I just read a very insightful article by Steave Pavlina about the definition of productivity.
I love the mathematical approach when analyzing complex concepts, and this article does exactly that!
The basic definition of productivity is:
Productivity = Value / Time
Based on that formula, in order to increase your productivity, you have two options: increase value or decrease the time.
Most of the people I know concentrate on doing things faster, thus decreasing the time.
However there is another option, to increase the value, thus doing the most valuable tasks first.
Easier said than done, the catch is that without a clear definition of what value is, it is hard to realize a good prioritization system.
So let’s define value:
Value = Impact * Endurance * Essence * Volume
Impact: How many people will be directly and indirectly affected?
Endurance: For how long they will be affected?
Essence: How important it is for the affected people, is it essential, optional or undesirable?
Volume: How much value in time you will provide for them?
Now that we defined (with a great help from Steve) the components of value, we have a very powerful prioritization system.
The final equation is:
Productivity = Impact * Endurance * Essence * Volume / Time
If you look back on your lastly accomplished tasks, would you define their priority differently?