Activity Vs. Productivity

In 2009, Stanford University conducted a study of individuals who claimed to be accomplished multitaskers only to find that they were not especially good at accomplishing anything. Among other things, the study shows that those who look busy and think they are productive may not be as productive as other workers.

  1. What is Activity?

    • Activity refers to any tasks completed in the course of the day. In business this can be basics like checking email and phone messages or completing assigned tasks. Activity can and should lead to productivity, but this is not always the case. Some forms of activity can be termed "busy work" meaning that even though an employee looks like he is very busy, the end result is that all his hard work accomplishes very little.

    What is Productivity?

    • Productivity refers to positive results that occur as a result of actions. In a factory setting, it can be literally measured by the amount of finished product. It can mean profitable construction jobs for a construction firm or closed sales for a sales professional. Productivity measures how well you are able to meet the goals and objectives of your business or project, whether these are short-term or long-term goals.

    Recognizing Productivity

    • On a day-to-day basis, if you write out a task list at the start of the day and are able to cross off most or all of the items by the end of the day, then you can consider it productive. On a bigger scale, if you are able to meet the goals and objectives you have established for your business or project then you are seeing productivity. Increasing productivity means that you will meet more goals or sell or produce more items.

    Improving Productivity

    • Determine what tasks consume time without delivering results to improve productivity. Identify the tasks that you or your employees complete that don't have any effect on your productivity and eliminate them. In some cases, improving productivity may require you to lower your standards or reevaluate how projects are completed. While you may pride yourself in the high quality of your work, if the extra time spent creating a high-quality product does not lead to increased sales or larger profits, improve productivity by spending less time producing a product that is lower in quality.

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