Productivity is measured not by crossing tasks off of a list. Productivity is measured by the outcomes you generate. That measurement is both qualitative and quantitive.
Many people should be working a lot harder. If you are not doing enough work, with enough effort, and over a long enough time, you may not be producing the result you want because you aren’t doing the work necessary. You might be lazy, but you might also be lacking the discipline to block your time and avoid the distractions that prevent you from working hard.
You may also not yet have decided on a purpose or meaning that would drive your effort, something you should do now, right now, even if it changes over time.
Most people could stand to work harder.
Other people believe the key to producing results is to work smarter. They spend their time trying to find ways to hack their work, to make it easier, to automate it, or to do things with less effort. A lot of hackers spend more time working on their hacks than they do on the work and only later discover that they would have been better off doing the work than spending infinitely more time on workarounds.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to be efficient, it can’t come at the expense of your effectiveness, and you can’t allow yourself to become addicted to trying to hack your way to great results in endeavors that require you do the work.
Most would do better by doing the right work instead of trying to work smarter.
The Right Work
If you want to be productive and reach your goals, doing the right work is more important than how hard or smart you work.
Some tasks show up in your world that have nothing whatsoever to do with your goals and initiatives, email being one of them, as is most of what shows up there. Even though you may have to complete some tasks that are not going to move the needle as it pertains to your goals, you cannot allow those things to crowd out the right work, the work that produces the results you want.
The right work is that small subset of tasks and projects that move you closer to your goals and outcomes. If you are going to work hard, put that effort against these few tasks. If you want to work smarter, make good decisions about what these tasks are, and give yourself a fighting chance by eliminating the interruptions and distractions that steal your time.
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