This may sound funny as someone who makes a living in the business of productivity, but here it is. I hate the word productivity. (Should have thought of that before we named our business, huh?)
What is Productivity?
Productivity is a measure of output: how many tasks you completed, how much work you did, how many chores you checked off the list, how much closer you got to a goal. By it’s very nature, to measure productivity is to place a high value on doing more (and more efficiently too).
It’s telling that for many of my clients our coaching becomes not about doing more at all, but doing less. Our bodies and our brains need leisure to recover from the stress and activity of daily life, and when we honor this the time we do spend working is both more efficient and more enjoyable.
An Example of Rethinking Productivity
One recent client hired me to work on being more productive at work. She works in a high stress job and the demands were taking a heavy toll. During a coaching session this same client told me that what she really wanted was more time for beauty and fun in her life. Shortly thereafter she started making time in the evenings to work on her favorite small crafting projects, giving her true leisure time that provides both fun and beauty.
Here’s the magic: Despite the fact that we had not yet addressed a single work issue, her stress levels decreased dramatically, and she was much more able to cope with her high stress job. Even better, now there is some space for us to create the change that she wants to make at work because she isn’t using all of her energy simply surviving every day.
If productivity is simply the measure of output, I invite you to consider all of the things that are important to you that productivity simply cannot measure.
Bottom line: Humans are not machines. You are more than your output.