The efficiency obsessive. They are hyper-organised and obsessed with detail. They are the master of inbox zero. However, they have lost sight of the big picture and don't know how to distinguish between efficiency and effectiveness.
The selfish productive. They are obsessed with their own goals, and if they are asked to collaborate, they aren't interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but they remain the biggest focus.
The quantity obsessed. They mistakenly equate productivity with output. They think the more tasks they do, the higher their performance. They are more prone to fall prey to burnout.
The last year has been huge for me. I've got more things done than ever, switched careers and countries, spent loads of time with my family and friends, kept a healthy lifestyle, and exercised at least 5 times a week. Many variables determine your overall productivity.
While the desire to complete a set of tasks within a timeframe is not a new phenomenon, our cultural obsession with personal productivity is.
In the 1990s, technology was promoted as a time-saving tool, such as search engines that saved us hours of digging for information. We could suddenly do more with potentially less work. No wonder we started to embrace a lifestyle that could maximise productivity.
Global sales of wearable devices that track daily activity and allow users to get notifications will reach $1bn by 2022.
One neuroscientist says part of the attraction for users is the way many of these apps 'reward' users. When you see your step count or sleep hours in an app, it creates a feedback loop where you experience an immediate reward. Progress badges can become more important than the outcome itself.
You know it's bad when you start typing "obsession with" in the Google search bar and the first auto-completion prompt is "productivity." As workers, we are obsessed with getting stuff done. No wonder there seems to be a bottomless well of advice, filled with evangelists, gurus, and thought leaders proferring hacks, tools, tricks, and secrets to help us pack more output into the waking hours of our workdays.
Adam Smith wrote in 1776 that there are two kinds of labor: productive and unproductive. The productive one generally adds value to the materials which he works upon, of his own maintenance, and his master's profit. However, a man grows poor by maintaining a multitude of menial servants who add to the value of nothing.
Benjamin Franklin put forth his own "to-do" list in 1791, stating that one should start the day asking what good shall be done and end the day evaluating what was accomplished.
In the late 18th and early 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution, machines moved production from handmade in the home to factories. A frenzy of producing more goods more quickly became a kind of national pastime.
Low-wage factory workers, many of whom were children, toiled in unsafe conditions for decades before labor unions put measures in place to protect workers from the excesses of the push for productivity.