Learning to Think

Wave After Wave of Productivity

Productivity tends to come in waves. There are days when I can accomplish an entire days worth of work in an hour or two and there are days where I can’t accomplish even the most simple of tasks. All in all, it probably averages out over the course of a week, month, or year, but there may be something to be said for keeping yourself more consistent.

Productivity is how much you put out relative to how much you put in. If you are a widget maker, you can measure your productivity in widgets per hour. If you are a software developer, you may measure yourself in lines of code per day or features per week. There is another element to productivity that you must consider. If you are capable of making 100 widgets per hour, what would happen if you forced yourself to double your output, but keep the same number of hours? Quality would degrade. Can you afford to sacrifice quality for quantity? The answer is a definite maybe. If you make red, blue, and green widgets, could you increase your output if you only made red widgets? Would you save time on setup, packaging, quality control if you limited the scope of your production while still maintaining the quality of your red widgets? Generally, I would think you would not want to sacrifice quality for productivity. It is probably counter-productive in the long run.

With summer winding down, I have had to limit the scope of my projects in order to maintain my quality. I have had too many yard projects, summer social events, and birthdays to maintain a high level of output with an appropriate level of quality. The frequency of my blog posts reflects this. I feel alright about this because I made a conscious decision to work on things that I could get done well in the time I had to do them. However, I do need to create a series of self-imposed deadlines and milestones that I can match up with my goals. While I have been generating output, I need to be sure I am generating the right outputs for my goals. I would like to create a set of personal productivity metrics that I can track for the long term.