Productivity is the key for true happiness. This is one thing that is counterintuitive for many people. Because the definition or the distinction, productivity isn’t as clear for everybody. 

What is productivity?

What is productivity? Productivity is the ability to produce to create something be it materialistically, emotionally, relationship wise, whatever to create, to produce. From the word product is to have a product to your behavior and doing it productively means that I create a product. I produce something with investing as few resources or as little resources as possible. Which means if I can produce, for example, X amount of money. If this is my product, I want to produce money. Being productive, is producing this amount of money with the least amount of investment be it my time, my energy or financial materialistic investments. 

It’s not just like effectiveness because effectiveness is our ability to do a lot of things to finish, to checkmark, to checkbox a lot of tasks in a short period of time. Sometimes doing what’s productive is not necessarily the most effective thing.

For example, when I write a post for my Facebook page, I reply to every single person. I do my best. I don’t always match it but I do my best to always reply to every single person. Why? That’s a very ineffective thing to do. I can let someone else from my team do it. I can suggest that one of my students write the chatbot that automatically answers everybody. But I spend a lot of time doing it for producing very little results, very little effect, for example, but it has a product. For me, taking part of this conversation with the people who actually watch my content, read my posts. It produces something that it’s almost impossible to produce otherwise. So it’s about the product. For me, I want to get to know people as deeply as possible. 

This is why sometimes I walk down the halls. And I see students from various courses  and I can sit for like 40 minutes to have a deep conversation with one of the students which is incredibly ineffective but it has a product. This is why I can in one day decide I’m going to put a different marketing offer or a different deal or something like that and make it very, very appealing for real people who actually study here because I know the people who study here, personally. And I can do it like, it’s like I can feel it. I don’t have to analyze it or use data. I have this data inside me because I have these conversations with people on a regular basis. So, this is productivity. 

Being productive producing content

Being productive producing content, producing products that we actually believe that they matter that they are important this is what makes people happy. We are happy when we are doing something that we believe is important. This is why people, for example, parents. If their kid has some issue or difficulty or if they’re helping their kids doing something, accomplishing something that they believe is important. They’re very happy. When they’re trying to make their kids do homework which they don’t believe is important then they don’t manage to do it and the kids don’t do it. They’re very miserable because they’re acting; they’re spending their time and energy doing something that produces nothing or nothing of importance for them. 

If we’ll think about it in in our careers, for example, people can work 10, 12, 14, 16 hours a day being incredibly happy when they believe in (most of you I think had this experience at least for some period of your life) that you were spending a lot of time doing something maybe even if it didn’t work in the end but while you were doing it,  you believed that it’s important and you’re producing something with real value. This is what produces happiness. 

Do the stuff that is important

When we set a goal, we achieve it. It’s great. It feels great for seconds, minutes, hours or days, it’s really big. If we want to be happy on a consistent basis, every single day of our lives, we need to be doing stuff that we believe is important. So it’s very important to understand that to doing more if we want to be happy and in the same time we want to be productive, we want to actually have rich life filled with all sorts of different experiences, we have to understand that doing more doesn’t mean spending more time that creating more, that producing more doesn’t necessarily mean spending more time. Being able to be productive is actually being able to do more, to produce more, to have more impact, to create more while you’re spending less resources and time is a significant one of them.

Power of doing less

So if we want to actually be happy and be incredibly productive, we need to understand and utilize the power of doing less. In our culture, it’s very common to believe that when I do multiple things at the same time, I’m saving time. I’m more effective. While rarely it is true, for example, if you are driving your car and listening to a podcast or e-book, that’s fine, on the train. Many times it’s incredibly ineffective, for example, we go out on dates, mate with new people or our spouse or whatever. And at the same time we’re replying to texts. This makes the entire date irrelevant. It produces almost nothing and the texts are of low value anyway because you’re in a hurry. You want to do it as fast as possible and you don’t actually answer to people as in depth as you would if you would just start an answer though.

This is why, for example, I sit on my email once a week, usually once a week. Why? Because I want to answer emails purposefully, meaningfully. I noticed some of my students are actually like they have issues, they have questions that are very important to them. And if I would open my phone while we’re on a break and try to text as fast as possible to answer as many students as possible then I would give them a very shallow response.

When I’m telling myself and I’m telling my students and I’m communicating it, email me but I’m not going to answer your email in the next couple of days. I would be able to answer them on the same day, if I would answer emails while I’m in the bathroom. I’m telling them it will take me a week, sometimes two weeks, sometimes three weeks to get your email. But when I will. I’ll read it. I’ll think about it and I’ll answer it when I’m completely focused on that and this is why people get very good responses to their emails. But it’s also true for almost everything, for meetings, for doing stuff that I am doing myself. 

So, the power of doing less. The power of thinking of eliminating things that are not as important. In every single part of the day, in every single specific time, you should try, we should try, I should try to focus on the most important thing right now. What is the product I want to produce right now? What do I want to create right now? Why am I doing what I am currently doing? Simply by asking these questions so many times I’ll say I don’t know why I’m doing it. Maybe the number one key to being more productive is when you have no answer to the question, why am I doing it to simply stop doing it and never look back.