Productivity Principles – What is it, why do I care, and how do I get some?

This will be the first in a series of articles about productivity, incorporating what I’ve learned in thirty years of business experience.Firstly I believe it’s important we understand that what most people call Productivity with a capital ‘P’ is really time management, and time management has been written about and taught in a formal way for a long time.

I believe there are only two keys to productivity: Organization, and motivation… and you can almost compensate for one with the other: Motivation, for most people, consists of getting a raise, or promotion, or generally making more money, but it may be reducing stress, saving time, or, as David Allen of Getting Things Done fame puts it, ‘clearing your psychic horizon.’ So… What I’m saying is that most people already have some motivation to be better organized. What they lack is organization, and organization, or rather time management, and the associated tools and methods, is what this is all about.

Now that we’re down to the nitty gritty talking about tools and methods of organization, here is the single key fact: You need a method of some kind! That’s it. That’s the only thing. The method you choose will usually dictate the tool(s), or at least narrow down the choice. You should try different methods until you find one that works for you, or until you learn enough to cobble together something that works for you.

I read recently that it takes three weeks to establish a new habit, so after you learn a new technique, you must then allow at least three weeks to see how it’s working for you. I also read recently that keeping your brain active is the key to long life, and extended sanity, and the key to keeping your brain active is learning new things, so embrace it. Learn something new.

Next time I plan to talk about some specific methods, their attendant tools, and the various merits thereof.