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What Productivity really is

O que é realmente Produtividade

Let's start with the common understanding: the concept of productivity is associated with the concepts of performance and efficiency. There is productivity when you manage to generate a good return by using the necessary resources efficiently. We are efficient when we get a good return on the resources used.

Let's not stop here, because concepts are tools and human beings, when using tools, create and innovate, not always with good results.

My aim is to explore the concept of productivity from a pragmatic perspective that leads us to a critical reflection on the way we think and act.
Therefore, let’s start from the resources that allow us to produce. Let's focus on the resource that is always needed in all production: time; since the good administration of this resource will lead us to the good use of all the others.

When a resource is abundant, what does usually happen? It is wasted, that is, it is used inattentively, inefficiently and becomes quite unproductive.

Isn't this what happens with TIME as resource?

The basic resource – time – is by nature productive, as it is the matrix of our action. People who value their time are most judicious in what they choose to do or not do, pay attention or not, and will naturally be focused and productive. The starting point is great: make sensible choices and avoid waste.

However, it does not mean that these people feel productive. Let's see:

  • Since time is a “path”, a good decision at the outset is essential. However, when following the path a lot can happen, the so-called “detours”. When the person is focused, the deviation does not happen due to inattention, but due to the inability to be faithful to their priorities. A good example is someone receiving a request, a telephone call, a solicitation and feeling obliged to comply even if having to interrupt their productive journey.
  • Productivity implies focus, so scattering resources across too many different actions is counterproductive. In the short term, income is meager and in the long term the risk of waste is high due to the inability to follow up with everything that has been set in motion.
  • People can invest their time in actions that do not give the results that they expect. And this is a very common mistake. Having clear objectives is important and then focusing on those actions that effectively materialize them. We cannot be theoretically productive. If we are not, an error has occurred and it is urgent to identify it.

If goals are correctly defined and there is a propensity for deviation and dispersion, then we have another issue to address: lack of motivation related to the path that the individual chose to follow in order to fulfil his goals. The problem can be rooted in the path’s nature, which does not resonate with the person's character and values; it may relate to a lack of skills/competence (training can help) or to some issue that affects self-confidence (beliefs, fears, etc.).

Such interesting theme as productivity is does not end here and I promise to continue the reflection.

According to the particular circumstances of each individual, the topic of productivity should be explored in depth, due to the impact it has on performance and satisfaction.

Ana Isabel Freitas - Coach and Mentor


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