How to measure productivity
It use to be my standard response when I was asked how I was doing. I was “busy”. Like a lot of people I wore it as a badge of honor. The busier my calendar looked and the more meetings I had the more important I felt. Performing schedule gymnastics as I juggled days filled with up to 12 to 15 meetings was the norm. That is until I read Essentialism by Greg McKeown. That man knows how to measure productivity. Because he understands that doing more, or being “busy”, does not equal being productive.
It is fair to admit that I didn’t just keep myself busy because it made me feel important. Being busy also keep my mind occupied. But, just like how you can be hungry after eating a bag full of empty calorie Doritos, having jam-packed days left me feeling unfulfilled. I was ending each day wondering what I had really accomplished. Sure, I had packed ten hours of work into an eight hour day but I all that activity wasn’t creating any momentum for myself or the business.
How to measure productivity the right way
This afternoon was when I finally realized that I needed to focus on how to measure productivity the right way. Earlier this week, and the rest of this week, my schedule is full of meetings. Today I had only one meeting. By all accounts I am less “busy” today than I am the rest of the week. Yet, I feel like I have accomplished so much more today than any other day. Why was that?
The answer was simple. Today was so much more productive of a day. Why do I say that? Because I no longer measure my productivity based on the number of meetings I have but instead I focus on the value I can add to other people during the day. For example, today in one single meeting I was able to provide a lot of valuable insights to the other people on the call. It was a 7am call called “Startup Breakfast” hosted by the folks at Startup Lexington. The best part is that I joined the call on a whim and without knowing anyone else that was attending. Yet, they welcomed me fully. In fact, we spent the time comparing notes on the startup culture in each of our cities (Lexington versus Knoxville) and I was able to give the group a lot of input about the best practices for growing a local startup culture. Not only did I walk away with some new contacts but I also felt like I had given the group some valuable information to consider.
The meeting was a reminder of why I started SouthFound in the first place. I wanted to help other entrepreneurs and startups “find their voice”.
To me that is a productive day. One where you add value to other people’s lives and their livelihoods.