You’re not being productive.
You’re simply getting more stuff done (and probably not even important stuff).
So stop telling me you’re a very “productive” person.
Because productivity actually means getting MORE stuff done with LESS effort.
Output vs. Input
The actual definition of the word, productivity, is: The effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
The rate of output per unit of input.
Notice the definition doesn’t simply say “as measured in terms of units of input.”
It’s all about the rate of output.
As I like to say in my Create More Time coaching course, true productivity is about finding the shortest, straightest, simplest route to your desired outcomes (or outputs).
Yet so many people think they’re being productive simply by increasing the amount of inputs in their day.
The Right Stuff
Were you productive today?
Many times, when I ask that question, I get the following response: “Yes, I got a ton of stuff done today.”
When I delve deeper, however, I find that “stuff” is simply defined as a long list of to-dos — many of which may or may not have an actual real impact on the outcomes that person is trying to achieve.
Our days become defined by these task lists.
Simply churning and grinding out inputs with no real progress toward a desired outcome.
The hamster keeps spinning, and the spinning seems to define whether or not we are “productive”.
It’s complete lunacy.
When many people are asked, “what’s your secret to productivity,” they answer: “Well, I start working earlier” or “I get up at 5 a.m.” or “ I stay at the office later.”
That ain’t productivity. It’s called doing more work.
But are you getting the right stuff done?
Have you defined clear outcomes for your year, your month, your week and your day — and then reversed engineered it to determine the actual essential inputs that will most efficiently get you to those outcomes?
If not, you’re not being productive, you’re simply working more.
Rise and Flow
While we’re talking about the meaning of words, let’s also talk about the popular term, “grind.”
Entrepreneurs, business owners and executives are told they have to “grind” to be successful. So many of them define their days and their “productivity” by how hard they grind.
When I worked in political campaigns, so many “experts” would judge the effectiveness of campaigns by how late or early their campaign teams were working.
That kind of mentality is what causes the caffeine- and Red Bull-fueled burnout culture in business startups.
It’s what leads so many people to fit 5 hours of work in a 15 hour day.
It’s easy to become so focused on these external expectations or inputs that we lose sight of what defines real success: Are you meeting your desired outcomes?
So instead of “Rise and Grind,” I like to say, “Rise and Flow.”
Because when you are working within your zone of strength, focusing on the essential outcomes, and auditing out all the B.S. inputs that waste our time and burn us out — you can get in the flow.
That’s when you lose track of time because your work becomes almost effortless.
You flow like water, instead of grinding ourselves into the ground.
Create More Time
When you meet people who constantly say they are “too busy” (it may be you!) it’s likely that they feel that way because their days are chock full of B.S. inputs that may or may not make any sense given their desired outcomes.
When you change that mentality, and begin making better choices about how you spend your time — it feels like you are actually creating more time in your day.
If you’d like help creating more time, please click here to register for my Create More Time course.
Stop feeling “too busy.”
Stop measuring your day by how much random stuff you get done.
Start being truly productive and knocking your desired outcomes out of the park — with less effort.