❌ Newsflash: Productivity is keeping you stuck on the “working all hours” hamster wheel.
The definition of productivity is, quite literally, the amount of output you produce. The more you can fit into a day, the more “productive” you are.
And as someone juggling a lot, achieving peak productivity used to feel like the holy grail for me.
“If only I could learn how to get more things done!” I used to think, “I can finally reach my endgame and FINALLY start working less!”
Sounds good in theory, buuuut…
Here’s what happened.
I DID learn how to get more things done.
In fact, I managed to achieve more in a week than just about anyone else I knew.
And the BY PRODUCT of that?
Is that I was then able to fit even MORE in… and so the hamster wheel continued, faster and faster and faster.
Get more things done > Able to take on more things > Repeat.
I never ended up working LESS, I was just getting way more DONE in the hours I worked.
The more productive I was, the more I could do.
The more I could do, the more I could take on.
And because I had set “work times”, what that meant is that I was never doing LESS… I was simply squeezing more and more in.
One day, I had a penny drop moment…
Maybe, I thought, it’s not actually about getting more TASKS done in a day.
Maybe instead, it’s installing more operational elegance into my business and how I do things SO THAT the business can be more effective, and ultimately need me less.
It was a defining moment, and in today’s podcast episode, I am going to share with you five things that I started doing that finally got me OFF the productivity hamster wheel and towards the work/life balance I was doing it all for in the first place.
Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify
The secret to working LESS isn’t about doing more — it’s about doing less.
Which is a huge mind F*%$ for most of us, conditioned to believe that MORE is the secret to, well, more.
I invite you to shift your goal from one of PRODUCTIVITY, to one of EFFICIENCY.
Productivity measures quantity and raw performance (number of hours, things done).
Efficiency measure the QUALITY of the output, how well you do something and the impact of the output on resources (time, energy, money). Productivity is brute force, efficiency is intelligent, quality output that achieves real results without depleting resources.
Here’s how to achieve it:
Where do you want to be in three years? In one? In 90 days? Set the big vision, and then reverse engineer into it. If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t engineer the things you do on a daily basis to get there.
2️⃣ Do Less
The Venturi Effect is an engineering principle that states that velocity increases when constraints are applied. Applied to business, it means focusing on WAY less, and by doing so, increasing the velocity at which things get done. By closing one loop at a time, you’re able to gain momentum infinitely faster.
3️⃣ Plan Tomorrow Today (Aaaand… If You Have a Team, Implement a Daily Huddle)
Rather than spending your days getting sidetracked by little fires, spend time getting crystal clear clarity on the BIG needle movers in your business. Usually, they are the important things getting pushed aside by the urgent things. At the end of every day, spend 10 minutes reviewing the things you did that day, finishing up and creating a priority list of the one to three things you MUST get done the next day. The next afternoon, check on those things. Did they get done? If not, why not?
Also, ensure EVERYONE ELSE is also working on the most important things with a daily huddle. Every member of the team should report what they did yesterday, and what they intend to do. If the MOST important tasks aren’t getting done, this is the transparent way to see that and to find out why.
4️⃣ Time Block
Time block your MUST do’s at the time you are MOST switched on. Turn everything off, and do them.
5️⃣ Measure Key Metrics
What are the KEY NUMBERS that tell you at a glance whether you are working on the right things, and that they are getting results? Create a scoreboard, track those numbers and implement a traffic light system to quickly see whether they are red, green or yellow. This will give you a quick snapshot of the health of the company and how efficient you are REALLY being.
Installing an operating system into your business that prioritises operational elegance and systematises the things in your business that drive you towards your endgame is essential if you want to eventually get off the hamster wheel and work less.
It’s easy to see a list like the above and “mean well”; meaning that you will implement it “one day”.
It’s a whole other to install a series of quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily actions into your business to achieve them.