Are you happy with your day-to-day productivity results? Do the things you do help to accomplish your big picture goals? Or did you just waste another weekend binging a random series on Netflix?
Sure, our body needs water and oxygen to live but time is our most precious commodity. You can’t bottle it up but it sure as hell can be bought and sold.
If you work a job, you’re exchanging time for a pre-defined amount of money. Money that you use to buy water so you can continue to suck in air and exist.
At your job, you’re expected to perform a certain amount of tasks each day. Some days you may feel very productive while on other days you feel like complete shit.
If your shitty productivity days start to impact the performance of your work this may result in getting fired.
Sadly, being more productive at a job doesn’t really equate to a tangible, measurable outcome for you.
Maybe the business has data that proves they’re getting optimal performance out of your blood, sweat, and secret bathroom breaks to spill a few tears.
But what is your productivity actually doing for you?
Productivity explained for dummies like Jef™
As air gets sucked through your nose and into your lungs, there’s something deeper happening to keep you alive.
Tiny oxygen particles, along with whatever other chemical you brought inside, are being brought into your body to perform a range of different functions. Oxygen is used by your body to create energy. That energy gets converted into useful things that keep your body alive as well as to fuel your daily habits — such as reading my daily journal (thanks for that — by the way).
Now, this isn’t a science lesson — because that would be too boring — but the point here is your body is extremely productive and it works on autopilot.
You don’t have to think twice about taking a breath unless you’re about to dive under water. If you didn’t know, humans can’t breathe underwater. Don’t try it. You’ll die.
Anyway, productivty is a lot like this natural biological process. Whenever you’re ‘in the zone’ that’s productivity at its finest. You don’t have to think about it and great things get done — maybe.
- the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.
You can measure your body’s heart rate, calculate oxygen quality, visibly experience that everything is working according to plan — becuase if you’re not breathing, you wouldn’t be reading this.
My question for you is:
- What is the purpose of your productivity? What are you trying to achieve? And — is the energy you use being used effectively?
Productivity = Results
At the beginng of this journal entry, I mentioned a generic experience of working at a job. I figured anyone reading this has worked at least one job. If not, you’re a spoiled rich brat or a smart kid with a bright future because you’re reading this today.
I mentioned a generic job because they typically provide us with a framework that guides our time, energy, effort, and attention.
When we finish our job, we are free to do whatever the fuck we want.
Go see a movie.
Make out with a lover.
Work on a side hustle.
Hook up with a stranger.
Lay down in bed with a bag of chips while binging the Witcher (I can’t wait for season 3, can you?).
In a weird way, all of activities require us to be productive. It uses up more of our time, energy, effort, and attention.
And what’s the result of all this productivity?
A hit of happines? Body shaking orgasms? Regret because you’re eating boring salted kettle chips but what you really wanted was spicy dill pickle?
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things. I imagine you’re reading this because you struggle in some way to convert your productivty into results that actually help you achieve a specific goal.
If not, you’re either a super human or a robot and I want you to get the fuck away from me and my website forever. You scare me. Now go!
Anyway, this is something that I struggle with — sometimes on a daily basis.
How do I know if today’s actions are going to become a favorable result tomorrow?
The scary answer is: you’ll never know.
Measuring Your Productivity Results
I think the best way to determine whether your productivity is getting the results you want is to share one of my strategies with you.
As a copywriter, I spend a lot of time converting ideas into measurable outcomes.
My clients come to me to solve a very basic problem for them:
“We want to grow our business. Please help us.”
That’s the simplified version but most times I’m helping my clients to:
- Sound more professional, relatable, trustworthy, etc.
- Attract more people to web pages, offers, and contact forms
- Sell more products and services
The problem I experience is:
- Creative work is a pain in the ass to price
- Time spent on projects can vary dramatically
Let me give you an example.
I have two clients called Client A and Client B. Both want to update their website with new copywriting. Client A is starting from scratch while Client B has been in business for a few years. I tell both clients that it will cost $1,000 my copywriting services. They accept my prices and I get to work.
Now, Client A is a tech company — and I love working with tech companies. We have a few meetings, hash out the details, and I get to work with excitement and delight. It takes a total of 3.2 hours to complete all the work.
Client B, on the other hand, is a boring coming — not Elon Musk’s Boring Company but an really boring fucking company. I hate this job so I procrastinate the work. I takes a total of 17 hours to complete all the work.
Even though I did the same amount of work, my productivity levels — or lack there of — resulted in an entirely different hourly wage.
- Hourly wage with Cient A: $312.50 per hour
- Hourly wage with Client B: $58.83 per hour
These are obviously made up numbers but the results of my productivity provide me with two different wages.
Why does this matter? And… what does it mean to you?
I keep track of my projects and the hours it takes to complete certain things. If it takes a long time to do a project, I can:
- Outsource to other people, although I lose some of the money earned I get more time to use on other things
- Stop taking those projects, which would allow me to focus more time, energy, effort, and attention on projects that I care about
Money is the oxygen of business and since its numerical, it can be much easier to track the performance of your productivity.
But what about other things?
Increased producitivity is a big priority for a lot of companies. I would know because I took a course in university called Organizational Psychology for a week. I dropped out because the course intro was all about how to make human beings work harder and longer so that companies can maximize their revenue. That’s what robots are for…
If you’re trying to achieve something like starting a business, being a more successful freelancer, or being a better human… find ways to track your productivity and use that data to improve your desired outcome.
As always, thanks for reading the messiness of my mind and drop a comment if you want to discuss something, talk shit, or ask me on a date. I respond to everyone.