When I'm peeling the potatoes for dinner, the peeling instrument I use plays a huge role in the productivity of the task, whether the job is done quick or slow. We currently have two red peelers: one peels a 5mm stroke at a time, the other a 12mm stroke. With the second, I get the job done in less than half the time for the same amount of input. That is, I'm more than twice as productive compared to the 5mm one.
How about a farmer? For a farmer who plants fields in crops, the size of his tractor and pull-behind implements has a huge and immediate effect on his productivity. One tractor costs $90K, can pull a ploughing implement that is 5 meters wide and travels at 3 meters a second; a second costs $130K, can pull an implement 10m wide and can travel at 4 meters a second. The second will consume more diesel per ploughing hour, but does twice as much work as the first model. Which one to buy? It depends on the size of your fields.
What is the productivity framework for a knowledge or information worker, ie, people like me? In reflecting on my own experience, I see interlinked keys to productivity:
- Having a clear picture of what I want to achieve (clarity).
- Removing irritations and interruptions that break flow (interruptions).
- Having a brain that is rested, energized and active (rested).
As an equation then: C - I + R = P
(this is a long post, hence the split)