As per the Cambridge dictionary, “Productivity is defined as the rate at which a company or country makes goods usually judged in connection with the number of people and the number of materials necessary to produce the goods.”
Talking about human productivity, it is the ability to do an amount of work in a definite time frame. Therefore, when we say a person is highly productive, we refer to their ability to do more work in a defined time frame than others.
However, there is a catch here.
By limiting the definition to the ability to complete work in a time frame, we are not making the person accountable for the desired outcome.
For example, let’s consider a salesperson is making five customer calls a day. But unfortunately, none of the calls is converted into an actual sale. Can we consider the salesperson as productive?
If we go by the definition of productivity, he has completed five calls a day, which he was supposed to do; therefore, he should be productive.
Well, actually no.
The reason is the non-accomplishment of the desired outcome.
The salesperson’s objective is to convert the customer calls into a successful sale and generate business.
If he can generate business, he is productive else not.
Making customer calls is just a process towards the realization of the objective or goal.
Hence, irrespective of whether he is making two calls, five calls, or ten calls, he can only be productive based on the outcome achieved.
The target number of calls per day would depend on his conversion ratio, which depends on his skill and ability.
Therefore, the definition of productivity can be modified as “the ability to accomplish a task/work towards the realization of the desired outcome in a definite time frame”.
The crucial thing here is to define an outcome before measuring productivity.
If you can achieve the required result by doing work, you are productive, else not.
How much hard work you put in or how many hours you dedicate, may earn you an appreciation for your efforts but has no bearing on you being productive, unless the result is achieved.
Working without an outcome is being busy.
Work that gets the outcome, is the productive work. Many times both the terms are used interchangeably.
In our daily lives, we assume that by working hard and keeping ourselves busy, we are productive; actually, it’s not true.
Next time when you find yourself hard pressed for time, just ask yourself,
Am I busy or am I productive?
Peak Performance & Life Transformation Coach|| Best-Selling Author of 2 Books||Mentor
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