a radio show that I started back in 2015, and I did it for two years until I re-launched it here, and now it was called Take Charge of your Productivity. What I found was amazing is that each and every guest that I had on, I asked one simple question that was all the same. Everything else varied, depending on what the person’s background and what their expertise was, but the one question I asked everyone was, “What’s your definition of productivity and why?” What I found that was most interesting was not a single person gave me the same answer. Now, why do you think that is? What’s your definition of productivity?
Think about that. Write it down because it matters. If you’re going to be gauging and rating yourself on how productive you are, well then you need to be clear on what it is you’re rating yourself against. How will you know that you’re productive? How will you know that you’ve gotten done what makes you more productive? Because sometimes we might feel productive because we’re checking things off a list. Because our brain is getting hits of dopamine every time we check something off the list. But in reality that’s not productive. We might be busy, but that’s not necessarily productive. I want you to really think about and hone in on what’s your definition of productivity. My definition is very simple. It’s when we’re both efficient and effective. That’s why I created a framework called the Productivity Zone, which basically when we’re in the zone, we are both efficient and effective.
That means we’re not under functioning and we’re not over-functioning. We’re in the zone, that productivity zone. If you’re a runner, you may have heard of that zone before. You know, when you just start running and it feels effortless and you’re just going and you’re in the zone. You probably also had those days where you got so much done. You felt like you did more today than you did last week. You were clear, you were focused, you went in plowed ahead. You know what it feels like to be in the flow, and so but we want to be in a productive flow, which means that we’re both efficient and effective. That’s my definition and what I’d like to do in this episode is just share with you some of the people that I had on my show and what were the definitions that they gave that I think that you’ll find really, really interesting. I want you to think about those and reflect upon each and every one of them.
Also as you reflect upon your own, I want you to think about the people that you work with around you. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you work with other people, you have partners, you have other people that you interact with that you might outsource to and so forth. I want you to think about not only what your definition is, but how are you interacting with others because they might have a different definition and that might put you in a different place. You might want to also include some discussion as you’re working together to get very clear on the things that you consider to be productive work. This was actually a topic for me with one of my clients who was used to working on his own. I was a financial planner and he brought in an assistant and he was really frustrated with this assistant because they were doing studying and other types of things during the workday and that in his opinion, was something that you do after work. He has a different idea of productivity than she does.
She’s obviously being productive because she’s studying for an important exam that’s going to help her in her career and that’s going to help her in her role with him. However, they have different ideas, different expectations, and when we work with others and we have different expectations that can be a challenge. It can create resistance, it can create conflict, and so it’s important that not only do you know your definition of productivity, but you get really clear in sharing that with other people or working together to create a common definition of productivity so that everybody is on the same page. Go ahead and enjoy the definitions of those that I’ve interviewed in the past. Go ahead and enjoy this next segment with the various different definitions of productivity from people who have been on my show in the past.
Do you know what productivity really means? Do you know what it means to you, in your life, with your relationships and environment and circumstances? Are you clear on exactly what you’re here to improve? How do you define productivity and why do you define it that way?
I define productivity so much of it around what happens when you’re not in the picture. I think it is about how productive they are but I believe that quantum productivity really starts with how effective are you when you’re not in the way.
What I would define as productivity is the constructive contribution a person makes to others that results in some lasting improvement. The constructive contribution that you’re capable of making to others that result in some lasting improvement could be a better mouse trap, could be a better team, could be a better marriage.
My definition of productivity is simply an equation of productivity equals your energy divided by the resistance or energy equals the amount of time and effort it takes to accomplish a task versus the resistance of getting those tasks finished.
The ability for you to get the things done that you want to get done the things done that you want to get done while essentially optimizing your body’s ability to function during that process because a lot of people get things done. They’re burnt out, they’re stressed. They can’t do it for very long because it’s not stable. It’s really the ability to get things done in a long-term sustainable way.
Productivity is obviously wanting to have something productive come out of it. You want to produce something. I think that oftentimes we look at the quantity or we look at how many things we can cross off of our to-do list and sometimes we actually have to slow down and do less in order to ultimately have more output.
There are two aspects to a process. You have output and you have inputs. Productivity is defined by the outputs need to go up, as the inputs need to go down. In a sense, the formula for that is productivity equals output over input.
Productivity to me is really about getting to the heart of what is the absolute most important thing for me to do and then really focusing on that and ignoring every other distraction.
Now, it’s your turn. Here’s the exercise. First, write down what is your definition of productivity? Do it now. Second, what has to happen in order for you to feel productive? List those things in a piece of paper. This is your first step in enabling you to create the championship psychology so that every day you can give your 100% to get your productivity so that you feel that you’re getting the most out of every day.
What did you think? Did it make you change your definition of productivity a little bit? Did it enable you to see some other perspectives? I’m sure it did and as we open up our perspectives, we get wiser. We can be more strategic in the way that we approach things and that’s our objective here. I hope that gave you some additional reflections, some other perspectives to think about, maybe it changed your definition of productivity, or maybe it just enhanced your overall view of the topic, getting you to think in a more strategic in a wider way. That’s what this whole show is about. That was, “What is productivity?” and we’ll look forward to other great episodes that are coming up. I’m really excited of what we’ve got on deck and the people that we’ve got to interview, so make sure that you’re here for the future episode and I’ll see you in the next episode.
I hope that expanded your horizons a little bit and opened up perspectives for you to think a little bit more about what definition you’re really giving your productivity, and how you’re looking at it, and how you’re interacting with others. I’m glad that you were here and continue with us for other great episodes that are going to talk about important topics, tools, tips and books that are going to help to support you in taking back your time.
Thanks for being here for another great episode of Take Back Time. My name is Penny Zenker. I’ll see you in the next episode.