Journalism in the service of society

Rethinking your productivity (1)

You cannot achieve productivity at work and be a poor performer at home. To be a productivity person requires that you are consistently making satisfactory progress and producing excellent results everywhere you go.

EVERYONE seems to have an idea about what productivity means. It is therefore not difficult to read about the secrets of productivity or watch videos where some productivity gurus tell us about one thing or one major factor that makes productivity happen. The key to productivity is to first understand its true meaning. Over the years, I have come to understand two related meanings of productivity.
The first meaning of productivity is what I came up with in year 2000. Productivity is being able to maximise your results with available resources. This implies that you already possess what you require to get better results. You don’t need to go out of your way or get an arm and a leg to achieve productivity. All you need to do is to explore your environment and take advantage of the opportunities that abound around you to get better results in the medium to long term.
Dories Clark, a marketing strategist and professional speaker who is also the author of “Reinventing You” and “Stand Out” has said that “Productivity means optimizing your entire life, not just work.” This definition encapsulates my second perspective on the meaning of productivity. You cannot achieve productivity at work and be a poor performer at home. To be a productivity person requires that you are consistently making satisfactory progress and producing excellent results everywhere you go.
Remi Babalola, a former Minister of State for Finance in Nigeria puts it succinctly when he told me in 2017 that productivity is “achieving set goals (be it personal, career, family wise etc.) that are value adding for growth and development.” In essence, there is no productivity if your performance does not add value to the growth and development of others. Productivity is about making tangible impact at a given point.

THE above perspectives are evident of the fact that productivity is not just about performance or occupying a position or organising an event. It is about achieving results based on set goals. Such results must birth or orchestrate growth. As Jack Trout said, whatever does not grow dies.
This discourse is to help readers to rethink what we believe is productivity in our daily lives and work. Surely, being involved in an activity is not productivity. Just as attending a university does not make an individual a university graduate.
Many people, including motivational speakers, aver that “time is money.” This leads to the concept of time management. The reality today, as I pointed out in my book, “Billionaire Goes To School” (first published in 2008) is that time is not money at all. What you do with time is what generates money. So, it is important to rethink the concept of time management and enhance it with the practice of attention management. What you devote your time to or do determines your success in life.

LET us consider productivity and leadership. Not a few leaders perpetually attend courses just to upgrade their knowledge of leadership. Every leader who seemed to understand John Maxwell’s famous quote that everything rises and falls on leadership. Thus, every leader strives to be abreast of leadership principles and techniques. Ironically, only a few leaders have real and tangible results to show in the exalted position they occupy. Someone close to me once joked that most of the leading leadership “experts” and “speakers” in Nigeria “are only leading themselves, not even their spouses or staff”. Many managers adorn the garb of leaders on the podium without any concrete evidence of modelling the way or changing hearts.
What we need is not the next leadership conference but a frank leadership productivity talk-shop. Our leaders need to learn how to lead the “ship” under their leadership and get them to willingly produce superior results.
There is another practice of productivity that needs rethinking. It is the practice of writing and keeping a “To Do List” daily. This practice is meant to help the practitioner to focus on things that are important daily. However, the reality is that people tend to clog their “To Do List” with activities, which are mostly routine and mundane. An effective “To Do List” should not just be a laundry or shopping list. The list should contain high impact activities that are germane to the achievement of some goals or the vision of the writer. It should be a list that mainly contains tasks that are very important and strategic.
Productivity involves achieving tasks that contribute to the achievement of set goals and an overall vision. Such a vision must be in the interest of parties other than the person or persons performing the tasks.
Can you think of any productivity issue or practice that needs rethinking?

Please share your thoughts here or @Wale Adeduro on my Social Media handles.

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