Paying Attention to Productivity

Abundance Productivity Purpose


Key Point: What does the word “productivity” really mean to you? I have been in the business world for 40 plus years and I think the word can be dysfunctional by definition. By most commercial terms, productivity refers to efficiency of output. But sometimes I think that narrow view can take us down the wrong path. Most human beings want to do something meaningful AND efficient. A recent 99U blog really got me thinking about this. It’s Not About “Productivity,” It’s About Living Purposefully by Sam Spurlin, a PhD student at the renowned Claremont Graduate University. Read this:

“If we assume your brain can process 100 bits of information a second, we can extrapolate how much information your brain can process in your entire lifetime (assuming you live to be about 80 and you sleep for eight hours a night). That number comes out to be roughly 150 billion bits of information.

That sounds like a huge number, right? However, we’re talking about the entirety of your experiences as a human being, being encapsulated in one simple number. Every emotion, thought, sensation, and conversation you’ll ever have is included in that number and the way you’ve allocated those 150 billion bits of attention over the course of your life will make up the entirety of who you were and what you accomplished.

Suddenly, 150 billion doesn’t seem so big.

For some, productivity is about fiddling with new tools or shaving seconds off an ultimately meaningless task. It can be fun to read about others’ productivity hacks and try them in our own workflows. But really, thinking about productivity means coming back to those 150 billion bits that make up who you are and who you will be.

Being productive” isn’t about getting more work done. It’s about making sure those 150 billion bits are spent as wisely as possible.”

Character Moves:

  1. Are you spending your brain bits meaningfully? Not all the time of course, but most of the time? What in your work has little or no meaning or value to anyone? Why would you want to be more efficient at meaningless work? Stop doing it now. You’re worth it. Or outside of work, why would you want to be more productive at meaningless mush?
  2. What you and I pay attention to ultimately defines us. And paying attention to what’s meaningful is productive and worthy of productivity.

Attention to productivity in the Triangle,