Personal productivity – Complex interplay of individual and org culture

Few weeks back, I came down with food poisoning. I was not ill enough to stay in bed, so I decided to go to work. At the end of the day, I was surprised at how little work I could get done.

Productivity as a concept has its roots in economy; it is the ratio of output to input. However, extending it to human beings would be fallacious! We are not machines, nor can we calculate labor quantitatively in same way.

Personal productivity is our ability to effectively perform – bringing us closer to our goals while maintaining balance across critical areas of our lives. Personal productivity is an outcome of complex interplay between several factors.

Here are the eight potential drivers of Personal Productivity:

  1. Capabilityknowledge and skills essential for the work. It’s often taken for granted and assumed that if someone is doing a piece of work, he / she is capable. However, the level of capability determines the speed and quality of delivery.
  2. Health – either physical or emotional: Reflect on the times you were trying to deliver something when you were worried about your child’s or parent’s health. Or like me when you were not physically fit!
  3. Passion the personal energy and commitment we bring to our work. While it’s not easy to describe, the presence or absence of JOSH is easily noticed!
  4. Context / role – in which we operate. When we believe that we are making a difference, contributing to something bigger, we bring energy to the work. This also propels us to enhance our capability and fuels our passion.
  5. Ecosystem – our colleagues, team members and manager play an important role. Are the relationships inspiring, cordial, neutral or difficult? Each influence how we feel about our work and ourselves, in turn impacting how well we perform every day and in the long run.
  6. Environment – are the physical aspects including ergonomically designed chairs, lighting and even levels of noise (or chatter from others). I am personally sensitive to noise, and always keep a pair of 3M earbuds!
  7. Processes / Systems – are they empowering? Or do I have to go through multi-level decision making?
  8. Tools – appropriate one make a big difference – be it the right software or physical tools. I remember my days as a customer support engineer. It was pointless going for an equipment repair without right tools… you might as well not go!

The first three are specific to an individual while the remaining are provided by organization. However, all are interconnected

  • it’s for individuals to stay up to date, healthy and be passionate.
  • and the organization to facilitate the enablers

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