Unlocking the Productivity Equation - A Holistic Approach to Getting More Done

November 05, 2023

Productivity isn't a one-size-fits-all formula. It's a personal equation that varies with each individual, shaped by different lifestyles, priorities, and goals. But at its core, being productive is really just about understanding the productivity equation and then figuring out which bits we need to optimize to apply to our own lives.

2023 11 05

In this journey to enhance our productivity, we'll delve into a unique perspective that introduces the 'extra ingredient' often missing from conventional discussions. Think of productivity as a plane. To reach our destination efficiently, we need a skilled pilot (you), a well-maintained plane (your methods), and an insightful engineer (the continuous improvement of your systems). Let's begin by debunking some myths, understanding the underlying laws, harnessing the powers that drive us, and finally, mixing in the fun factor for a sustainable productivity journey.

The Productivity Equation

The productivity equation is not a mere formula; it's a dynamic framework that guides us in creating a balance between our work and our lives. It consists of inputs, processes, and outputs, with each component vital to the overall result. The extra 'ingredient' here is you—the Pilot, who steers the course, the Plane, which represents the tools and methods at your disposal, and the Engineer, who tweaks and improves the system for optimal performance.


When it comes to productivity, myths are the clouds that obscure our vision. The belief that we 'don't have enough time' is perhaps the most pervasive myth. Time is a finite resource, true, but it's more about how we manage it than how much of it we have. Similarly, waiting for motivation to strike is like waiting for the perfect weather—it's unpredictable and unreliable. Lastly, multitasking, often hailed as the hallmark of efficiency, is in reality a productivity pitfall. It's like a pilot attempting to fly multiple planes at once—an impossible and dangerous feat.


The laws of productivity are the principles that help us navigate through the air currents of work and life. Parkinson's Law suggests that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion," implying that setting tighter deadlines can propel us to complete tasks more efficiently. Then there's the Pareto Principle, which reminds us that 80% of results often come from 20% of the efforts. Identifying these critical tasks is like finding the jet streams that can speed us along. Finally, Newton's First Law of Motion can be translated to productivity: an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Starting is often the hardest part, but once we do, maintaining productivity is easier.


Harnessing the powers within ourselves is about using the engine of habits to propel us forward. Habits are the autopilot of productivity, reducing the cognitive load required to make decisions. But there's also power in downtime—procrastination and relaxation are not the enemy if used wisely. They can be the necessary maintenance periods for our Plane, giving us the burst of energy needed for the next leg of the journey.

The Fun Factor

The final part is about incorporating the fun factor into our productivity equation. Enjoyment is not just a bonus; it's a fundamental component. Like an enthusiastic co-pilot, fun can help navigate the journey with less stress and more creativity. A mindset shift towards enjoying the process can lead to a remarkable increase in productivity. When we enjoy what we're doing, we're more likely to enter a state of flow, where work doesn't feel like work anymore. Besides, having a mental model to shorten the feedback cycle for long-term goals makes the process more fun. For example, think of going to the gym as a short-term scoring game against yourself instead of merely a long-term health benefit for your future self. Putting your money at stake also makes the mental game more enjoyable, like losing money if you fail to go to the gym once or twice.

In conclusion, productivity is not just about getting more done in less time; it's about optimizing how we approach our work and our lives. By understanding and applying the productivity equation—breaking myths, following laws, harnessing powers, and infusing fun—we can each find our unique formula for living a productive and fulfilling life. The sky is not the limit when you're the pilot in command of your productivity plane, with the right mindset and tools at your disposal.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn