Redefining productivity

What does productivity look like?  Piles of lists with every item ticked off, things you can point to at the end of the day and say, “Look what I did”?  Perhaps.  Or it could also look like someone chatting to a lot of people, making connections with them, or even sitting in a cafe quietly thinking.

What does productivity sound like?  Silence punctuated by the tapping of a keyboard, people having meetings in brisk, meaningful tones?  But maybe it can also be the raucous laughter of three women who hadn’t planned to meet today but find the ideas sparking and plans developing when they do.

What does productivity feel like?  Frantic, frenetic activity followed by exhausted satisfaction at a job finally finished?  Sounds worthy, but can it also feel relaxed and uplifting?

If we’re to be truly productive in our work (at home or otherwise), we need to make room for thinking time, laughter, movement and fresh air.  And maybe we need to redefine productivity to include all the things which have no tangible outcome, but which can often move us closer to one.

Harmonious lists

Sometimes it’s the simplest things which have the most profound impact.  Yesterday I made a chart of all the projects in my head, work or otherwise, and listed the things I knew needed to be done on each.  Result: a clear head, and a sense of relief that I didn’t have to keep thinking about them all, because they were written down, all together, in an orderly fashion.  I could even start to prioritise and plan.

It’s part of the drive for an integrated life, which I wrote about yesterday. Bringing everything together, acknowledging that it’s all part of the same life, can be really helpful.  It doesn’t mean that everything gets mushed together in a big mess and you have to do laundry and tax returns and business planning and all the other stuff all at the same time.  It’s not about juggling, and certainly not about multi-tasking.  (Now that’s another thing I don’t believe in, like work/life balance.)

Bringing all the parts of your life together like this makes is much easier to see which are the most pressing things, which are the biggest things, and which are the things that you simply don’t have time or mental space to do just at the moment.  (Yes, it shows jut how realistic or otherwise your plans really are!)  And whether you work at home, or outside of the home, it enables you to be very clear about boundaries between tasks.  Because if it’s all written down in the same place, it won’t be forgotten, so you can afford to focus on just one thing at a time, knowing that the others will be taken care of in their turn.

Of course, it’s one thing to write all the things down, and quite another to actually get them done.  Procrastination comes to us all.  But, in the spirit of true procrastination, I’ll post about that – tomorrow!