Why You Should Stop Seeking Productivity and Start Seeking Purpose

Does it often feel like your days are running away from you? Like no matter how hard you try, lists you make or alarms you set, the attempt to check off as many to-dos seems completely and utterly futile.

Same here. That was, up until I shifted my attitude and approach to work. The trick?

Find your purpose and make your goals your guiding force, not the clock. See your days change before your eyes.

Efficient Versus Effective

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things – Peter Drucker

 When your goal is to be productive, you are working towards getting more things done in the time you have. When you work with purpose, you are working on reaching more goals and the time it takes to accomplish those goals becomes secondary.

According to this Forbes article on multitasking, our attempts to be efficient by juggling everything is making us ineffective. We can only take on so many tasks before we start to perform poorly and make mistakes, which ultimately takes more time to go back and correct.

Instead, we need to work with laser focus on the things that move the needle. When we concentrate on our work, the fruits of our labor are better quality and the pride from that will keep us motivated.

Working ON the Business, Not In the Business

You’ve heard this one before. but heeding this advice is important to the success and growth of any business. Productivity is great to get the day-to-day things done, but when you work with purpose, you give yourself time for high-level, critical and creative thinking. Take this time to tackle the issues that might be keeping your business from being all that it could be.

Here are a few areas to start:

  • Identify bottlenecks stunting success & growth

  • Implement processes and solutions and test for effectiveness

  • Work on optimizing best practices

  • Prioritize business goals

  • Align your work and your business vision

When you work on your business, you can do a pulse check on its overall health. You can also see if your vision is still the same as when you started or even the same as the month before. Reflection is crucial, personally and professionally, so making sure you take the time to do so is mandatory.

Take this time to also read and research what’s being written about your industry and its thought leaders. Things move lightning fast these days, so get out of your bubble to see what’s moving and shaking with the rest of the world.

The Bottom Line

Working with purpose and tying what you do to business goals keeps your fire burning but also keeps you focus on the lifeline of your business – making money. Being productive is actually more important for certain industries like manufacturing or farming. It is not, however, the be-all-end-all for other business that revolve around innovation, technology, and service.

Simply showing up and spending hours at work can cost businesses a lot of money and wasted opportunities. You can actually work less and make more money when you show up with creative ideas and innovative solutions. Quality over quantity wins every time. Bonus? This also allows for a well-balanced life.

In our current capitalist approach to work, it became all about having more instead of living more. The search for mastering productivity needs to be tempered with our search for purpose. Instead of watching that ticking clock, start thinking about what makes you tick. This small adjustment could lead to big changes.

Are you now seeking productivity or purpose? Share your stories in the comments below.

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc