‘Productivity’ means different things in different settings. One person might spend an hour exercising in the morning before dropping the kids at school and consider the day a success. Another might opt to use that time locked in her office, returning emails and calling a few clients, and feel equally accomplished.
A research scientist or artist may see productivity in failed experiments or discarded canvases since each mistake, they hope, gets them closer to discovery, while an engineer’s measure of productivity might focus on making an assembly line ever faster. A productive weekend might involve walking through the park with your kids, while a productive workday involves rushing them to day care and getting to the office as early as you can.
Productivity is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least effort.… It’s not simply a product of spending longer hours at your desk or making bigger sacrifices.
Rather, productivity is about making certain choices in certain ways. The way we choose to see ourselves and frame daily decisions; the stories we tell ourselves, and the easy goals we ignore; the sense of community we build among teammates; the creative cultures we establish as leaders: these are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.
From “Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business”