Living a life of productivity is definitely a worthy pursuit. However, the term is thrown around so much nowadays that the actual definition has lost its importance. “Productivity” has become yet another catch phrase used in employee training seminars and self-help techniques. Many people have an obscured understanding of what it means to be productive, wasting valuable time that could be allocated far more effectively.
This in due in part to the fast-paced, results driven nature of our society. We are expected to produce more in less time than probably ever before. Unfortunately, this can often have the opposite effect. More than anything else we possess; our time is our most valuable resource. It cannot be stored, regained, or increased. That being said, using your time as optimally as possible is of the utmost importance.
To hopefully provide some clarity into what productivity actually entails, here are three things honestly ask yourself when thinking about how you are choosing to spend your time.
Busy & Productive Are Not Synonymous
This is probably the biggest misconception in regard to what it means to be productive. Just because you are constantly doing something and on the go all the time, a full schedule does not necessarily equate to a productive one. Being productive means you are actually getting something done. It is extremely easy to be jumping from one task to another, shifting your focus and attention every five minutes all in the name of “multi-tasking.”
Every now and then, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you are actually accomplishing anything. For example, after a five-hour stint on your computer at work, take a look at the end result. Have you produced something of value that was not there when you first sat down at your desk? Never confuse being busy with being productive.
Progressing Towards Something
Although this somewhat piggybacks off of the above thought, this tip deserves its own discussion. A lot of people get into the “grind” mentality and spend hours upon hours blindly working at irrelevant things. Once again, this may or may not indicate productivity. With anything that you dedicate a significant portion of your time to, there should be an end goal in mind.
Regarding this goal, you should have a well-understood path of how you plan on attaining it. Productivity involves a linear path from where you are right now to what you want to get done. If you are working hard just for the sake of working hard, you run the risks of wasting valuable time and energy. It is always important to consider your “why” before you allocate your valuable time to any task.
Although achieving anything worthwhile certainly involves hard work and focus, overall productivity does not mean neglecting every other area of your life in the process. For example, if you want to transform your body and get in better shape, how beneficial will the end result be if you neglect your closest relationships, work responsibilities and other important commitments along the way?
Being truly productive means nurturing every aspect of who you are, even during the pursuit of something specific. Sure, there are going to be times when more of your time and energy is going to be allocated to one thing in particular. Just make sure that not ALL of it is! As a human being, you are a lot of things at the same time.
Make sure that important areas of your life are not falling behind due getting caught up in what you consider being “productive.”