Being Productive


The traditional definition for Productivity is given as a “measure of human efficiency”. It means the measure of quality of the work done. But many people confuse it with working long hours. I shall give you an example. My friend who was from a small town like me joined in a reputed Training and Development company. Like any other new recruits from a small town, he had one plan. Work hard, Work long so that we can get high productivity. It went on for a while like that and suddenly he was feeling a burn-out. He then came across the work of a colleague, who has the same role as he in the company, but the work was much crisper, extremely pleasant and eye- catching. My friend wanted to know how he too can do that and approached her desk. She was not there. It was 7.00 pm and he was informed that she never stays back after 6.30 pm which is the office closing time. It was way more puzzling for my friend now. The next day she came to his desk, knowing that he had come yesterday and gave one advice and that advice changed my friend’s career.

The Mantra:

The mantra of highly successful and productive people is “If you want to be the best in your industry, master the art of prioritizing”. That was the advice given by the colleague to my friend. Highly productive people don’t do everything. They do only the thing, which needs their attention, and they give their full attention to it. To be highly productive, one needs to be focused and one can never be focused if he has so many things to do. But how does one know how to know which one to choose and which one to leave alone. That is a big question. I just completed an awesome book called “Procrastinate on Purpose” by Rory Vaden. He is a consultant and in this book he tells we can not only manage our time but we can multiply it.

The 5 layers of Prioritizing:

Stephen covey once said “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”. So how do we schedule our priorities, Rory Vaden answers this question fantastically. He interviewed people who are ultra productive and he calls them time-multipliers. They all have this funnel and following this funnel any one can become time multipliers. He says we have to give ourselves 5 permissions they are

  • Permission to Ignore
  • Permission to Invest
  • Permission to imperfect
  • Permission to incomplete
  • Permission to protect

What does he means by that? Take a task a put into this funnel. First is the permission to ignore, ask yourself if you can ignore this task totally which will not affect you in any way, then ELIMINATE it. If you can’t ELIMINATE then pass it through the next layer permission to invest, that means see If you can somehow AUTOMATE the task. Now if the task is too important that it cannot be AUTOMATED, then move to the next layer of the funnel, permission to imperfect. That means try to DELEGATE it to other people. We often don’t delegate fearing the work will be imperfect if it is not by us, hence permission to imperfect. If it can’t be DELEGATED too, then procrastinate the task on purpose that is permission to incomplete. You PROCRASTINATE that task to a later time. Now finally if you don’t have the luxury to PROCRASTINATE, then you filter down to the last stage of the funnel permission to protect, and CONCENTRATE on the task.

Now if you are able to put every task in the funnel, and focus on the last permission, the permission to protect, it is a no brainier that you will do amazing work and will be highly productive. The picture of the funnel is given below.

If anyone like to have a discussion on the book or on this topic, you can reach me here

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