The Productivity Equation

creativity personal development May 22, 2023
Scott Perry Promoting a Blog Post About Productivity and Goal Achievement

Productivity and progress are correlated, but productivity alone does not cause progress.

Remember that there's often a disconnect between causation and correlation.

Sacrificing at the altar of productivity without a clear and worthwhile aim is a recipe for frustration, exhaustion, and burnout.

Instead of blindly hustling and grinding your way to a finish line someone else set, play your game.


Start with an end in mind. Know what you really want.

Then reason from first principles

What essential things are required to get the desired result, and how can you get them done with the least amount of risk, effort and the most options as you go?

A mentor shared an approach for helping define these essential elements that are crafted into a productivity equation* to help me close the gap between steps that correlate with success and steps that actually cause or at least encourage success.

Input Cost vs. Output Value

Compare the amount of time, attention, money, or effort you put into every task to the ROI (return on investment).

The greater the output value relative to the input cost, the greater your productivity is.

The results were startling when I applied this equation to all the activities I was busying myself with that were supposed to get me closer to what I wanted.

At least 80% of what I did daily gave me zero discernable return on that investment of time, attention, money, and effort.

Simply moving all those items to my stop-doing list dramatically improved the system reliability of my success plan.

Once you're clear enough about what you really want, the productivity equation helps you find what's missing, broken or needs work with your success plan and identify gaps where you can find leverage and force multipliers that will help optimize your systems.

Less is more. Try it.

Define a goal that matters and challenge yourself to identify three things that must be done well enough to achieve that goal. Apply the productivity equation to the time, attention, money, and effort you invest and track the returns. Iterate and improve your plan for a few weeks and watch what happens.

*h/t Rian Diot

Scott Perry, Encore Life Coach at Creative on Purpose

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