A blank sheet of white A4 paper on a desk with a pencil and sharpener lying next to it.

What is Personal Productivity?


This post was written before I fully understood landscape of neurodiversity.

My earlier posts on a productivity system are still relevant. The system works well for autistics and for people with ADHD who need a structure.

In industry, productivity is measured in a scientific way. It is a way of working out how efficient your processes are. For example, how many widgets you can make in a shift, how many customers you can get through your supermarket till in an hour, or how many pages of writing you produce.

It is easier to measure productivity in some industries than others. In general, the more things that are done in a set time, the greater the productivity.

Personal productivity takes some of the principles of the systems above, but it is much more nuanced.

You are not a machine.

If your job is to use a machine to make widgets, the productivity of the machine will be impacted by how well you operate the machine. In this example your efforts affect the machine’s productivity. This is one specific thing you do in a day, as part of a larger process.

Personal productivity is different, as we shall see.

You’d be amazed at everything you do

Apart from your widget-making job, you do hundreds of other things in a normal day. Some are work-related and some are personal.

Imagine how long this list would be!

If you treated everything you do is a task you would be amazed at how many tasks you get done in a day!

  1. Wake up
  2. Get out of bed
  3. Put glasses on
  4. Put slippers on
  5. Put dressing gown on
  6. . . . . .

Can you make everything productive?

In theory, you can make everything more productive. You can make sure your slippers are always in the right place to find them in the morning. Could you put your slippers right beside your bed, facing the right way so your feet slide into them easily?

Maybe you can shave 3 seconds off the way you peel a potato by holding the peeler differently.

What about saving an hour a day by not playing with your kids?

Now it’s starting to sound like a problem, not worth the effort, or counterproductive.

You are a multi-dimensional person

It’s clear to me that you cannot just apply industrial rules of productivity to the whole of your life, hopefully it’s clear to you too. Please don’t measure life by industrial productivity standards.

Personal productivity needs to enhance your life

There are times in your non-work life when you must do tasks that are the equivalent of turning out widgets. There are tasks you want to do as quickly and easily as possible. The mundane tasks that make life easier, or improvement projects for your home, or yourself, that make life better. How effectively and efficiently you do these tasks is one area that personal productivity helps with.

There are also things you must do at set times, a dentist appointment, your niece’s birthday, fuelling your car before a long journey. Again, personal productivity can help take the strain.

Personal productivity is…

a system plus habits

Which lead to…

a happier home and work life.


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