Productivity today means doing things better, not doing more things.

A twitter post by Adam Grant on Monday (also my birthday 🎂) about productivity got me thinking about what it really means today.  Adam said that productivity is overrated, and that quality is better than quantity.

Not wrong but not entirely right either.

Prior to the pandemic churning out as much work as possible in the shortest amount of time was people’s goal. But in the post-COVID world, the meaning of productivity has shifted to ‘doing better’.

The idea of an 8-9 hour work day, Monday to Friday, where your physical presence was key to the perception of your working success has shifted to an outputs focus.  ‘See me doing my job’ has moved to ‘see what I am delivering’.

And this links directly to the new definition of productivity.

Gone are the days of simply “doing more” as the key to success. In a post-COVID world, the focus is on working better.

People are searching for ways to work smarter, not harder. Here are a few ways to make that happen:

  1. Embrace technology: Technology has played a big role in helping us stay connected and productive while working remotely. Utilise tools and apps that help you stay organized and on track, such as time-tracking software, project management apps, and more efficienct virtual meeting platforms (ahem).
  2. Work for an organisation that appreciates new ways of working: The pandemic has forced many companies to re-think the way they do business. Be open to new and innovative ways of working that may have emerged in the post-COVID world. This could include flexible schedules, hybrid work models and remote-first policies.
  3. Be mindful of your own burnout: With the lines between work and home life blurred, it can be easy to fall into the trap of overworking. Make sure to set boundaries and take breaks as needed to avoid burnout. Running at lunchtime, going to yoga at 8am, meditating before you start work and having lunch with a friend are all positive outcomes of less travel time.
  4. Prioritise mental health and well-being: The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health, and it’s important to address this in the context of productivity. Look for ways of being efficient rather than toiling away on a manual process that ends up driving you crazy.
  5. And finally, as Adam Grant says, focus on quality over quantity: In the post-COVID world, it’s more important than ever to focus on producing quality work, rather than just getting more done. Prioritise the most important tasks that will have the most business impact and take the time to do them well.

Productivity looks different than it did before. By prioritising mental health, embracing technology, and finding new ways of working, we can work smarter, not harder. Remember, ‘doing better’ is more important than ‘doing more’.

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