The word “productivity” is misunderstood. Many people work very hard every day yet are not as productive as they could be or should be. Productivity requires us to know what we should be working on, what is of value, rather than what is busy work. Warren Buffett said “time is the one thing on this earth I can’t buy”. With only so many hours in the day, we must learn to identify what is the priority and work as efficiently as possible.
Professionals are technical experts in their fields, they know how to do surgery, how to teach, how to weld, how to bake. It’s what they are good at. But most professionals are not trained in the field of operational excellence & improvement and therefore they are wasting precious hours each day and each week on non-value added work.
Ed Baldwin wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review titled “Busy is the New Stupid”. In it, Ed says that we mistake busy for productive all the time. It’s one of the primary ways we let people know how important we are. We have created a society that judges people based on how busy they are versus how productive they are, and this is driving the wrong behaviors in our workplaces.