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How do you define productivity?

Joshua Zerkel

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Since I'll be moderating this forum on productivity, I want to start by checking in and learning what productivity means to you. Some of my clients would say that being productive means getting more things done. To others, productivity is eliminating or reducing time-wasters. And of course there are other definitions as well - I've found each person really has some specific idea for what they're hoping to accomplish when they are discussing boosting productivity. So for you, what does productivity mean?

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I tend to be a messy person that tries hard to get organized. Since very long, I've tried many methods, tools and am still in the quest of the holy graal that will allow me to spend minimum effort in preparation and maximum efficiency in having the right response at the right time.

I almost found an appropriate solution with MS Onenote but ended up in an akward result where lack of filing and need for clarity could hardly live together. In addition, mobility was not at the level I expected. (I am a frequent traveller).

I like in Evernote the idea that everything is stored in a place away from my environment and that all kinds of interfaces connect me quickly with all my stuff. All my devices can crash, be stolen, I just need an internet connection and any type of interface to find my world again and re-install it within minutes on a new device I could acquire. Unlike many, I first bought the book of Brett Kelly before starting to use actually Evernote and discovered through his ideas that I didn't really had to care for the structure as I will be up to organize myself later on. (Thanks Brett, your book is really worth the price!).

To answer your question, productivity will be the day I do not care anymore about rethinking my organization as I will finally have found a solution that is SIMPLE. It definitely needs a trustful tool that allows me to store quickly my concerns and find them afterwards with minimum effort when it hits my mind. As the training manager for an IT company, I must keep updated with the evolution of several products, build/update training material, track / follow up projects of the company to detect training sessions opportunities, sell them, organize them, plan the trips and sometimes do by myself the reservations, deliver the training or get it delivered by delegates, and finally wrap up after sessions all the remarks collected and ensure the follow up on each point.

I'll keep you posted on how Evernote helps me in achieving these challenges.

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Michard57, it sounds like you definitely have a lot going on - and a lot to keep track of. Of course, Evernote is a great place to store and access many different kinds of information, and it can be a real productivity booster. Make full use of it and it can serve you well.

You may also want to clearly define what productivity means to you specifically in the following areas: paper, space, time, technology, and overall business/life systems. For instance, what would being more organized and productive with the paper in your world mean? What would you be able to accomplish? What could be improved? Getting clear on your goals and expectations can help you choose the right tools/systems to ensure that you're making real progress towards what you envision.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I like David Allen's definition of productivity. To paraphrase, he talks about productivity as producing the results that you want in your life or business. By this definition, a relaxing day on the beach could be seen as highly productive…if this is the result that you set out to produce.

I think it's important to create a distinction between getting organized and being productive. If getting organized doesn't support the results you're trying to produce in any meaningful way then being organized doesn't equate to being productive. Conversely, an effective organizational strategy can greatly support the results that are being produced by reducing the risk of details falling through the cracks and bringing a constructive, proactive element to producing results.

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  • Level 5*

productivity for me means getting things done.

in my case that means organizing records at home, taking notes on research, writing, etc. i tend to get more done (be more productive) when i have a project in mind like reading all of the data I have collected on a particular topic, writing an article, or finding an answer to some problem. without some goal or clear idea of what i want to produce, i tend to fritter my time away. i need the motivation and enthusiasm that a project (making some thing) provides.

i don't find david allen's approach too helpful. i don't produce relaxation. relaxation is a non-doing for me. i do, however, produce organization. organization sharpens my thinking and gives me ideas. reorganizing, culling tags, etc. gives me a chance to revisit stuff and mull it over in my mind. there is nothing like exhausting a subject, writing notes, reorganizing the notes, and tightening up conceptual links between them.

what i like about evernote is that it puts all of my stuff in one place so that i can get to the business of running my hands through it any time or any place. one thing that would help is simple text in ios without any bugs. since august evernote has too often eaten away at my time and concentration with bugs connected to the rich text.

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What's so interesting to me is that while productivity is a hot topic right now (hence all the productivity and time management systems out there, and tools like Evernote to support them), everyone has their own way of defining what productivity means to them - as we've seen by the posts here. The great thing is that each of us gets not only to define it for ourselves, but find the tools or systems that help us reach our productivity goals - whether it's geting more things done, or getting more relaxation time.

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