Most people who talk about productivity speak in terms of “getting things done.” That may have been a good approach in a factory producing widgets on an assembly line, but it’s not as useful to those of us who work in service-oriented businesses.
Our work today requires a new paradigm of productivity that is broader than those old metric-based definitions.
I think of productivity holistically. Holistic Productivity considers the the person producing as well as the output of production, recognizing that humans are not machines.
In the new paradigm of productivity it’s not about how quickly you do it, but how you do it. It’s about the qualitative aspects as much as — if not moreso than — the quantitative aspects. Whether it feels good to you, and is nourishing to you is important, as this is what facilitates sustainability.
No matter what type of work you do, productivity starts with these five core skills:
Caring about the work we do, the people we serve, and the impact we make is the first step. If you don’t care, you won’t show up with the right energy to produce and you’ll quit when things get hard.
At the heart of productivity is the creation of something — whether it’s a tangible good or a service — that provides value. But production is only half the story. An essential skill is creativity: generating ideas and solutions that will create value for the people you serve.
Arguably two different skills, but I group them here because you can’t have one without the other.
Developing meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, mentors, and a community that can offer you support.
Nobody can do everything. To be most effective over the long term, it’s important to collaborate with others to deliver value, and to work in a way that leverages each person’s best skills.
Nothing kills your momentum and motivation more than having to repeat your message because people didn’t get it the first time.
Crafting and sharing your message in a way that it can be heart, received, and resonate with your intendeded audience is crucial.
You can do anything once. You can even do something over a short period of time. The true measure of productivity is whether you can maintain consistency in your production over the long term.
This requires that you work in sustainable rhythms to avoid fatigue, illness, and burnout.