The topic of productivity is widespread and is used to gauge success in most organizations. It is also a measure used on performance reviews to describe output or efficiency. Webster's dictionary defines it as the rate at which goods are produced or work is completed. We all drive ourselves crazy trying to be productive without understanding why we may not be. There is tonnage on the marketplace and a litany of "how to" books that profess to have the keys to productivity.
Yes, there are lessons to be learned by reading books and making lists that we can follow. Most often, we fall back into old patterns of behavior once the novelty wears off and we can then tell ourselves "my heart wasn't really into that anyway." The reason that this often happens is that we are forcing something to happen, doing it robotically or doing it because we were told rather than experiencing it and enjoying it. We have a choice and can break old habits if we tune into what works for each of us and better understand what drives us.
When are we our most productive selves? What drives our creativity and success? I have learned that I am most productive when I am passionate about something, when my pulse races with excitement, when I am motivated, or when I can't wait to begin the project or adventure. The hints here are that each of us has our own internal compass that tells us what turns us on, helps us understand the choices or guides us in the right direction. Words like focus, planning and organization come to mind when I think about productivity, and they are all good. Some people must have finite schedules that they follow, others need help to get it all done and still others need time to think. However, without the spark, enjoyment, or excitement about the work, productivity is often compromised.
Understand that if we choose to continue doing boring, stalemate things that feel mundane, we will be less productive because we are not engaged and sometimes resentful. We can light the fuse by tapping in to our sweet spot and doing things that energize us instead of things that sap our energy.
In the December issue of Fast Company, there were several case studies on productivity. While these two on Kevin Hart and Melinda Gates are not prescriptive, and may not be for you, they do give clues on how to claim your own sweet spot.
Throughout her career, Gerri has brought fresh ideas and enlightened people strategies to all of the organizations that she has been privileged to work with.