How We Measure Productivity

When it comes to productivity, there are the standard measures: 

Stuff we finished, things we crossed off the list, what we achieved and accomplished. The outcomes are what matter. It's a clear-cut, if blunt, gauge of productivity. 

But there's another, perhaps more soulful way of measuring productivity: Did we use our time in service of our priorities? 

The other day, I didn't finish the writing I wanted to, didn't get to the post office, didn't start this big new project. 

I could throw the day away as unproductive; by the standard measures, it was. But if I take a deeper look, I remember that I listened to a friend's big life development. I called a pal to wish her a happy birthday. I set my work aside to savor my lunch. I meditated, wrote a thank you note, walked in some of spring's first sunshine. 

Few of these things were on my To Do list. But each reflects a priority of mine, be it connection, celebration, mindfulness, or gratitude. 

Perhaps, then, full productivity is less a matter of getting stuff done and more a matter of being who we want to be

It might not have the immediate thrill of crossing something off the list. But in our quiet, reflective moments, we can look at our time and say,  Yes, I am spending it in service of being the person I have it in me to be. Which is a fine marker of a life well lived. 

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