You Need to Define Productivity for Yourself

Isn’t it Obvious How to Define Productivity? It’s a Simple Word

I will give you that – productivity isn’t some complicated word. It seems pretty simple. But, I’m not interested in a dictionary’s definition (you’re on the internet, you do it!) because that won’t really have an impact on me. I’m interested in how I define productivity personally because that affects the way I work.

And no, I don’t mean that everything is subjective and can mean whatever you want it to mean. Don’t petition Webster to change the word. Instead, I’m saying we should examine our beliefs around this so we can see what little things we’ve subconsciously added onto the actual definition of productivity.

Before we get fully into that, though, we should first ask ourselves, “Is productivity something I value?” If you value it, then you should be sure that you’re operating from a healthy definition of it. If you don’t value it, then I would suggest thinking about why you don’t. I would also read the next section to inform your thought process.

Productivity is Good – But Why?

Why would someone want to be productive? There are lots of reasons, and not all of them are equal. These are the top 5 reasons to be productive in my opinion:

  1. I am a man, and I see clearly from the Bible that men are called to work hard and make a good life for their family. You must produce for your wife and children (actually, even more. See Proverbs 13:22).
  2. I don’t want to leave the women out. Women are also called to work hard for their family. Being productive can make life better for the whole family, which makes life better for you, too.
  3. If you’re producing a lot, then financial stress will melt away. Good work brings good money, if you do it right.
  4. When you produce a lot, you get into a good position to be crazy generous. Giving is living! It’s the most fun thing you can do.
  5. Being highly productive requires a certain level of wisdom and skill from you. With wisdom and skill also comes the ability to appreciate life to a greater level.

You now have some insight into what productivity means to me. What does it mean to you? Why do you want to be productive? If you still don’t want to produce a lot after reading this list, why the heck not? You need to figure this out. It’ll change your life when a get a good “Why?”

What Does Productivity Look Like

Productivity will look different depending on what you’re doing. Some work produces money; other work, ideas; some, physical things; others, good relationships. But, I want you to consider something that you probably haven’t considered to be productive: Rest.

Resting sounds like the exact opposite of producing, right? In a way, it is. It’s true, if I’m playing video games then I’m not making money (just me, some streamers make fantastic money). But, I would argue, my rest puts me in a position to produce more than if I didn’t rest. See, I took time to define productivity for myself and it’s helped me enjoy what I do, and get a lot done.

Every entrepeneur I know, except literally 1 (not counting me and my wife), is exhausted all the time. I’m not saying business is easy, or that it doesn’t take tremendous energy. I am saying there’s a difference in being tired at the end of the day and being chronically exhausted, on the verge of burnout.

How We Rest

Us entrepeneurs are supposed to be living our dreams with the business. Instead, most people are miserable. You hear it every time you talk to them. I don’t want you business owners feeling bad when you read this, I’m just worried about you! I want you to live your dreams and make the world better.

We took time to define productivity. We're enjoying what we love.

Personally, I am more envigorated with each passing week. As things get harder, I find a new depth of vigor within myself. And guess what? I take a day off every week. The whole day, no work talk allowed. My wife and I just have a great time together. By the end of the day we’re both so excited to wake up and get back to work. It’s amazing how energizing that one day is. We go as hard as we can all week, and that one day recharges us completely. It’s so important we made it one of our core values.

You can see some of what we do on our socials.

Take Time to Recharge

So, doesn’t that rest sound a bit more productive now? After I finish writing this post, I’m going to go stand outside for a moment and enjoy nature. I’m going to rest. And when I come back, I’ll be working about twice as fast as I was. Tiny little bits of rest through the day, a literal 2-3 minutes, can recharge you a surprising amount. Rest is actually very productive.

What if you’re not an entrepeneur? This still applies. You need a day to recover, and to just enjoy life. You might not be able to take those couple minute breaks at work, but some of you can. When you do have your scheduled break, be intentional with it. Do something you actually enjoy instead of just scrolling socials (unless that’s actually your favorite thing; though you should still take at least a minute away to see the real world).

Define productivity for your job in such a way that you can do impressive work that either gets you noticed or builds your skillset and/or mindset so much that you’re ready for a new job. And do it in such a way that you can sustain the effort for many years. The work will change, but rest and productivity will still be needed.

Why the Way You Define Productivity Matters

The way you define productivity will impact every bit of your work. If you’re too strict, you’ll never do things you enjoy. Yes, I know, being productive means doing things you don’t like. I hated being on phone calls; at first I hated social media; I was once uncomfortable going into a gym; making myself walk when it’s hot isn’t fun; the list goes on. But I did those things some and now I don’t mind them, usually. Productivity is hard. You do what you have to in order to get where you want to be.

But, along the way, you have to have a good definition that lets you work at your best. It must be yours. You can’t take someone else’s routine, the things other people do to recharge, or the “hacks” other people use.

When you’re thinking of how to define productivity, you have to get to know yourself. You must apply that knowledge of yourself practically so that you’re producing at a high level in a sustainable way. If you crash in 5 years and lose everything because you went too hard, what’s the point??

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Don’t worry about what others are producing. You can try their ideas, learn from how they do things, but don’t make a direct comparison. What they’re doing may not work for you at all. The guy making $10 million a month can do things that won’t make sense for your startup. There’s no point in comparing yourself to that.

Have Mentors, Have Strong Peers, but Only Measure Yourself Against Yourself

Don’t compare yourself to others, but do get a mentor. Have someone who is further than you are that likes to teach. Get someone that can tell you when you’re doing something stupid. If you work for someone, try to get your manager to work with you more. Tell them you want to learn and improve. Yes, even if you don’t like your boss. Do such a good job learning that your boss thinks you do like them.

It’s a good idea to get some peers that are doing great things, too. They are about the same level you are, and their hard work and excitement for the future can keep you motivated. You can also push them to be their best. Plus, they may have just solved a problem you’re having.

Do the Things That Get You Results, Not Someone Else

The most important thing when you’re considering how to be productive is that you’re thinking about yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people to be productive if it hurts you. For instance, I love listening to Alex Hormozzi. He starts every day with nicotine because it makes him productive. I won’t do that, because it’s bad for me. Does that make him into someone I can’t learn from? No! He’s successful and a good teacher. But will I ever do all the things he does? Nope. Even if I had the exact same values as him, I’ll still never be doing the exact things he does.

The same is true for any number of people you can think of. Learn from them, but be productive in a way that makes sense for you. There’s no magic formula, no morning routine, no hack, that is going to make you successful. You know what will make you successful? Being productive, and not doing dumb things to lose what you produce. It’s time you define productivity for yourself.

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Nutrition coach Stepi and financial coach Cameron - co-owners of Hi Focus Life

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