The Meaning of Productivity
Written by Tamara Lackey and published by All in One Life on July 4th 2013
There is a major emphasis nowadays on time management. On getting as productive as we possibly can in the time allotted to us, just so we can get through our rather packed days.
Getting smarter about how we spend our time is not a bad thing. In fact, becoming more efficient with streamlining our tasks is one of the smarter ways to manage our burgeoning lists.
But knowing whether an activity is productive or unproductive is when we really strike gold. Just getting through things faster is not nearly as powerful as eliminating tasks we don’t really need to be doing.
How do you define a task as productive? Look at the task and ask one simple question: does doing this move me closer to my desire outcome? There’s some pre-homework involved here, of course. You have to know, in advance, what your desired outcome even is. If you’re just moving through your day knocking out tasks simply because they are in front of you, your problem isn’t time management, it’s self-management.
Clarity is key to truly managing your time well. What, exactly, do you most care about accomplishing? When you are really clear about what you want to achieve, you can eliminate any actions that don’t bring you closer to that outcome.
Take, for instance, a morning breakfast with your daughter. Perhaps spending an hour at the local café with your elementary-aged child isn’t the best use of the time you could spend catching up on email. But if you know that what you most want to accomplish is to build strong and active relationship with your child, and you’re quite clear on that, you can stop beating yourself up about not getting through your inbox. Because you accomplished the bigger goal! And the feel of that win can often fortify you with more stamina to tackle an unruly inbox than starting out your day feeling like you’re behind in everything that matters to you, but you just hadn’t put words to.
Sometimes it’s all just a matter of reclassifying what we call productive use of our time.