If you take productivity seriously, you’ve probably read many books and articles on getting more things done.
From how to manage time, prioritise tasks, and streamline workflows, there’s no shortage of advice.
In a world where the pace of work is constantly increasing, everyone is looking for ways to be more productive.
With so much productivity advice available online, deciding which advice to follow can be challenging.
As a writer, I have come across a lot of productivity advice over the years, and I’ve learned that the best way to judge productivity advice is by its actual results.
When evaluating a productivity system, don’t just focus on the advice that’s being given. Instead, look at the actual results that the system is producing.
Are you getting more done? Are you feeling less stressed and overwhelmed?
Are you able to accomplish your goals more efficiently?
A productivity system is only as good as the results it produces.
If a piece of advice claims to help you get more work done in less time, does it actually do that?
If it claims to help you stay focused, does it deliver on its promise?
A good productivity system should help you achieve your goals and increase your efficiency. It should help you prioritize tasks, manage your time effectively, and reduce stress.
Ultimately, it should help you get things done.
If a system isn’t delivering on these promises, it’s time to re-evaluate and try something else.
In my experience, the most effective productivity advice is the one that has been tested and proven to work.
Judge productivity advice by its actual results.
“Productivity is not about getting everything done, rather it is about getting things done effectively,” says Brianna Gray
When looking for productivity advice, look for evidence that it works. Look for testimonials from people who have used it and seen positive results.
Look for data that supports the advice.
Filter your sources of advice
If you are constantly bombarded with productivity advice from various sources — books, blogs, podcasts, and even social media, it pays to filter your sources based on the results in real life.
What type of productivity advice are you looking for?
Is the advice practical for your needs?
When you’re reading or listening to productivity advice, make sure it’s practical and that you can implement it in your own life.
Avoid advice that is too theoretical, or that doesn’t seem realistic.
There are many types of productivity advice, such as time management, task prioritization, and goal setting.
Once you know what type of advice you’re looking for, you can narrow down your sources to get the right advice for your needs.
Are your sources of productivity systems helping you to be more productive, or are they just adding more noise to your already busy life?
Apply to test its usefulness
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure,” Tom Peters said.
One way to evaluate the effectiveness of productivity advice is by testing it yourself. Take a small task, apply the advice, and measure the results.
Did the advice help you achieve more in less time?
Did it make the task easier or faster?
If the answer is yes, then the advice is worth following.
However, if the advice yielded no tangible results, it’s time to move on to something else.
“Systems are never perfect. Our needs change; the obstacles we need to overcome or the goals we want to accomplish change,” writes Thanh Pham, Founder of Asian Efficiency.
From time blocking, Eisenhower Matrix, Bullet Journaling, The Zen to Done (ZTD), and Eat the Frog to Pomodoro technique, there’s no shortage of systems for getting things done.
The only way to know if a productivity strategy works is to measure its results as soon as you apply it.
After trying many systems, I’m still using the MIT prioritization strategy.
I write every day. What works for me is to get it done in first half of the day. Instead of listing three things to get done every day, I have one thing to get done before 12 pm: writing my post for the day.
No other task is more critical for me than writing (and 90 percent of the time, publishing) at least one article daily.
I work on all other tasks after midday.
It’s a tangible result I can measure over time. If a productivity strategy is truly effective, you should see an improvement in your output.
Do you enjoy using it?
Another way to measure productivity is by evaluating your overall satisfaction with your work.
Are you enjoying your work more?
Are you feeling less stressed and more fulfilled?
These are subjective measures, but they are just as important as the tangible results. After all, what good is being productive if you’re not happy with the work you’re producing?
Ultimately, the best way to judge productivity advice is to try it out yourself. Don’t just read about the latest systems — put them into practice and see what works for you.
Keep track of your results, both tangible and subjective.
And don’t be afraid to abandon a productivity strategy that isn’t working for you, no matter who recommended it.
The key to productivity is finding what works for you, and the only way to do that is through trial and error.
Don’t get caught up in the many productivity advice out there — focus on what’s working for you.
Measure your output and your overall satisfaction with your work.
And above all, be willing to experiment and adjust your strategies as necessary. With this approach, you’ll be well on your way to achieving actual productivity.
Does it work for others?
Another way to judge productivity advice is by looking at the success of others who have implemented it.
There are countless success stories of people who have achieved great things by following specific productivity advice.
If the advice has worked for others, there’s a good chance it will work for you too. However, it’s essential to remember that what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, evaluating the advice based on your needs and circumstances is crucial.
Productivity advice is only valuable if it leads to actual results.
It’s essential to evaluate the effectiveness of any advice before implementing it. Any productivity advice that does not lead to actual results is a waste of your time. Find and stick to what helps you make real progress daily.