ProdPod, a Productivity Podcast The Podcast of Personal Productivity Lessons in Two Minutes or Less

February 20, 2013  

In this episode, I define "personal productivity system." How do you define your personal productivity system? I'd love to hear from you in the comments or via email.


There was a time when I started first studying psychology and its relationship to my personal productivity when I thought  my "productivity system" meant automation. Boy, was I sadly mistaken! It took me a long time (18 months to be exact) to figure out that my productivity system wasn't all about automating my life. It turns out that DOING was a huge part of my productivity system, and *I* had to do the DOING. What a shock to my system this was when I spent all that time setting up this amazing system and planning all day! Nothing got done! So, what is the purpose of your productivity system?  I've come to define the purpose of a personal productivity system as a way to facilitate you DOING more consistently and better and KNOWING what you're not able to DO at any given time so you can relax and focus on what it is you can do.
Let me dive into this a little further so I explain this correctly.
The first part of that definition is that your personal productivity system is about doing more and better when you're able to. Doing more means, that by planning out the most efficient ways to get from A to B for any given task or project, you're able to get more done in a focused period of time. This isn't something you can do consistently without a system; believe me, for years, I tried! Next up is the adjective "better." What I mean is, that your productivity system should have a way for you to track what you've done and review what has been done to create as accurate a historical record as possible. Therefore you can match or increase your output sustainably from there. Again, no system equates to not only allowing in subjectivity about "better" but also about using potentially your fuzzy memory to recollect what you accomplished, or didn't. What does better look like for you?
Finally, one of the great, rarely spoken truths about personal productivity is the fact that you can't do more of anything without doing less of something right now. Your productivity system needs to be able to help you track when you can do things and when you cannot. Do you know what you can't do right now so you can start doing the one thing now that you can? If so, you likely have a system. If you don't, now you know why you need a system, and what a system really is. 
How do you define "personal productivity system?" I'd love to hear from you in the comments or via email.

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