Productivity isn’t about speed – slow down!

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The first job I ever had was working in a voice company. I was 16 years of age and wanted to earn some extra money during the school holidays.

On the first day, I remember getting told to sit down at a machine and make document wallets – an incredibly simple job. After a couple of minutes, I realized how boringly easy the job was, so I decided to blitz through the work as fast as I could.

I remember feeling proud of myself when my boss came over and told me I should be welding 100 of these document wallets per hour, I knew that I’d finished about 150 in the last 45 minutes. But when I took a break and looked down at the work I’d done, I noticed that well over half of them were broken.

I was working too fast and I didn’t pay any attention to the quality of my output.

If productivity isn’t speed, what is it?

Over the past few years, the word productivity has taken a roller coaster ride, going from definition to definition.

People throw the term around loosely, and it has many different meanings nowadays, but it will always mean this:

Productivity isn’t About Speed

Increase in output compared to the cost of input.

But Atul, that means we have to work faster!

No, no it doesn’t. The output does not equal volume, this is a common misunderstanding. People think they’re productive because they can write a blog post in 15 minutes. That may seem like it’s increasing output, but it’s only increasing one variable – volume.

At the end of the day, what is the point in productivity? The point is to get results. Volume does not always equal results; quality equals results.

Doing Productivity vs. Being Productive.

You’ve tried it all before.

Wake up one hour earlier – tidy office – brew coffee – sit down – start work.

Everyone has those productive days, but they’re few and far between. Doing productivity is not, never has, and never will be a good idea.

You see productivity is a series of habits, habits aren’t built in a day, nor are they built in a week. In fact, experts say you need at least 30 days to build a habit.

After becoming productive, you won’t need to worry about working too slow or fast, and you won’t need to worry about waking up an hour earlier and feeling stressed. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Speed things up by slowing down.

What’s the point in productivity again?


I know most people prefer to get results fast. This naturally doesn’t happen, but it’s certainly possible to speed the process up.

No, the answer is not working faster.

It’s working smarter. Working faster may be a by-product of this, but it’s not the aim. If you really want to get results faster, then do quality work. There are no two ways about it.

Slow down, think about what you’re really supposed to be doing, and then do it.

To wrap it up.

Let’s do a quick review:

  • Productivity is not working faster
  • Productivity is not something we do
  • Productivity does not equal volume
  • Productivity does bring results

So upon closing this post I have one thing to leave you with: Be productive, slow down, and do quality work!

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  1. Joseph Lalonde Avatar
    Joseph Lalonde

    Atul, thanks for the reminder to slow down.

    We’re in a world where speediness equates greatness. I’m going to look at my day today and see where I can slow down and do a better job rather than a faster job.

    1. AtulHost Avatar

      Awesome Joseph! Thanks :)