How to Measure Productivity - Deepstash

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The Right Way to Measure Productivity (and Why It’s Harder Than it Seems)

How to Measure Productivity

What matters most is often the hardest to track. We then measure things we don't care about with the hope that it will give some clarity. The solution:

  • Pick a few metrics that will estimate what matters. The metrics should be easy to measure and timely enough to give good feedback. Rewarding only hours may mean paying for a lot of overtime and not much useful work.
  • Use meta-feedback to tune your short-term metrics. Your big-picture output is harder and slower to measure, but it serves a role in regularly adjusting which of the short-term metrics will estimate progress. For example, if you track the number of essays written for your productivity, it may be good initially, but the quality may suffer in time. Following the articles' results can indicate if "hours per essay" should also become a metric.

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Measuring Employee Productivity
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The basic productivity formula(productivity= output divided by input) worked well in the industrial age as the output and input were clearly defined and measurable.

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While assigning value to the output of knowledge workers, we cannot simply measure the output like before.

Coders and doctors cannot be measured by the hour, as their output is not uniform or consistent every hour.

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...is the first element of deep work.

That means you won’t have the mental discipline to stay concentrated on a single task unless you prepare your mind and environment to it.

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Comparing the earlier (linear) definition of productivity to modern knowledge work is like comparing a bicycle to a computer.

How The Idea Of 'Productivity' Holds Us Back
  1. The linear definition of productivity assumes that if we complete our to-do list, we are productive for the day, not taking into account the time required for creative insights that come from serendipity and lateral thinking.
  2. It falsely ties us to a quantitative output, which involves pseudo-work based on input and output of an age gone by. Example: Making and emailing a daily report that no one reads.
  3. As we answer emails and put out the fires, we miss opportunities for creativity and deep thinking, and even getting bored, which makes the brain work better.