Are We Asking the Right Questions About Productivity?

Photo by Caitlyn Hastings on Unsplash

You don’t need to be more productive just to be more productive. What you really need is to be more productive for a reason. Productivity in and of itself is a vehicle toward something else. Something more. It isn’t the reason we want to be productive. And if it is, you are selling yourself short.

We see posts all the time about the many different productivity techniques we can use in our day-to-day lives and in our work. We strive to produce more and do it efficiently. And yet, it dawned on me the other day that maybe we are asking the wrong questions about productivity.

What if, the wrong question is: how can I be more productive?

It is clear that so many people are asking this question, otherwise productivity posts wouldn’t be so popular on Medium and throughout the internet. We are always looking for a leg up on our ability to do work.

I have literally posted dozens of productivity posts myself. Here are a few:

A New Question To Ask

What if, the most important question to ask about productivity is actually this:

Why do I need to be more productive?

Something I have realized is how the two questions benefit two different parties. While there will always be some personal benefit to being productive, your perspective changes how it helps your life.

The first question: How can I be more productive?

This question benefits the employer or the consumer. It is for other people. While we think it is for us, it really only can cause more stress and tons of time consumption on a question of being a productivity master.

This question is about fulfilling the expectations of your employer, your consumers, or yourself. It is about being able to check the boxes and get more out of you.

The second question: Why do I need to be more productive?

This is about YOU. When you ask this question it helps us identify our perspective on productivity. And it is something we need to understand in order to really power our productivity.

If you don’t ask this question, you are going to spin in circles with every story and article you read. You will feel the need to implement it all until you run out of mental space to be able to do anything.

Discover Productivity As A Path to Greatness

Photo by Ugne Vasyliute on Unsplash

You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win. — Zig Ziglar

Productivity should be more about what you want and less about what others want. This is why Tim Ferriss has such a popular book in The Four Hour Work Week. He focuses on getting more efficient and productive in order to live the life you desire.

Your life is more important than your productivity!

You need to store this one line away next time you read a productivity story, even this one. Because you need to see why you are reading these stories far before you need to learn one more technique.

I even wrote a story about the ultimate goal of productivity and looking back I think I only got have the answer right.

We win at productivity when we can spend time with our families. Our greatness in productivity happens when we are chasing our dreams and seeing them come true.

You will experience greatness when your productivity supports your life.

One More Thought on Productivity

Being more productive at work forces open the door to margins in your life. I firmly believe without being productive in my job, I would never have been able to change the course of my life and chase my dreams. In fact, my productivity in my job helped launch me into a dream I didn’t think would happen for some time.

Learn more about it here:

You cannot discount the importance of our productivity habits, but they cannot be the only motivation for being more productive. It is merely an avenue to a life you want to live.

Is this the right question to ask? Are there other questions we should be asking? Share in the responses below.

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J.R. Heimbigner

J.R. Heimbigner

#1 Bestselling Author on Amazon and Top Writer on Medium. I write about faith and self-publishing. Learn more: