At the end of the day:
1) How many tasks on your to-do list were competed?
2) How much of your time was spent on things that contribute to mission & goals? How much of your discretionary or free time was well spent? (measure with a time audit)
The Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule says that 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action. This principle, discovered by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, illustrates the importance of using the small amount of discretionary time available to maximize results. The majority of our time use goes toward maintenance, work duties, and repeating tasks. That’s why it’s so important to use the small percentage of remaining time effectively. Watch these two videos that explain the Pareto Principle: Brian Tracy, and Frank Borg. Check out the Pareto Principle Board at Pinterest.
3) How many of the tasks accomplished were in the Important/Not Urgent Quadrant of Stephen R Covey’s time management matrix? (Also known as the Eisenhower Matrix) Learn more about setting priorities. This video explains the Eisenhower Matrix.
Measure productivity with daily and weekly scorecards to track 1) actions completed 2) time spent in important tasks of Quadrant II and 3) productive use of discretionary time. Followers of “Getting Things Done” (aka gtd) ideas or any other productivity system will enjoy this fun and easy way to track productivity. A method that could be used for adding notes is the slash/dot system proposed by Patrick Rhone.
The goal of productivity is to…
DECREASE the amount of time spent on maintenance and repeating tasks, and INCREASE the amount of free time available to use in the way you choose. How? Use the Time Table to: Evaluate, Simplify, Be more efficient, Be more effective. Eliminate tasks that are not meaningful to you. Automate those that remain.
INCREASE the activities that ARE meaningful to you. There’s no point in increasing the amount of free time available, unless you use it well. How? 1. Be very aware of how you WANT to use it. Clarify how you want to add value. 2. Be very aware of how you ARE using it. Focus on how you want to add value.
See Also: How to tame Time Wasters: Time Wasters and Solutions and Optimize Your Day with the Science of Productivity