6 Ways to Measure Productivity of Which You Never Thought

6 Ways to Measure Productivity of Which You Never Thought

Reading time: 5 min.

The Internet is rich in tips about focus and productivity but is lacking in the “measuring productivity” department.

It’s all too easy to track the daily tasks with a mobile app, but this convenience has a cost that you may overlook.

You know how they say that too much of a good thing can make you sick?

Only having to press a few buttons to set up your routine might give a false sense of satisfaction and lead you down a spiral of a permanent “add ‘to do’” motion.

You will never be satisfied with how much you’ve done and will end up on the path to entrepreneurial burnout.

An image of an hourglass filled with red sand.
Work smart so you have enough time to do your daily tasks. Image: Pexels

All tasks are not created equal.

But they are on the list, annoyingly reminding you that there are only 24 hours in the day to do things that take, at least, 48.

How do you know if you are doing what you should be doing?

The fear that you are not doing enough is like a tic — it’s nagging, getting in the way of your life, but you are so accustomed to it that you can’t help it.

There is no universal productivity measurement formula so here are 6 ways to measure productivity of which, maybe, you never thought.

You can use them to learn not only how to measure productivity in the workplace but in your personal goals as well.

Do it like Google

It’s called OKRobjectives and key results.

You set your goals, decide on the steps that you need to take and assess the results after a given period (ex.: quarterly).

There are some specifics, though.

The goals must be uncomfortably ambitious, the result must be quantifiable, and the desired success rate is 60% — 70%.

That’s right — the goal is not to have achieved a 100% because that would mean that your goal wasn’t challenging enough.

It’s Google’s “carrot and stick” approach.

Why would failure bring you satisfaction?

Because when you go back over the steps that you took, you will have a clear sense of achievement.

Shoot for the moon…

An image of an airplane flying across the moon.
Aim high so you can achieve more on the way. Image: Pexels

Limit your words

When I was in school, our English teacher gave us a 500-word essay to do for homework.

The room filled with sighs of disbelief for the “impossible” task.

Whole 500 words?


She told us that when we go to college, it will be harder, because the tasks will be big, but the word limit low.

Did we believe her?


Was she right?

Yes, she was.

Limiting one’s capabilities for expression opens an untapped well of creativity.

Use it to your advantage by summarizing what you’ve achieved during the day using no more than 5 lines (1 in) from a notebook page.

Go public

No, I do not mean to put your company on the stock market.

Just share your frustration with somebody you trust and ask them to assess your efforts.

When you are so close to your daily routine, it’s easy to underestimate the value of what you do.

Having a separate set of eyes to judge your performance might be the confidence boost that you need.

It will be best if you can use a person who is a firsthand witness of how your day goes.

Asking somebody to observe and assess you might not be the most comfortable thing, but neither is a mental fatigue.

Frustrated GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

Look down at your competition

Looking up to the leaders of your industry is a great way to stay on the right track.

What you might not have accounted for, though, is that the top dogs are there, because they have a team working for them.

With so many tools available online, more and more people try the DIY approach to building a business.

Alas, trying to keep up with a whole team of professional pretty soon turns overwhelming.

It’s time to allow yourself some pat on the back and give a patronizing look at your competition.

Did you do something better than your rival?

Why are you not celebrating?

Let it poke your eyes

Have you read the story of how Jerry Seinfeld kept on track with practicing his joke writing, which led to his astonishing success?

He used a paper calendar (your smartphone wouldn’t work) to mark each day when he put work to honing his skills.

Put a large calendar at some place where you will see it every day and mark each day that you’ve worked towards your goals.

Make it noticeable — use a red marker, bold, underline, splash glitter, if you will.

Just make sure that you cannot help but constantly notice the chain of days that you’ve put into your goal-achieving journey.

Measure it by the pound

You might be selling yourself short on the amount of work you do because you don’t recognize work as such.

One way to measure your true productivity is to include all little tasks that you perform, rather than only counting the big achievements.

Building a car from scratch is quite an achievement, but would you only consider the final assembly as work?

What about all the nuts and bolts, that needed to go in the right places?

Same with your business.

Whenever you feel proud of something you have achieved, remind yourself how much work it took to get there for an added confidence boost.

Wrap up

Productivity is a foundation component of building a successful business.

If you do not analyze your productivity, though, you are only doing half the job.

What’s the purpose of all those to-do lists and time trackers, if they pull data that only collects dust?

Take the time to evaluate your efforts and give yourself a praise for keeping the wheels turning.

How do you stay on top of your game?

Do you give yourself a “well done” from time to time?

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Also published on Medium.

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