There’s one curious thing that I’ve noticed recently. Do you know when you start a conversation, put up a beautiful argument and the other person totally agrees? It’s awesome, isn’t it? But, then, when she starts speaking, you realize that, although she’s using very similar words to the ones you used, when she rephrases it, she means something totally different.
If you notice, you’ll see that the phenomenon is really curious and happens all the time. Sometimes, it leads you to a very interesting conversation, in which you realize something that you had never thought about before. Other times, it leads you to misinterpretations and everything bad that comes with them. The thing here is: the same words have very different meanings, depending on the order, sentence or personal interpretation. And that’s how we get to productivity.
Before I start writing this blog post, I challenged myself to define the term “productivity” with a very specific definition that everyone agrees with and fully understands, without questioning. Guess what: I couldn’t. First, because being productive is something really personal; and, second, because most the words I used to define “productivity” also could have very different interpretations.
So, I looked in the dictionary and here’s what I found. According to Business Dictionary, productivity is:
“A measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.
Productivity is computed by dividing average output per period by the total costs incurred or resources (capital, energy, material, personnel) consumed in that period. Productivity is a critical determinant of cost efficiency.”
But how does this definition apply to your personal life? And what’s exactly your input and output? Is productivity something that can be fully translated into numbers? Can we distinguish productivity from being productive?
Personal definition of productivity
Though I couldn’t get to a specific definition of productivity that can be used by everyone, I got to one that applies to me. Personally, I believe that being and feeling productive is about maximizing efficiency in order to create the highest impact to yourself and the ones around you.
And now you ask: that’s incredible, but what do you mean with “impact” and, again, what’s “efficiency”? I surely can’t give you a close definition, but it’s about making the most of what you got in order to get the most out of it. It’s about giving your best (or what you think is the best) in the situation you are in.
To get the most out of everything, you need to figure out the motivation behind each task. Sometimes it’s really simple to understand it, sometimes it’s hidden. That’s where the challenge begins.
The best way to understand this is looking for yourself. Imagine you’re to-do-lists. Why do you do them? Just to simply be organized? Do you want to do more in less time? Do you want to spend more time with your friends? Or do you want a mix of it all? In other words, what’s your hidden, true motivation? Find it, and you’ll be capable of improving your impact, be more efficient and then… be and feel productive. Well, no one said it was easy. 😉