One of the best ways for making sense of a space is to have a lens for looking at it. The productivity and results space are well-traversed and the body of knowledge is enormous. That’s part of the problem. Without an effective lens, it can be difficult to find, organize, and share the productivity strategies, tactics, etc.
You can think of a “frame” or a “lens” as a set of knowledge areas that make it easier to learn a space. Together, the knowledge areas form a constellation of knowledge. For example, the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and SWEBOK (Software Engineering Body of Knowledge) use knowledge areas to cluster related topics, concepts, tasks, and terms to help share the information more effectively. It’s a way to frame out the space.
Productivity Body of Knowledge
While working on Getting Results the Agile Way, one of the first things I needed to do was carve out the space into meaningful buckets. By “framing out” the results and productivity space, I created a more effective lens to look at productivity. This is how I created a “Productivity Body of Knowledge". I named the collection of knowledge areas for productivity and results, the Results Frame. Giving it a name and putting it into a simple table, made it easier to refer to and to share as a mental model with others.
The Results Frame (Productivity Knowledge Areas)
Here is the Results Frame:
|Action||How you take action and manage your activities towards results.|
|Efficiency and Effectiveness||How you manage the cost and speed of your results, as well as how you manage the quality of your results.|
|Energy Management||How you manage your energy in terms of thinking, feeling, and doing, as well as how you take care of your eating, sleeping, and working out.|
|Expectations||How you set and reset expectations with yourself and others.|
|Focus||How you focus your time, energy, and attention.|
|Goals and Objectives||How you set meaningful goals and objectives for your results.|
|Information Management||How you organize and manage information, as well as avoid information overload.|
|Learning||How you find the lessons, improve, and correct course.|
|Mindsets and Motivation||How you get your head in the game.|
|Planning||How you map out the work to be done.|
|Pioritizing||How you choose what’s more important.|
|Self-Awareness||How to improve your knowledge about yourself in terms of achieving results.|
|Self-Discipline||How you correct your behavior.|
|Task Management||How you manage your tasks and action items.|
|Time Management||How you manage and schedule your time.|
The key with these knowledge areas is that they are can contain insight and action. They are great containers or buckets for productivity principles, patterns, and practices. To create the buckets, I first gathered up all the “rocks” (the individual principles, patterns, practices, terms, concepts, etc.) , then I group the collections, and then I labeled the buckets. This is the opposite of making up buckets and then looking to fill them. I was more interested in creating buckets for proven practices and applied knowledge, rather than treating productivity as an abstract or academic exercise.
Not only did the Results Frame help with organizing my own body of knowledge for results and productivity, but it made it incredibly simple for me to very quickly parse just about any body of knowledge or significant work in the productivity space. This frame also helped me quickly pressure test productivity systems against a more holistic view, as well as to find their more specific strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly, you can also use the categories to help evaluate project management approaches and software development approaches. The frame is useful whether you use it to organize your own knowledge base on productivity, or you use it for teams, or organization. Don’t just take my word for it though … test drive it and you decide what works for you … you’re the ultimate expert on your context and scenario.