A while back I put together a comprehensive collection of personal productivity quotes. It’s a combination of the wisdom of the ages + modern sages. It was time for a revamp. Here it is:
It's a serious collection of personal productivity quotes and includes lessons from the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Lee, Peter Drucker, Tony Robbins Voltaire, and more.
Productivity is Value Divided by Time
My favorite definition is a simple formula from Steve Pavlina:
Productivity = Value / Time
I like the formula because of it’s simplicity and because of the insight it provides. If you want to increase your productivity, then you can increase the value or reduce the time it takes, or both.
One of the things I remind my colleagues in the halls of Microsoft is that value is the ultimate short-cut. If you know what’s valued, you can eliminate or reduce all the waste in between.
Productivity Hot Spots
To organize the productivity quotes, I use a simple frame of productivity Hot Spots:
Action, Approach, Efficiency / Effectiveness, Energy Management, Failure, Focus, Goals, Improvement, Motivation and Mindset, Planning, Opportunity, Self-Awareness, and Time Management.
I find these buckets are useful for organizing principles, patterns, practices, and even quotes. There are a lot of productivity quotes, so using this frame helps group the quotes into more manageable themes.
The Ultimate Formula for Personal Productivity
It sounds so simple when I say it now, but it took me a while to figure out the ultimate formula for personal productivity. Here’s the formula:
Work on the right things, at the right time, the right way, with the right energy.
In other words, start with the right things. Trim your tree of opportunity and focus on the right branches and leaves that will bear the most fruit. Work on these things at the right time. It’s easy to miss windows of opportunity and time changes what’s valued. We also have better times in the day to work on things than others. Work on things the right way. This is really about using better techniques. If have the wrong technique, then throwing hours and effort at something will just waste your time. Lastly, work on things with the right energy. Your energy is your force multiplier since you won’t get more time in the day.
A simple way to think of the way to optimize your productivity is to use your best energy for your best results.
I share a simple system and a comprehensive set of proven practices for personal productivity in my book, Getting Results the Agile Way. (It’s been a best seller in time management, and it helps you master productivity, time management, and work-life balance.)
Believe it or not, quotes are not just neat and fun little sayings. The right quotes are actually pithy ways to share strategies and insights. They can completely change your game.
Here are a handful of some of the strategies that I’ve learned for improving productivity and many of these strategies are echoed in The Great Productivity Quotes Collection:
Less is more.
Focus on quality.
Quotas and quantity can help you achieve quality. (If you learn from your process and apply it.)
Value is in the eye of the beholder and the stakeholder.
Find better techniques to multiply your results.
Enjoy the process.
Spend more time in your strengths, and less time in your weaknesses.
Pair up to amplify your talents and capabilities.
Focus on continuous improvement.
Manage your energy, not time.
Reduce the time you spend and you’ll innovate in your process.
Use timeboxing to invest time more intelligently. (Set limits and boundaries so you don’t over-spend in the wrong areas of your life.)
Work smarter, not harder.
Change your approach when it’s not working.
Test your results.
Productivity is Power
There are many ways to think about productivity. I like to think of productivity as power. I think of power as the ability to take action. When you exercise your ability to take action and concentrate your effort and your focus, you can make amazing things happen in work and life.
Productivity is a powerful tool in your toolbox for personal empowerment.
As with anything, make sure you use the right tool for the job. And that’s why I continue to fill my toolbox with several tools. Otherwise, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.