Last Winter, I found that I was spending long days in my office and getting an average amount of work done. At the end of each day, I would look at my hours and see that I put in the time, yet feel as though I didn’t accomplish much. This lead me to putting in more hours, and yet – still – getting an average amount of work done.
I was frustrated with my “lack of productivity,” and the waning hours in the day. So, I tried Cherry Picking.
Cherry Picking in business is often used in reference to selecting particular team members or clients who are the most profitable or productive, and directing all focus towards them. I’m using the term more closely related to how it’s used in Statistics;
“Cherry picking can refer to the selection of data or data sets so a study or survey will give desired, predictable results which may be misleading or even completely contrary to actuality.” Wikipedia
In, actuality I was spending a large portion of time working and a fraction of it getting work done. So, I picked the data points (in my case, the times where I was being productive) and only spent those hours in the office.
I worked much fewer hours, accomplished as much (or more, due to the creative energy and rest that I now had), and felt more productive.
This made me realize that productivity is a ratio of time spent attempting to be productive, and time spent actually being productive. The closer the ratio is to 1:1, the more productive you feel. While the output was close to the same, I was being more productive.
Of course, this may not work for your boss. But, if you’re self imployed, work at home, or work on commission, try and pick the data points that are skewed towards your favor and focus on those. Isn’t that what most books on strengths vs. weaknesses are all about, anyway?